I photographed my last wedding at 39 weeks pregnant. I actually didn't start my 2016 wedding season until I was officially 9 months along. Apparently I was also crazy. I normally would NOT recommend photographing that far into your pregnancy, but sometimes you just can't avoid it. I was lucky to have had an amazing pregnancy, free of any complications including nausea, swelling, etc. Aside from having to waddle and take more frequent bathroom breaks, it really wasn't any different than shooting a wedding non pregnant. There were several steps I made sure to take to ensure I wasn't going to let my brides and grooms down on their wedding day.
A few disclaimers I should note: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Always consult with your doctor first if there are any issues, concerns, etc. Every pregnancy is different and what worked for me might not work for you. Like I mentioned, I had a very easy pregnancy, free of complications. Please take care of yourself and your baby first!
So, here are 5 tips I have for you if you have to shoot a wedding while pregnant:
Edited to add: Of course the number one thing to do is make sure you have an AMAZING couple that not only is ok with you photographing their wedding while pregnant, but that also trusts you! I couldn't have done it if my couple at 39 weeks wouldn't have believed in me and trusted my ability. :)
1) Have a backup, second photographer and potentially even an assistant. I always have a second shooter at weddings, so I made sure she was ok with taking over as primary should I go into labor. We then had another photographer lined up to step in as her second. I also brought my husband along to be my personal assistant, which required him to hold my camera bag, bring me water, etc. If your significant other can't help, hire someone. I should note that any additional help (second shooter, assistant) not originally mentioned in the contract should be paid out of your pocket. Your couple isn't responsible for that.
2) Do not carry heavy gear. This one goes with number 1, have someone carry your bags for you, or, if need be, set your camera bag down as often as possible.
3) Bring plenty of snacks and water with you. Your body is working extra hard now, it needs more fuel. I made sure to bring several protein and granola bars and some nuts with me. I have a Brita water bottle that I can fill up anywhere and it automatically filters the water as I drink it. This saves me from having to bring a ton of water bottles with me - not to mention it saves the planet. I once heard that dehydration can be a cause of pre-term labor, so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
4) Wear comfortable shoes. This one is huge for any photographer, pregnant or not, but is especially important when you're pregnant. I found some (less than pretty) shoes with specialty comfort soles at TJ Maxx last year and ever since I started wearing these, my feet (and back) have hurt a lot less at the end of the day.
5) Rest. The day before and after the wedding you need to make sure your body isn't going through anything too strenuous. You're going through a MAJOR physical change, give your body time to prepare and heal itself.
I hope some of this helps you as you prepare to shoot your next wedding while pregnant. Be prepared for everyone's worried looks and questions of your due date (and the jokes about your water breaking during the ceremony), but most importantly, don't forget to ROCK IT!
Lastly, here are some pictures of me from said wedding, 39 weeks pregnant.