There are many reasons you may want or need to travel while pregnant. A babymoon, business trip, or family visit may be part of your plans in the upcoming months of pregnancy. These 4 tips for traveling when you’re pregnant will help you have the best and safest trip possible!
1. Know the safest time within your pregnancy to travel.
Determining when to travel is the first step toward a successful trip. Since the first trimester has a greatest risk of miscarriage and a good chance of dealing with morning sickness, most expecting mothers determine it is best not to travel this early into the pregnancy.
The third trimester can be an uncomfortable time to travel as well. Plane travel during this time is usually discouraged by medical professionals. You should likely stay grounded completely after 36 weeks, since your little one could show up anytime after that milestone. The fatigue associated with any traveling in the last trimester could also put you ask risk for preterm labor.
This leaves the second trimester as the ideal time to take any sort of trip. That sweet spot between 20 to 30 weeks is when you are at the lowest risk of any complications that could arise while traveling.
2. Choose a safe destination and mode of transportation.
An ideal scenario for a pregnancy trip would be a domestic destination that’s within driving distance. Air travel is possible, too, especially during the second trimester of a healthy pregnancy. Sometimes, boarding a plane is unavoidable for business trips or family emergencies, so consult with your doctor any time you know you’ll be needing to fly somewhere while pregnant.
Traveling by boat is not off limits either, but keep in mind this could increase the morning sickness you may be experiencing, as well as potentially add motion sickness on top of that.
Some expecting mothers choose to opt for a cruise as a relaxing babymoon before the responsibilities of mothering kick in full swing. However, be sure you check with the cruise line prior to boarding to ensure there is medical care on the ship if something were to happen. If you plan to port in a certain area, then you may want to look into what type of medical care is available nearby, as well.
Another risk of traveling abroad is entering areas that may have contaminated food or water. You can lower these risks by learning about necessary precautions if you are in an area where this should be considered. Avoid the local fruits and vegetables, drink only pasteurized milk, and stick with strictly bottled water or canned beverages.
If the water is known to cause traveler’s diarrhea, then you should even brush your teeth with bottled water, especially since you are more susceptible to tainted water when pregnant. Pack an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication, like Imodium, just in case, or ask your OB-GYN ahead of time if they can prescribe a pregnancy-safe medication.
Some destinations also require vaccinations, so be sure to check with your doctor in plenty of time to see what may be needed. Certain vaccinations are actually not permissible to receive while pregnant.
Cities with altitudes above 12,000 feet may pose a safety risk for mother and baby, so if the mountains are on your radar, be sure to look up the altitude before booking.
Traveling with a copy of your prenatal chart is recommended, and getting a flu shot is a great idea if you plan to fly. You will be in close proximity to a lot of people and touching a lot of surfaces, so you are likely to encounter some germs and an increased risk of infection.
3. Plan ahead for stops.
Whether you are in a car or on a plane, you will want to plan to keep moving as much as possible. There is a greater risk of blood clots when you are seated for extended periods of time during pregnancy.
Be sure to get up, walk to the restroom, and stretch frequently when possible in flight. You may want to opt for an aisle seat to make this more convenient.
Since frequent bathroom trips are also associated with pregnancy, one of the best pregnancy tips for air travel is to choose a seat that will allow you to easily walk to a bathroom.
If a road trip is in your travel plans, be sure to map out the travel with regular stops as well. Dress comfortably, and place the seatbelt below your belly. Experts recommend stopping every one to two hours to stretch. Your bladder will thank you for these stops as well.
You can also adjust positions throughout your road trip to promote healthy circulation. Staying hydrated is important during pregnancy, so pack plenty of water. Having healthy snacks readily available will be helpful, too, since options may be limited on the road.
Additionally, rural areas may have fewer possibilities for rest stops or medical attention, if an emergency were to take place. Stick to major highways wherever you can.
4. Get advice from your doctor.
You will always want to consult your doctor before planning a long trip. They can help you work through the details. Plus, they’ll give guidance on the best time to travel for your particular pregnancy. For example, if you are still experiencing morning sickness into the second trimester, a cruise could be a very unpleasant experience.
Certain factors may put you at a greater risk of traveling concerns as well, such as high blood pressure or other complications. Be sure to mention the dates, destination, and modes of transportation, since their advice will be affected by these details.
For more information
Contact The Woman’s Clinic for more information about travel tips while pregnant or to discuss your travel plans with a doctor. Feel free to reach out to us by phone at (501) 664-4131 as you prepare for your travels during pregnancy.