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  • Writer's pictureMallory Warner

Traveling in France while Pregnant

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

Traveling internationally can take a toll on your body, not to mention when you're traveling for two. From flying and jet lag, to walking and hydrating it can be a lot to adapt and adjust to when going abroad. I didn't know what to expect when I visited France 17-weeks pregnant, I had book the trip a week before those double pink lines appeared not expecting to be carrying this extra luggage. I experienced a difficult first trimester, and I was anxious to find out what traveling in another country with a baby on board would be like. Here are my tips for how I managed 12 days traveling across France with a baby on board.

Talk to your doctor

I cannot stress enough how this is the first and most important step you should take before planning your trip. In my first OB appointment, I discussed the trip with my doctor where she encouraged me and my husband to continue with our travel plans. We would monitor the pregnancy through the first trimester and check back in with questions before our departure. As the trip neared, I made sure to review the approved medications and anything that I can take long with for pain relief, or other bodily inconveniences that arise. Many French pharmacies will not carry the same over-the-counter medications we have here in the United States, such as Tums or Tylenol. Make sure you pack approved medications in case you are unable to find what you need when you are in France. I researched local hospitals and pharmacies in case of an emergency. I requested advice for the flight, such as should I wear compression socks or what do to if I become dehydrated. My doctor and clinic nurses were so helpful in reassuring me that everything should be fine. I also discussed the issue of what to eat. Those ooey-gooey French cheeses were off limits, but what else should I avoid? Having these conversations before our departure put me more at ease when I got on that plane.

Plan a schedule that includes downtime

France is a 9-hour time difference from Seattle. The flight we booked would take us 17 hours to travel (I found a strange route, but the price was right!). Be prepared to take time to rest and recover from the jet lag. As I am aging, I am finding jet lag to be much more difficult on my body. When planning out our itinerary, I planned for one major activity a day, usually in the morning, with flexible other suggestions that we could plug in along the way. Over the 12 days in France, we spent most afternoons avoiding the heat and taking a nap until going out for dinner. Embrace the sieste. Don't forget to eat. Your body will be hungry at strange times. Make sure to stop at a grocery store or pack snacks when that inevitable hunger or blood sugar drop hits.

Pack light

It is hard to avoid lifting anything when you are carrying baggage through an airport or up a flight (or 6) of stairs. Pack light so that you are not over extending yourself and lifting when more than you should. My husband helped place my luggage in the overhead compartments (avoid lifting over your head) and up the stairs to our apartments. We each only packed a carry-on and a backpack, which helped tremendously when boarding our train to and from Marseille.


Days leading up to our trip, I took the precaution of drinking a lot of water. On our flights, I always had a large bottle of water with me and only drank water with my meals. This helped me avoid hypertension and bloating after 17 hours in the air and kept up my hydration when we stepped out into the French summer heat. Worried about having to pee? Stop to rest in a cafe and order a citronnade and a carafe of water to use the restroom. Even drinking as much fluids as I did, I still found myself dehydrated at times due to the extreme heat. Tip: hang onto that water bottle, you can refill it at one of the many public Wallace Fountains across Paris.

Pack comfortable shoes

Wearing my cute summer sandals was a big mistake. I quickly changed into a pair of comfortable sneakers for most of my daytime exploration and tried to coordinate with a casual dress and comfortable stylish clothing. Even with wearing comfortable shoes, by day 11 my sciatic back pain was so bad, I had difficulty walking for more than an hour and one of my hips and legs would go numb. Wear insoles, broken shoes and take frequent breaks.

Don't stress about the food

There are so many different things to eat and try in any region of France, that you don't need to feel like you're missing out on anything. I ate provencal food, Italian, Armenian, North African, and traditional French cuisine. Of course I wanted the cheese and foie gras, but of course those are off limits. I opted for many vegetarian options (this baby is obsessed with vegetables). Glass of wine? I did miss the wine but instead I chose several different mocktails and lemonades at the different restaurants and bars we visited. Everywhere we went was very accommodating for the non-drinker. If you're worried about if something is cooked properly, ask your restaurant staff to double check that nothing is raw and let them know that you're pregnant.

Enjoy yourself

My husband and I treated this trip as our babymoon. We tried our best to balance site-seeing with a little romance, as this was our last big trip with just the two of us. During the visit the baby grew (as did my belly) and we felt his first little kicks. We talked about what stories we would tell our son about our vacation, since he was with us too. And of course we bought some baby clothes. It was one of the best trips I've had and it made me more excited to share these future adventures with my child.

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