Should I stay close to home the last few weeks of my pregnancy?

August 26 2013 | offbeatbride
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
This is reader Rachel hanging out with OK Go.. while at their show pregnant. WIN.
There's a gig that I and my husband want to go to about a week before my due date next year. The show is in a city that's about an hour away from us where we live and two hours away from the hospital I'm supposed to be attending to give birth.

I'd love to go and I know that I'd probably be upset that we missed out if we ended up staying at home that night because we didn't take a chance… only for the baby to be born late nearly a month later. I appreciate that if our impending offspring decides to put in an early appearance we may need to sell the tickets/cancel at short notice/leave part way through the gig, but is there anything else that we're missing?

I was just wondering how active readers have been and how adventurous they've been about venturing from home in the few weeks before their due dates — did you err on the side of caution in the last few weeks of your pregnancy or did you stay close to home? — Clare

I thought it would be fun to include a bunch of reader photos of pregnant women rocking at concerts:

Jessica at House of Blues in Anaheim, CA.
Kristy seeing The Wedding Present at Emo's in Austin.
Yvette covering Lollapalooza at six months pregnant.
Lizzie at a Phish show one week before giving birth.

Did you guys travel far and wide throughout your pregnancies, or stick close to home toward the end?

  1. I wish I had had the energy! Seriously, I had dragoncon tickets and a room reservation… but I was due two weeks later and my body gave out on me!

  2. To be fair, there is no guarantee you'll make it that far 😉 An hour or 2 isn't a super long distance, so I doubt it would be an issue for a little trip. As always though, talk to your OB or midwife and see what they say. You could possibly be dilated by that point, and they might want to check you to see if you are before you go.

  3. If you go, do your research. Make sure you know where the closest hospital (with adequate NICU) is and bring copies of everything from your birth plan to your emergency contact info. Keep your hospital bag in your car and put in extra stuff to prepare for the possibility of not coming home. If you have pets, make sure someone with a key is ready to take care of them if you need that.

    With that said, you're only an hour away from home. Most births take longer than a couple hours and if you really want to be in your hospital, you're likely to have enough time to make it there. That's not a guarantee, of course, hence the preparations, but it's likely.

    One thing you didn't mention is where you are in your pregnancy already. If you're two weeks away from popping right now, then I'd say go for it. If you're in your first trimester, I'd say wait to make plans for sure. It's entirely possible that come month nine, the last thing you're going to want to do is go to a gig. You're likely to be tired and uncomfortable and in need of a bathroom so frequently you'd spend three quarters of the show in line for a toilet. You could also be in a really overpowering nesting stage and not want to leave the house except to buy more supplies for the antique dresser you suddenly HAVE to finish for the baby. Listen to your body. It will probably tell you what it needs: rest or rocking out.

  4. I chose to miss my closest cousins wedding which was two weeks before my due date. I so wish I could have been there because now I feel left out of that part in her life. But I live in Ontario Canada as did she forever but she married her American husband in Detroit. For us is was not worth the risk of paying thousands of dollars in health care services in the U.S. if anything were to happen in that evening. Baby ended up being a couple days late, so we of course could have made the wedding, but it still would have been a risk we could not afford to take.

  5. I second what everyone else has said so far, but also wanted to add, be sure to check your insurance policy. Mine won't cover anything if I end up in a hospital other than the one designated within 30 days of my due date, so putting myself in the position of ending up in another hospital if something happened could be financially ruinous. For me, two hours away from that hospital within 30 days of my due date would be too far and I will be sticking pretty close to home as I near term.

    Already, at 29 weeks, I find that one of my criteria for traveling is access to high quality medical care if something were to go wrong. In my first trimester and much of my second trimester (before the viability cutoff when there is little or nothing anyone can do regardless of where you are) I merrily went about my life and didn't worry about where the nearest hospital was and whether it had a NICU. At this point, if it would take hours to access high-quality medical care, I consider that a problem.

  6. I'd err on the side of caution. I was in the same situation; I had a potential gig a week and a half before my due date, and didn't want to regret missing it if baby were to come a month later. As the event approached I was feeling great, but decided to play it safe. My baby was born the day I would have left for the show, after a spontaneous and very quick labor at 38 weeks. It could go either way!

  7. I traveled and taught workshops outside in Louisiana in the summer up until I was 7 months pregnant! I went and saw Flogging Molly at 5 months and traveled across the country to the Grand Canyon the next week. I am glad I did all this? Yes. Was it more tiring than usual? Heck Yes! My doctor finally told me to stay home because I was having some minor issues. So if you feel up to it and are not having any complications I say go ahead and do it! Listen to what your body is telling you and drink lots of water and don't get over tired.

  8. I went to a Dave Mathews Band Concert at 5.5 months pregnant (with twins)
    I will say I've been to a few other mini concerts at conventions and the low tones vibrate by belly pretty uncomfortably.

  9. My experience has been that a lot of people get nervous as you approach your due date and feel like you should be taking it easy and not straying far from the house, but as long as you're taking care of yourself and getting enough rest and eating right, I say be as active and travel as much & as far away as you want, and don't let other people decide what your body & mind can handle.

    Personally, I have erred on the side of doing things (going to my good friend's wedding 30 minutes away from home on my due date, for instance) and I'm so glad I did, because it is now 9 days past my due date and I'm still waiting! I spent a lot of time in the last month going back and forth about how active I should be, and now I'm wishing I'd opted to do more.

    The tricky part about going more than an hour away from where you'll be giving birth is figuring out your action plan if labor starts. I keep telling myself that even in the most extreme scenario (labor starts with a bang and progresses quickly), it will be several hours before the baby's born — plenty of time to hop in the car and drive like mad to the hospital.

    That's my take — of course, you have to do whatever you feel comfortable with.

  10. I am currently at 41 weeks and 1 day. I have been really active over the past few weeks and don't plan on changing until labor begins. I just text my midwife if the drive is over 45 minutes and have stuck to places with cell phone reception. Oh, and I make sure there are bathrooms wherever I go. The midwife helped me make a plan in case of labor. My partner and I also factored in my propensity to get exhausted, ravenously hungry, or enjoy bouts of significant back pain at a moment's notice into all of our plans.

    The biggest lesson I have learned was to plan on taking some extra comfort measures. Snacks, comfy shoes, sitting down before I get tired, and cold water have kept me going.

    Have fun!

  11. One of my favorite memories is going to see M. Ward for the first time with my husband when I was 6 months pregnant. Granted, that wasn't as far as long as you are now, but I will NEVER forget how incredibly happy I was with my baby thumping around in my belly to some of my absolute favorite music and my husband holding my hand and dancing with me. It was really an incredible night and one I can't imagine not having experienced. I don't know if the band you want to see is one of your absolute favorites or not, but I think if you take the appropriate measures that people have mentioned (bring copies of any necessary information, research hospitals nearby, make sure your OB/midwife knows you'll be out of town) then you'll probably be so, so happy that you chose to go.

  12. This is one of those pregnancy situations where other women's experiences won't be much help. There's just no way of knowing how that part of your pregnancy will go, or how you'll feel, until you're in it.

    I had planned to attend my 10 year reunion – it was 2 weeks before my due date, and I was just going to drive in for the day. I bailed. Even though I ended up being a week late, I spent the last month of my pregnancy exhausted, feet swollen, uncomfortable, and in such hip pain that it was difficult to walk. I have no regrets about staying home. But then, there were other women from my class who were similarly pregnant and attended.

    Would it be possible to make plans to go, while also having a Plan B in case you have complications or aren't up for it? Would you be able to recoup some costs by selling the tickets etc.?

  13. My mom alway jokes that I went to a Rolling Stones concert once . . . except that I was in utero at the time!

    If my mom could do it, so could you. But you decide to cancel those plans, that's OK too.

  14. I lived in Oregon during my last pregnancy and took a two-week trip to Europe from 15-17 weeks and then a two-week trip to Texas from 28-30 weeks, but after that, I kept it pretty close to home. That was as much because I had to pee every 30 minutes and didn't want to wear a bra, though, as it was that I was worried about going into labor.

  15. I'll be attending a wedding in a city about 3-4 hour drive away (depending on how many bathroom stops I need) when I'm almost 38 weeks. I'm almost 34 weeks now, and I've brought it up with my midwife. She says there should be no problem, however, they will check me out beforehand to make sure I'm still good to go (I'll be doing my weekly appointments by then, so I'll be checked a week before I'm supposed to go, and the day before I go).

    They said IF I go into labour at the wedding, I've been instructed to call (because I'll definitely have warning signs), and then just to jump into the car and high-tail it back up to my city. I would be keeping in constant contact with the midwives during the drive. Worst case scenario is I don't make it back to the birthing centre on time, and I have to give birth at the city in between these two locations.

    But they did say to me, they would recommend I do not go if the wedding was happening about a week from my due date.

    However, I suggest you talk to your caregiver and see what they say. An 1-2 hour trip isn't terrible, and if you happen to go into labour, your husband would just throw you in the car and rip it back to your hospital.

  16. My mom went to a Bob Marley concert a week before she had me and its one of my favorite stories to tell 🙂 look at how cool my mom was!! That being said my mom always loved being pregnant and always said she never felt better. I would say there is no point in courting trouble at this stage. Just go with how you feel on the day.

  17. Mostly I stopped feeling physically comfortable while traveling around 7-8 months. I wouldn't worry about going into labor at the concert and having to rush to the hospital, though. At that point in pregnancy your provider will be able to tell you how low the baby is, how effaced your cervix is, etc, and should be able to give you a pretty good assessment of whether precipitous labor is likely. It's most likely that you'll have hours or days of early labor before you'd need to go to the hospital. I personally wouldn't have chosen to travel an hour away from home at 39 weeks, because my baby had dropped at 36 weeks and I felt like it was an "any day now" situation, and I still ended up in early labor for 2 full days before contractions were regular enough to count as active labor.

    If the tickets are refundable or you think you could resell them, I'd play it by ear and see how you feel at that point.

  18. I've got tickets to a concert when I'll be 7 months. My current plan is to go, but I'm making a backup plan to give the ticket to a good friend if I don't feel up to it. So I guess to echo what previous posters are saying, make the plans for both situations, and play it by ear. 🙂

  19. We flew p[art way across the country for a weekend wedding at I think 35 weeks. Our midwives were fine with that, but they were less thrilled with our plan to spend thanksgiving weekend 3 hours away, with a due date of December 2. They said to drive home immediately after labor started. Labor didn't end up starting until after we arrived back home, but it was a little crazier than maybe we should have been.

  20. At some months pregnant, my wife and I bought tickets to see Pixies. The show was scheduled for 2 days before my due date. We figured we'd sell them if we had to, no big deal. Two days before the show, I started having really irregular contractions. The morning of the show, they were still happening. We debated what to do. I decided I was doing ok, and that it could drag on for days still. Closer and closer to the show and my contractions were getting a bit more regular, a bit closer together, and a bit more intense. I ended up having to sit down every other song to have a contraction (thank GOODNESS it was a seated show!)…and by the end of the show, it was closer to every song….but, labour was long, and my baby wasn't born until 8pm the next night.

    So, all that to say, labour can take a damn long time. It can be very quick too….but it often is long. 2 hours from the hospital doesn't seem so bad to me. My one caveat would be that make sure there's somewhere you can sit. Even if I hadn't been in labour, I think I would have liked having a seat at that point in my pregnancy. Have a good emergency plan with your husband (if it were me, I'd have a 'no leaving my side for more than 10 minutes at a time' rule in place….I'd just be panicking that something would happen and if my wife was up dancing in the pit I couldn't get to her and she wouldn't hear her phone).

    And have fun!

  21. For me, it was an issue of how I felt, not so much the issue of taking the risk of going into labor. If you REALLY want to go, and you're willing to risk losing the money you put up for tickets, I would buy the tickets and take a wait&see approach. You might decide that you are just plain too tired and achey to put yourself through it. I had a few plans right up to my due date and I ended up bailing because I felt the urge to stay close to home. And speaking of that, feeling the desire to stay close to home and away from people is a sign of impending labor, so if you get that feeling, don't ignore it!

  22. I went to Country Concert, a big outdoor music festival in Ohio, a week before my due date. My sister won four tickets, and I volunteered to DD for the two hour trip there and back on Friday evening. (They were going back the next day to camp, which I considered, but ultimately decided against.) It was a lot of walking and a lot of fun. 🙂

    My 18 year old niece asked on the way there, what if I went into labor while we were there. I assured her that labor, especially for first time moms, takes many hours, and I'd likely have lots of warning and plenty of time to drive home during early labor if it started. I also brought a change of clothes and medical info, just in case.

    All went well, and we arrived home at about 4:00 am with baby still snugly in my belly. He was born about 48 hours later, at 4:33 am Monday morning. The funny part is, I had nothing that I recognized as early labor. We got to the hospital only about an hour before he was born (pulled into the parking lot at 3:15 am). So had it started while we were at the concert, I may very well have had a problem getting to my hospital in time. I wouldn't change my decision to go, though, even in hindsight. I love the pic of me in a cowboy hat in a crowd of people with my big belly and knowing that was my son's "first concert."

    If you're comfortable with the risk, take it. Then just trust your body and your instincts on the day of, and do what feels right.

  23. It depends on the situation. Its really important to remember that the due date is just a due estimation, and that having the baby two weeks before or two weeks after a due date is totally normal. in fact, only 5% of babies are born on their due date!

    So for me, normally I would go to my grandparents for Christmas time, but that was a week before I was due. My grandparents live 3 hours away, near a hospital, but a hospital that does not have a maternity ward (although i'm sure they could 'wing it' in an emergency as they are the only hospital in the area: they don't do routine births though). Also, that area has a lot of snow and ice storms which could leave you stranded in town and unable to drive back. So I decided that I couldn't make Christmas out of town that year. As it happened, I felt really tired and crappy and was happy just to have to some time to rest with my partner.

    On the other hand, I would take day trips up to 2 hours away in late pregnancy, I just wouldn't stay there. You should find out, if you can, if there is a history of fast labour in your family. Women in some families give birth within a few hours. But in my family labours are always really slow, so whatever. Before I had the baby I had a week of lead up and it was really gradual.

  24. Go! It's only an hour away. It takes at least an hour to drive through downtown at rush hour in my city and no one would say a pregnant lady shouldn't do it. Of course have a back up plan for the tickets, drink plenty of water, sit down when tired, etc, etc, but it's only an hour from home. Also, take your cervical exam before the show with a grain of salt. You can be 4 cm dilated and still not be in labor five days later (at least my induction was easy). Have fun!

  25. Of course, the ironic thing about me being in that photo up top (that's me with OK Go) is that since yesterday was my due date I haven't done a damn thing in weeks. I've been staying pretty close to home. However, in my defense, I am afraid of driving by myself while in labor and my hubby almost never wants to go see the same bands I want to see. So I'm staying close to home. I understand how you're feeling though!

  26. In NYC getting anywhere takes a while so two hours sounds like nothing to me. Pack your bag and plan to enjoy yourself. Labor will be easier if you're relaxed and having fun.

    I went to a documentary screening a week before my due date. The location was at least an hour taxi ride from our birth center, but much closer than our apartment. I really really wanted to go, because the directors and subject were giving a Q&A. The day before the show I went into early labor, but refused to cancel the tickets. I went WHILE in labor. My husband was a little nervous, but it became one of the most memorable and loving experiences of our relationship. Our son finally made his appearance 24 hours later. (I had a 3 day affair.)

    Follow your gut and make sure your husband is willing to be your main coach should you go into labor early.

  27. For me it would depend on whether it was a concert with seating or a concert where I've got to stand for four hours. The travel actually wouldn't have bothered me because I think two hours isn't that far away if you left at the first sign of going into labor. But I skipped out on a concert a few days before my due date because the thought of standing for so long was just too exhausting. I did go to a few small (bar/coffee shop) SXSW festival shows about two weeks before my due date and also found that I had to leave and go sit down a few times because I couldn't stand for very long without getting tired and woozy. Prior to the final month of pregnancy, I was good to go at the other shows I went to though.

  28. If possible, you could find out when your mother went into labour in relation to her due date. I think there is some hereditary element to whether you'll be "early" or "late", and also how long your labour is likely to be. If your mom was 2 weeks post due date and if her labour was really long, then you're probably safe (either because you'll be late or because you'll have time to make it to your hospital). If she was 1-2 weeks early and/or had a short labour, you might want to be more wary!

  29. Play it by ear; your body will tell you whether to go. Each pregnancy is different. A week before my due date with baby #1 (Austin City Limits 7.5 months pregnant, camping 8 months pregnant) and #2 (Austin City Limits 5 months pregnant, camping 6 months pregnant) and I felt great, had great energy and was in a good mood! A week before my due date with baby #3, and you couldn't pay me to leave my house. I was working from home because my hip and back pain were so severe it was hard for me to stand and walk (and sit on noncushioned surfaces).

    If you decide to go, you will want to make sure the pregnant lady essentials are available, ie. water, seating, and access to a bathroom. Plus, a SOBER driver that is not you. Whether its your partner or someone else, there needs to be a responsible person that can get you to some medical attention and/or a hospital, or just take you home if you start to feel tired and achy – without having to sober up first.

  30. Speaking as somebody 2 weeks overdue, I would have worried about going a lot, probably not gone and regretted it. I was cautious and tired for part of this final trimester but now I go anywhere and do anything I'm invited to. My medical people I've consulted have said go anywhere and do anything, be as active and 'normal for you' as possible, on the grounds that this results in a quicker recovery from labour.

    With my first pregnancy I would never have made it to the gig, I was practically incapacitated by various problems from 30 weeks, however, this time it would have worked to go. Can you buy the tickets and then pass them along nearer the time if you can't make it? Pregnancy experiences are so variable, even across the course of a single pregnancy, if it means enough to you I would buy and then keep my fingers crossed but potentially have in mind somebody who might be able to go in my place.

  31. I wouldn't be worried unless you were already have contractions. I drove all over CT when I was 38 wks pregnant with my first because my MIL was visiting and wanted to check out family history sites. It never occurred to me that I was risking anything.

  32. I went to Neil Diamond about two-three weeks before I was due with my son. I had a couple friends set up to take the tickets just in case, but we went and all was well … However, it would be worth a conversation with your doc or midwife to see what they advise.

    And it was so much fun! I currently have a month before my second son is born and I've been wondering if I could squeeze a concert in before he shows up. 🙂

  33. At the end of my first trimester, I went on a quick tour with my musician husband. We spent each day in a different city (only spending extra time in Minneapolis). I did most of the driving & loved it.

    By my third trimester, I was still going to (local/local-ish) shows… but by the end of my third trimester, I was only going to shows that had seating available!! Not that I was sitting the whole time, but I definitely needed to have the option to take a rest as needed. I also gave a venue major bonus points if they had good food to munch on.

    At a CD release show for our friends' band, another woman went into labor. She was also a friend of the band, although I don't know her, but it seems things went just fine judging by the Facebook post our mutual friend put up not long after.

    So I'd say go for it. Like others have said, have an exit strategy. Pack your bags & put them in the car. Have a car seat installed & ready. Make sure to park in an area that's easy to get to (this might mean you'll have to plan on getting there really early depending on the parking situation). This would be the time to pay for parking, even if you never pay for parking!

    But super important: If the venue will be hard to communicate in, have a plan for how you will let your partner know if something's up.

  34. I bought tickets to The Movielife when I was about 6 months pregnant, knowing the show was 3 days before my due date (and turned out to be the night before Hurricane Irene was to hit the east coast). I had stopped working because of how I felt about 2 weeks before my due date but was determined to make this show since it was the band's final show (after already being broken up for years), how my husband and I met, and we both have Movielife tattoos. We grocery shopped that morning (to prepare for the baby, and being stuck inside from the hurricane), and then headed into the city from Brooklyn. I had to sit for a lot of it, and missed the crowd interaction I would have had, but I am SO HAPPY I did it. And my daughter outlasted that, and the hurricane, and was born a day late.

    If you feel up to it day of, I say go for it. Just like everyone else said, look into local hospitals around the area just in case, but don't stress yourself too much about the "what if".

  35. I agree–go for it! As long as you're prepared to leave early and have an exit strategy in place, 2 hours isn't that long when we're talking labor & delivery. I worked right up until the morning I went into labor–I felt fine and wanted to save all of my time off for after I had my baby–and didn't pass on any other fun activities if I felt up to going. I ended up giving birth almost two weeks late, and during that time we went to a concert and a pro hockey game. The biggest hassle is people around you–they're so nervous! You get a lot of looks like you're a ticking time bomb. At the hockey game we made friends with a security guard who expressed concern; when he asked when my due date was and I said "3 days ago" he pointed out the emergency exits and where the paramedics were and that he'd be right there keeping an eye out for us so if we needed anything just signal to him. I felt great and we had a fun night out–which is important to to while you still have the time to do it!

  36. I'd say plan to go, then have a back up plan. Everyone is going to have anecdotal stories that vary – every pregnancy is different! I wasn't comfortable traveling the last 2 months of my pregnancy myself. Turns out for good reason – I delivered early!

  37. Since you said "I appreciate that if our impending offspring decides to put in an early appearance we may need to sell the tickets/cancel at short notice/leave part way through the gig" I think you already have the right idea. If you want to do it, go for it, but be flexible if you're not feeling up to it when the time comes.

  38. I went on a bus tour at 37 weeks, playing concerts and staying in a different hotel every night. It was a bit uncomfy sitting on the bus, but mainly it was FINE.

    Go for it!

  39. Go for it! I went camping about an hour away from my birthing hospital on my due date! The little miss was too comfy though, not budging for almost a week before being forcibly evicted (induction)! Just make sure you have plans in place, if bubs does decide to come whilst you are at the concert.

  40. I was SUPER active all throughout my pregnancy. I went on a 7mile snow shoe 2hrs away from home at 38weeks pregnant. My daughter came at 38.3. I think active labor in a car is the worst thing EVAR!!!! But I also think it is the rare rare bird who has such a precipitous labor that she skips over the prodrome and gets right down to biz. I think you can listen to your body and see what signals it is sending you around the date of the gig. If you feel up to it go for it. If you feel crappy and tired or lots of BH ctx and discharge, think about skipping it. If you are OK with the uncertainty then have a blast. It is so hard to say but totally within the realm of possibility if you keep listening to your body.

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