Are you visiting Walt Disney World while you’re pregnant?
You can have a wonderful time at Disney! There’s so much there that you’ll be able to participate in. So that everything goes smoothly, you’ll need to prepare a bit so that you can take great care of your health and the health of your baby while you’re there.
Now here’s our obligatory disclaimer: Keep in mind that this is not medical advice, and you should always consult your physician first.
First we’ll share a few of our own basic tips, but the majority of info here is coming from Kelly Lorenz, a nurse who lives and works in the Orlando area. Kelly wanted to share these tips with you because she’s seen what happens when pregnant women don’t take care of themselves while visiting Disney World, and she wanted to help you have a wonderful, safe trip.
First, a few basic tips for women who are pregnant at Disney world:
Disney posts warnings on attractions that pregnant women should avoid.
If Disney has posted a warning stating that pregnant women should not go on a certain ride, we STRONGLY recommend that you heed these warnings. This is true even if you’re not in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
This is a link to Disney’s website where they list the attractions that have warnings for pregnant women.
Here are rides that are considered to be physically gentle: Gentle & Non-Spinning Rides and Attractions at Disney World.
Do NOT use hot tubs in the Disney World resorts.
At the resorts, Disney posts signs on the hot tubs saying that pregnant women should not use them. Again, I strongly suggest you heed these warnings. There’s so much to do and see at Disney World that’s safe for you and your baby, that you’ll have plenty to enjoy throughout your visit. Don’t take risks.
Be careful not to overdo it while at Disney World.
It’s so easy to get carried away at Disney, and many people try to pack in too much activity ending up exhausted and stressed. You know your own body. You’ll enjoy your trip more if you take care not to overdo it, and schedule the rest time you’ll need. Consider spending a day just lounging by the pool if the weather is good.
Now Here’s the info coming from Kelly Lorenz CNM, MSN, ARNP:
In general, pregnancy is a normal disease-free process. There’s no reason why a woman should restrict herself from everyday activities (unless directed by her OB provider, Physician or Nurse-Midwife). However, a pregnant woman also needs to be a smart woman and plan her trip to Disney World wisely.
Getting to Disney World When You’re Pregnant:
When traveling by air, check with the airline before booking your flight to see if they have any requirements or restrictions based on how pregnant you are. No matter how you travel: planes, trains, or automobiles; a pregnant woman should get up and walk at least every two hours to encourage adequate circulation to her and her fetus. This helps to prevent blood clots from forming, which can be a life-threatening condition. It also helps improve delivery of oxygen to you and your fetus.
What Should Pregnant Women Wear at Disney World?
I’ve seen pregnant women in heels but I always recommend a comfortable and safe pair of shoes with adequate support. Flip-flops are definitely a bad idea. They’re very unstable, and offer poor support. Light-colored clothing in natural fabrics is a good idea. Dressing in layers is necessary if you plan on leaving your hotel room and staying at the park from open to close.
Sun & Heat Protection for Pregnant Women:
Florida is notoriously hot and humid. Poor fluid intake and dehydration is a problem for many pregnant women without the added stressors of travel and environment. The average high temperature in the summer is 92 °. It can also become quite chilly in the winter months with an average low of 50°, though it can get into the 20’s and 30’s (TheWeatherChannel.com).
Women who are pregnant need to understand that they lose hydration just by breathing. Dehydration is a risk factor for premature labor, so it’s very important to stay well hydrated.
(An additional note from me, Stephen Ashley. You may want to plan your trip if it’s at all possible in a more mild and comfortable temperature period. See our article here called Weather at Disney World & Picking Travel Dates.)
Another problem is sunburn. They call it the Sunshine State for a good reason; you can even burn on a very cloudy day depending on how fair-skinned you are. It’s important to apply sunscreen frequently and liberally as directed. Don’t forget your wide-brim hat!
When you add the sun, humidity and sweating to the mix, it can become dangerous for a woman who’s not paying attention to her own health needs. It’s very common for many mothers’ to put their family’s needs first or just get distracted with the wonders of Disney World. I want you to give yourself permission to take care of you and your pregnancy when you travel.
How to Play While at Disney World:
Disney is always reinventing itself. There are many rides that have come and gone in Disney history. Without going into details about every ride, my suggestion would be to avoid a ride that has stipulations regarding any medical or health condition. These rides are designated by a red triangle in the current Guidemaps. Luckily, you can get great entertainment from WDW even if you avoid these rides.
It’s also your responsibility to monitor how you’re feeling, and to act accordingly. If you’re in the first trimester and are experiencing morning sickness, then some rides won’t be your cup of “Mad Tea Party”. It is important to remember that many amusement rides are very abrupt and jarring, possibly equivalent to a controlled motor vehicle accident. You wouldn’t want to take that kind of chance just to ride a thrill ride during your pregnancy. One major concern is placental abruption. This is when the placenta tears away from the uterine wall and this is an obstetric emergency. This can cause hemorrhage and death for you and your fetus.
It’s always a good idea to take a break every two hours. Some women might find that going back to the hotel for a short nap or swim during the hottest part of the day is refreshing. If you choose not to do so, then I would suggest seeking an air-conditioned restaurant and taking a water and snack break. Try to put your feet up if at all possible. Remember, you can always go to the first aid station for some respite.
I would highly recommend taking some healthy snacks and water. Water fountains are throughout the parks and you can refill your bottle for free. You can also get free ice water anywhere that they have soda fountains.
Shorten your time waiting in lines with Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes. It would be wise to also obtain Genie+ for as many rides as possible to avoid spending extended lengths of time waiting in line. You might not be beyond your first trimester but it’s a time that can cause considerable fatigue for many women. Take every opportunity to rest while visiting the parks.
Consider requesting a DAS if you have a qualifying Issue. The DAS (Disability Access System) can be used instead of the paid Genie+ and Lighting Lane services. While most people think of this as only for those who are permanently disabled, If you have a temporary issue that makes it difficult to wait in lines such as frequent urination, you might qualify. Read the DAS article to determine if you’d qualify.
Another common discomfort for pregnant women is round ligament pain. Standing and walking for hours will only aggravate this common malady. Of course, rest breaks and adequate hydration help, but there are a few other tips you could use. Something inexpensive you can purchase is a maternity belt. You can usually find these at your local department store, superstore or online. There are many different kinds of maternity belts available. Some belts even have perineal support for those who suffer from perineal (the area between the rectum and vagina) varicosities. I would highly suggest trying it on (if at all possible) to make sure you will be comfortable.
Some women might find that renting an electric scooter is a solution. It’s good to get exercise while pregnant but if you’re insistent upon viewing Disney like a marathon then this might be your answer. Some rides will even allow you to go through the waiting line in your scooter right up to guest boarding.
Another discomfort, as mentioned previously, is varicosities. Even if you’re not pregnant, a marathon day at Disney is still painful for those who suffer with this condition. During pregnancy, some women are fortunate and avoid discomfort with varicosities. You can experience varicosities in many places; the perineal area, the rectum or hemorrhoids, and the legs are the most common places. It’s important that you speak with your OB provider regarding the use of any prescription support garment, leggings or hose. However, as usual, most garments are actually available over the internet without a prescription, though I don’t recommend this route. The reality is that Florida is usually hot and/or humid making this recommendation difficult to follow.
For many people, sciatic nerve pain can be intense. Pregnancy is the first time some women will have discomfort from sciatica and they often find it difficult to do much walking with this condition. Renting a wheelchair or scooter may help. Sometimes resting one foot on an object that’s slightly off the ground will take some of the pressure off of the nerve, but be careful! A pregnant woman’s center of gravity changes (affecting her balance) a great deal and you don’t want to fall. It would be much easier to sit down and elevate one foot higher than the other.
When in your hotel, you can apply ice to the area for 10-15 minutes duration with at least the same amount of time without the ice. Also, you can rest on your side opposite the pain. Another benefit of side-lying, blood flow is increased to the uterus, providing better oxygenation to your fetus. Massage is also very nice and some Disney hotels have spas that offer pregnancy or mother-to-be massages. Some OB providers will recommend taking acetaminophen for relief if absolutely necessary. Once again, consult with your personal OB provider for specific advice.
How to Pack for Walt Disney World When You’re Pregnant:
Bring the name, address, phone #, and fax # of your OB provider. If there is a separate phone number for emergencies make sure you have that too. If at all possible, try to get a copy of your prenatal record and take it with you on vacation. Remember, sometimes records need to be requested more than 30 days in advance. Also bring:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Prenatal Vitamins/Iron as prescribed
- Pillows (or request extra to be in your hotel room before you arrive)
- Water/Water bottle
- Snacks made up of a mixture of carbohydrates and protein
- Constipation and hemorrhoid relief…whether this includes wipes, cream, ointment, and/or daily fiber therapy. It’s better to prevent constipation in the long run as some laxatives are too harsh during pregnancy. Do your best to eat a fiber-filled, healthy diet with plenty of water.
- Acetaminophen if okay with your OB provider (unless allergic)
- Heartburn relief (Tums, etc. if okay with your OB provider)
- Comfortable shoes
- Well-fitting bra to help prevent upper back strain
- Sunglasses & wide-brim hat
For a list of places to go for emergent care during pregnancy, visit the Disney Area Hospitals, Emergency Rooms, Dialysis page.
This guide is not meant to be all-encompassing in regards to traveling to WDW and pregnancy. All trips should be discussed thoroughly with your Physician, Nurse-Midwife, or Midwife, long before you leave for your destination. If they recommend that you NOT travel it would be wise to heed that advice.
Do you have more tips or thoughts on this topic?
Please feel free to post them in a comment below. We’d love your input.
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