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.
Moving 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. Since you should not be doing any heavy lifting, this is not the time to volunteer for a PPM or DitY move! The military provides professional movers to handle that for you, so take full advantage of the benefits of a military move. If you need to prepare for the movers, either by cleaning out closets or taking things off the walls, then ask someone for help! Your spouse or a friend or neighbor can assist with these tasks so you don’t strain yourself or risk the baby’s health.
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. Plan your PCS roadtrip around your health needs. Try not to push past 7 hours of total drive time. Remember, the military provides one day of travel time per every 400 miles.
Yes, you and baby both need to stay nourished with regular, healthy meals throughout the moving process. Plan ahead so that you don’t skip meals in all the chaos of packing out and driving. In addition, don’t forget to stay hydrated! This is especially important when PCSing in the summer months. 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. Even if it feels too early in the pregnancy to be worrying about going into labor, stress can have a big impact on any pregnancy. So it is always better to be over-prepared and cautious. Remember, your Tricare coverage will continue to protect you throughout the move, even if you haven’t yet registered in your new Tricare network area. Emergency room or Urgent Care visits are still covered. If you have any questions, call the Nurse Advice line first, and they can direct you to the closest in-network emergency facility near you.
Have the basics ready for baby. You already have your hospital bag packed with your needs, but consider having some basics for your baby packed with you: a few outfits and onesies, diapers, wipes, a pack and play for a safe sleeping spot, and a swaddle blanket. This way, those newborn essentials won’t get lost in transit or buried under a mountain of boxes. Also, babies are known for doing things on their own time, so 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 a long 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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Megan Harless is an Army veteran and Army spouse. 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. Megan is also the writer behind Milspouse Chronicles and is the PCSgrades co-host of the weekly PCS Q&A webinars.