On the day of our big move, the very first thing I did was throw up.
Nine weeks pregnant and overcome with morning sickness, I had the keys to our new place and a lease on the old one that told me it was time to get out. On that day, my husband handed me my Saltines and a barf bag, eased me into the car, drove us to our new home, and deposited me on the floor of our new home — since the furniture hadn’t yet arrived — with my trusty crackers.
Undertaking a move is a chore for anyone, but moving while you’re pregnant is a special kind of challenge. However, it is possible to survive and even conquer the process by following a few rules.
1. Make a plan…
Write down everything in case you succumb to the dreaded pregnancy brain. Sketch out a schedule of important moving tasks like renting a truck, setting up utilities, and signing key documents. Jot down a list of the moving supplies you’ll need. Consider the abilities and availabilities of everyone in your family, and assign tasks.
If you have flexibility in the timing of your move, shoot for your second trimester. You’ll be past the exhaustion, and hopefully the nausea, of the first trimester and won’t yet be feeling too huge to move your stuff — or yourself — around.
2. …but plan for the worst.
If you’re a first-timer, you will need to accept that you will be able to take on less — possibly much less — than you would have been capable of pre-pregnancy. Instead of briskly loading boxes, you may be lumbering around or — worse — hugging the toilet.
Allow plenty of buffer time in your moving plan and start as early as you can. Even months in advance, you can identify out-of-season or infrequently used items and start packing while you’re feeling good.
3. Take all the help you can get.
You’re moving and you’re pregnant, so take advantage of people’s pity! Now’s the time to call in every favor you’ve ever been owed. Accept all offers of aid from family members, and shamelessly bribe friends with pizza and beer. (Enjoy your slice with some milk.)
Even if you would ordinarily take pride in doing the heavy lifting yourself, spring for paid labor to ease the burden. Pay for professional movers to package and relocate everything or just to wrangle your furniture. If you box up your possessions yourself, hire some college kids or use a service in order to have some able-bodied people load and unload your rental truck in no time.
Don’t break your back and breathe in harsh chemicals while scouring your old place. Hire a maid service to do a moving out cleaning job after your belongings are packed.
4. Stay put.
There’s a lot of physical exertion required in relocating, but there’s plenty you can do while seated. Opt for tasks that don’t require a lot of lifting and walking, like making lists, labeling boxes, creating an inventory of box contents (because you will lose track of what’s where), wrapping and packing knick-knacks, setting up utilities, locating supermarkets and gas stations in your new area, and more.
Don’t forget to find an OB in your new town and have your current doctor fax over your medical records.
5. Order in.
The last thing you’ll want to do after finally getting into your new place is dig through boxes for pots, dishes, utensils, and ingredients. If your moving buddies don’t gift you a casserole on their way out the door, have phone numbers and menus on hand for local restaurants. Order in a ton of food — enough so that you have leftovers for the next day — and eat on paper plates.
If you’re feeling up to it, explore the local cuisine in your new town.
A word of caution: Don’t attempt to slide into a restaurant booth unless you’re utterly confident that your belly will fit. (Do not ask me how I know this.)
6. Don’t be a martyr.
There’s no medal for single-handedly orchestrating your move with a baby in your belly. Your health and your baby’s health are too important to ignore. Check with your doctor about how much weight you can lift, how long you should be on your feet, and what additional advice she has for you.
Listen to your body when it’s hungry, tired, or compelling you to the bathroom for the twentieth time. Drink lots of water, keep food in your stomach, and take breaks frequently.
Don’t rush to unpack every box right away. Two years later, we’ve still got a pile of boxes we haven’t touched. We’ve decided it’ll be our son’s job to unload those.