Moving home while pregnant

Moving home while pregnant
Are you pregnant or planning to start a family? If so, your instincts will probably drive you to prepare your home and get it ready for your new baby. That might mean redecorating, renovating, or repurposing rooms to accommodate a nursery, or ‘baby-proofing’ the house from top to bottom. 

It might be clear, though, that your current home just isn’t going to be suitable when you’ve got a child. So is it a good idea to move house while you’re pregnant, or is it better to wait until your baby is here?

Why would anyone move house when pregnant?

It’s fair to say that few people would choose to move house when pregnant. Moving house and having a baby are two major life events, and doing both at the same time is not for the faint of heart! 

If this isn’t your first baby, the idea of moving while keeping your children safe alongside a new baby doesn’t bear thinking about, so you’d rather move when you’re pregnant and get it over with.

Or, you might need to move to a larger property to accommodate your growing family. You may decide to move because your current home is unsuitable, being too close to a main road or having no outdoor space. Perhaps your mortgage or rent payments will be unaffordable alongside childcare costs or a pay cut from switching to part-time work. Or maybe you just want to move to be closer to your family for support, or (planning ahead) within the catchment area of a good school.

Is it okay to move house when pregnant?

Stress and physical exertion can cause problems during pregnancy. There is research from the University of Washington, shared by the Nursing Times in the UK, that there is a link between premature birth / low birthweight and moving house during the first and final trimesters of pregnancy.

Your body changes during pregnancy in ways you probably won’t expect! Fluid retention and reduced blood circulation can lead to swelling, which can press on nerves causing pins and needles. Your hips become more flexible as your body prepares itself for labour. All of this means that you may not be able to do the same physical jobs you used to before your pregnancy. Exerting yourself could cause back strain, joint issues, carpal tunnel pain and even pubic symphysis dysfunction (not pleasant!).

It’s also important to avoid any exposure to chemicals and fumes including bleach, ammonia and paint fumes. This means you should avoid being the one to decorate the new nursery, but you can give clear instructions to your partner or family for how you’d like it to look. 

It does also mean you’ll need to get someone else to clean your old house ready for the new owners, and clean your new house ready for you to move in! So it’s not all bad news, is it?

Is it better to move before or after having a baby?

Pregnancy may bring nausea in the early days (or throughout, if you’re unlucky), and tiredness and great discomfort later on. Swollen ankles, heartburn, and poor quality sleep can make it very difficult to summon the energy needed to move house. Decluttering, organising and packing require a lot of effort and your body will naturally prioritise your baby’s needs above your own, making you get tired quickly and need lots of rest breaks.

Hopefully, your pregnancy will progress smoothly, but there is always the risk that high blood pressure or other health issues may mean that your midwife insists that you must rest. You might be confined to your bed for days or weeks if that’s what’s needed to protect your baby. If you’ve planned to move house, that plan might have to be abandoned or changed dramatically if your health or your baby’s wellbeing need you to rest.

If you’re wondering if it’ll be easier to wait until the baby is here … Well, imagine doing all that work whilst caring for a baby or young child. You’ll need to take regular breaks to feed, change, interact and play with your baby. If you think you’re tired during pregnancy, this is nothing to how tired you may be when your baby is born and wakes you up at all hours of the night!

On the other hand, you might be lucky and have a baby who sleeps well and takes long naps during the day, giving you time to do all the work necessary for the move. Becoming a parent is a huge task, and it’s important you give yourself plenty of time to rest and adjust to your new life too.

After giving birth, you will be in discomfort and need time to recover physically, so if you’re planning to move soon after giving birth, act as though you’re still pregnant and let others do the hard work.

Practical steps when moving house when pregnant

Looking after your health needs during the move

Before you move, you’ll be registered with a GP, a midwife and possibly with the health visiting service in your area. 

Even if you’re not moving far, you’ll still need to give your new address to your GP surgery. Your new address might not fall within your GP surgery’s catchment area and you’ll need to register with one closer to your new home. 

If you need to change GP, you might also need to change midwifery and health visiting services. Those services tend to cover a wider area than individual GP practices, so if you’re not moving far away then you may still be able to keep your current midwife.

You’ll need to work out which hospital will be caring for you for your antenatal appointments and the delivery (if you’re planning to deliver in hospital). You can ask your GP about maternity services in your area, and then you can choose which of those you’d like to be referred to. 

It’s worth joining online forums local to your new area to ask other new parents about their experiences and recommendations. If, after doing that research, you want to go somewhere your GP hasn’t listed, you can self-refer to that hospital/clinic’s maternity services.

Once you’ve found your new maternity service and been allocated a midwife, you can ask for extra support around managing your stress levels and for any other practical advice to help you to prepare for your baby’s arrival.

Be prepared for labour wherever you are

Once you get close to your delivery date, it’s advisable to keep your hospital bag with you. This will include things like a nightie, nappies, maternity pads, breast pads, underwear, and baby essentials (clothing and bottles if you’re planning to bottle feed). If you make it all the way to moving day and your baby still hasn’t arrived, take that bag with you in your car rather than packing it in the removal van! 

It’s also a good idea to put a maternity bed mat on your mattress when you approach your due date, so that you don’t have to clean your mattress or buy a new one if you go into labour at night - that’s one less thing to worry about organising when moving house!

Buying baby items when you’re planning to move

While it’s tempting to buy everything you’ll need for your baby, try to stick to the essentials your baby will need for the first few days in case he or she arrives early, including a car seat to ensure a safe trip home from the hospital.

To simplify your move, consider holding off on purchasing major items like cots, prams, and changing tables until you've settled into your new home. If space is a concern or you're in between homes, Safestore can securely store your baby items. You can even have purchases delivered directly to our facility, where we'll safely store them until you're ready to move in. This not only minimizes the clutter but ensures that everything you buy fits perfectly in your new space.

What will help when moving house during pregnancy?

If you have a partner who can take over all the hard work of moving house while you rest, hopefully you’ll feel that you can relax. Perhaps you could stay with family members for a few days during the upheaval to help you to stay calm. At least you’ll have a lovely new home ready for the arrival of your baby if you move during pregnancy.

You could also pay for a full removal service, so that someone else will do the packing, organising and heavy lifting.

If you know quite early in your pregnancy that you’ll be moving house before you give birth, consider decluttering your home, and moving non-essentials into a self storage unit for a few weeks. Those might be things like Christmas decorations, camping gear, books, out-of-season clothing - things you won’t need between now and moving day. Carefully label all your boxes, so you can work out which ones to unpack in priority order.

If you can do that while you’re still mobile and have the energy, when moving day arrives you’ll have less to pack, transport and unpack. If you’re using a removal service, this will also mean that you’ll have less to pay because there will be fewer things for them to transport. You can empty your self storage unit into your new home at leisure.

If you think it might help to rent a self storage unit during your pregnancy to prepare for moving house, please get in touch with one of our friendly team members who can give you all the information you need to make a decision.

For a more comprehensive guide to ensure your move is as smooth as possible, check out our complete Moving House Checklist. It's packed with helpful tips and reminders to assist you through every step of your move.

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