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Rick Steves Italy tours while pregnant??

Hello - My husband and I were looking into taking one of the Italy tours in May, at which point I will be about 5-6 months pregnant. I know there is a lot of walking involved and it will depend on how I feel, but we'd really like to get a trip in before the baby comes. Perhaps we will have to look into a more relaxing trip but thought I'd ask here first! Thank you!!

Posted by
14506 posts

Your doctor has the final call, of course, but I certainly would have done it at 5-6 months ( not 7+). Walking is good!

Make sure your trip insurance covers cancellation due to complications of pregnancy----many standard policies do not.

Also check with your doctor about dietary restrictions. Many advise against raw milk cheeses during pregnancy.

Posted by
11890 posts

I agree with Lola and would add I think Heart of Italy would be perfect unless you had decided on one of the others. It is just 4 cities with 2 nights in each. You can add some time on either end so you have a few days in Rome to recover from jet lag and some if Florence to see some other things at a relaxing pace. The day in Rome was the most taxing in my opinion.

I took this one with family and my SIL was ill in Rome (not pregnancy related as her 20+ year old sons were along with us, lol). Anyway, the guide helped her figure out where she could take a rest at times while the group went and did other things. In Rome there is always the option of taking a taxi back to the hotel (she and I did that after the group meal as she felt sick), Orvieto is very small and walkable so easy to get back to the hotel if you are fatigued, Cinque Terre is a totally free day so you go at your own pace and Florence is also pretty walkable.

Posted by
339 posts

Many years ago (my son is 27), I found out I was pregnant a few weeks before leaving on a 3 week concert trip to China. My doctor signed off on it. I was in good physical shape but there were a few issues. Long hours in a bus and salty food were the biggest problems that led to swollen feet. Also bathroom locations since with the salty food, I was very thirsty and China was fairly new in the foreign tourism business. But I did fine even though we changed locations a lot. One stretch, 5 nights in 5 locations (it WAS a concert tour), which I would not advise.

I would check into how many hours on a bus, how many hours a day for walking and how many location changes. Salty food probably wouldn't be as much of an issue as it was for me in Asia. 5-6 months of a pregnancy can be a time of feeling good.

Good luck and happy planning.

Posted by
886 posts

First, Congratulations and I hope you are feeling well!!

We've been on 5 RS tours none of which I have been pregnant, but I think the suggestion of checking out bus times is a good one.
You may need help carrying your suitcase up stairs which I am sure hubby will do. for the rest of the time I would make sure that the case has wheels and that you don't overpack. In May you won't need real warm clothes so that will help.

The hardest part of the trip for you might be watching others drink nice Italian wines while you can't. But I think one of the Italy trips is doable for you if your Dr. signs off on it.

Whatever you decide I hope you both have a great time, you deserve it!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you all! These are great tips! I will definitely talk to my doctor and get trip insurance just in case. I am glad these are mostly favorable opinions as I was really hoping to be able to get in one last trip before baby comes :) I think the no wine and dietary restrictions will definitely be my least favorite part!

Posted by
10344 posts

You probably want to directly ask the Rick Steves Europe staff this question. Contributors here are not affiliated with RSE.
And as Lola mentioned, you probably will want to check whether your current medical insurance covers you in Europe.

Posted by
2479 posts

In 1983, I traveled to Scotland when I was 5 1/2 months pregnant. We had just been to Europe for the first time in 1982, and we wanted to get in one more trip before the baby came. We had a blast. We walked and hiked all over the place. The only issue I had is that sometimes I had to stop and rest a minute when climbing up steep hills like Arthur's seat in Edinburgh. I packed everything I needed in a duffle bag and carried it myself with no problems. (If there was such a thing as wheeled luggage at the time, I had never heard of it.) Unless you have a problem pregnancy, you should be able to do pretty much anything you would normally do. At least that was my experience. If your doctor is okay with it and you are healthy, I say go for it.

Posted by
14506 posts

That story comes from an unfortunate and very rare occurrence. Fortunately it sounds like the premature baby is totally OK. They perform what seems like a miracle in the NICU with tiny babies, and they turn out fine. This is extremely unlikely to happen, but you must make sure all insurance is in place, just in case.

Posted by
5048 posts

With regards to the story posted above, travel insurance would likely not cover birth expenses as this is a pre-existing condition. Best to make sure that the existing policy will cover medical costs abroad. When I flew six months pregnant, I wore compression stockings, which might not be a bad idea for you.

Posted by
260 posts

Well, our guide was pregnant on my last RS tour! And I'm sure that's pretty tough. Surely being on the tour would be far easier! Good luck and congratulations

Posted by
31820 posts

Some further information.....

In the story I linked above, the family DID have travel insurance. They also checked with their Physician and were assured that there were no complications or other reasons that would void their insurance. Unfortunately, the insurance company had a different view, which was based on the fact that the mother suffered a bladder infection at about four months.

While the baby is apparently fine, the parents are supposedly still stuck with a $900K (U.S.) hospital bill. Here's more coverage of the story....

Posted by
11490 posts

cp as a note.. I think travelling at 5-6 months is ideal.. the first three months many of us do not feel too well.. and the last 2-3 months can be tough with extra weight etc.. but the middle three months are sort of the best times.. at least for me there were ,, all three times!

Do note you should also be aware of not eating unpasteurized cheeses.

The walking aspect of the tours should not really be an issue.. if you are healthy now and used to walking a normal amount at home.. remember many people exercise right to term .. its not a time to START an exercise program of course.. but if you are already moderately healthy ( able to walk a few miles a day) then being 5 months pregnant shouldn't change things too much. Do of course clear all with a doctor.

PS DO plan on arriving two days before the tour.. to get over jet lag and rest.. this is good advise for anyone.. but especially for you.

Posted by
13 posts

Hi, I work in the Tour Department and also guide for Rick. I was 4-5 months pregnant with my first and 6-7 months pregnant with my second when taking tour members around in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The GAS tour is strenuous and Italy tours can be as well - along with our other fully guided tours. I had clearance from my Doctor for both pregnancies to go ahead and lead tours prior to departure. There's several things to consider in addition to your health. I was not allowed to go above a certain elevation when in the mountains due to lack of oxygen for myself and baby. I was given the ok to do some hikes but not others due to safety (at that stage it can be easy to stumble or find yourself off balance with one simple cobblestone). I used a wheeled bag which allowed me to pull and not lift. I did not push myself and made sure that I made myself take at least a one hour nap during off time (I found that not only was I jet lagged but the little one would be tossing and turning in off hours as well!). Cold cuts and cheese, honey and milk were off limits as Europeans tend to use different methods of preservation (cheese especially stressed by my doctor to not have in Europe) and I brought stateside pre natal vitamins on my person on the plane since European vitamins and medication can be different levels and dosages. I also drank tons of water and walked a lot on the plane with compression socks. I had a great experience in Europe while pregnant and if you do decide to go just be prepared and maybe pick a shorter, less strenuous get away abroad so you can relax and enjoy your pre baby time away! We have several tours to pick from and if you like, give us a call at 425/608-4217 and we would be happy to help you find a match. Congrats to both of you!!!!

Posted by
43 posts

Please get travel insurance. Check out to compare insurance. For preexisting conditions, most insurance companies require you purchase insurance within two-weeks of the trip deposit.

Posted by
7740 posts

cp perhaps the My Way tour would be a good compromise.