Can You PCS While Pregnant?
by Megan Harless - March 30th, 2022
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 your family will arrive to visit you.
And then military life gets in the way. As a pregnant military spouse, you get the joyous fun of planning for a PCS instead of planning a nursery. But never fear! If you're wondering whether you can PCS while pregnant, we are here to give you the information you need to make this PCS a bit easier.
But first: do you want more information about your next duty station? PCSgrades has you covered! Check out our free reviews and area guides, written by military families for military families.
Can you PCS while pregnant?
Moving while pregnant, while not easy, can be done. However, there are several factors you'll need to consider.
Since you should not be doing any heavy lifting, this is not the time to volunteer for a personally procured move (PPM) or DITY move! The military provides professional movers to handle the packing and lifting 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, ask someone for help. Your spouse or a friend or neighbor can assist with these tasks. Never risk your health or your baby's health while preparing for a move.
Can you PCS overseas while pregnant?
A CONUS to CONUS PCS while pregnant isn't a big deal, especially if you are in the first or second trimester and aren't high-risk.
But can you PCS overseas while pregnant? The answer to that question is a bit more complex. In many cases, yes, you can PCS overseas while pregnant. There are some instances, though, when you may not be able to move OCONUS during your pregnancy.
Many airlines won't allow travel during the third trimester of pregnancy, so take this into account when making PCS plans. If you have any complications or risk factors, your orders could be delayed or canceled. The same may be true if PCSing to a location with limited access to post-natal care for the mother or baby.
Of course, the COVID pandemic will also impact your move. An overseas PCS means being on an airplane and traveling through other crowded locations. Be sure to follow all local guidelines to protect yourself and your baby from infection.
Ask your doctor
Before preparing for your PCS, be sure to check with your current doctor or midwife. They may have recommendations for you 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 doing a stateside PCS in your second or third trimester, it is recommended that you schedule a pit stop every two hours and do some walking for 20-30 minutes. Plan your PCS roadtrip around your health needs. Try not to push past seven hours of total drive time on any given day. Remember, the military provides one day of travel time per every 400 miles, so take the time to stop and rest. It will make the move a little easier - and certainly more enjoyable!
Yes, you and your baby both need to stay nourished with regular, healthy meals throughout the moving process. We all know how crazy those final days before a PCS can be. 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 at all times.
Pro-Tip: That extra water means extra potty breaks, which helps with hitting that walking goal!
Be baby ready
A PCS during pregnancy means a little extra planning and preparation. You might not expect your little bundle of joy to make an appearance during your PCS, but it's always better to be prepared.
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. Be prepared and be cautious.
Remember, your prenatal 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 also covered, no matter where you travel. 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.
Baby basics for the pregnant military spouse
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
Plenty of diapers and wipes (more than you think you'll need)
A pack-and-play for a safe sleeping spot
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 than to be scrambling at the last minute!
Can you PCS while pregnant? Absolutely! PCSing is never fun, and a PCS during pregnancy makes it even more challenging. Pregnant military spouses and active duty members should take care to avoid heavy lifting and additional stress since both can affect the health of your baby.
A little pre-planning will go a long way. It’s an exciting time in your life: 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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