Congratulations on your pregnancy! Typically, adding a new member to the family is an exciting time. You decorate the nursery, go over your birth plan with your provider, and schedule when family will arrive to visit you.
And then military life gets in the way. You get the joyous fun of planning for a PCS instead of planning a nursery.
PCSing While Pregnant
Moving while pregnant can be done. It’s not always easy, but it can be done, and there are several things to take into consideration.
Ask the Doc
First, always check with your current doctor or midwife about your pregnancy. They may have recommendations for you depending if you are high risk, past a certain milestone in your pregnancy, or presenting other signs of concern. Also, your medical history may play a role in this, especially if you have had preterm labor or other complications in previous pregnancies.
If you are making the PCS in your 2nd or 3rd trimester, it is recommended that you schedule a pit stop every 1.5-2 hours and do some walking for 20-30 minutes. Try not to push past 7 hours of total drive time. Remember, the military provides one day of travel time per every 400 miles.
In addition, don’t forget to stay hydrated and nourished! When traveling in a car, it’s important to have a water bottle and a small, healthy snack available.
Pro-Tip: That extra water means extra potty breaks which helps with hitting that walking goal!
Be Baby Ready!
Pack your hospital bag and infant car seat in the vehicle with you. In addition, know where you will be stopping overnight and all the hospitals along the route should you need care.
Have the basics for baby. You already have your hospital bag packed with your needs, but consider having some basics for your baby packed with you; few outfits and onesies, diapers, wipes, a pack and play for a safe sleeping spot, and a swaddle blanket. Also, babies are known for doing things on their own time, therefore it’s better to be prepared then be scrambling!
Finally, moving is never fun but doing it while pregnant is added stress on you and the baby. A little pre-planning will go along way. It’s an exciting time! New Duty Station! New friends to meet! Exciting adventures to be had! And a new addition to your military family! Embrace it!
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PCSgrades Author: Megan Harless, Army veteran and Army spouse, is the Lead Doula of Stars and Stripes Doulas of Hampton Roads. This mom to three earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Charleston in West Virginia and has completed Labor and Postpartum and Infant Care training with ProDoula, as well as additional training with DONA, International and Spinning Babies. She has earned many awards during her military career including a Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and several more. Megan currently resides near Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org