When it comes to traveling while pregnant, consulting your obstetrician and planning ahead are the best ways to ensure that you and your baby will have a safe and healthy trip.
If you are planning to take a trip while you are pregnant, timing is everything. It is considered safe to travel throughout most of a healthy pregnancy, but women who are experiencing complications might be advised to stay close to home.
During the first trimester, your risks of experiencing nausea, fatigue, and miscarriage are much higher than in later trimesters. Your doctor may restrict travel if you are at an increased risk for complications such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, or stillbirth.
Many doctors recommend traveling during your second trimester when the risk of complication is lowest. Be sure to discuss your mode of transportation and the length of your trip with your obstetrician as it may affect their advice.
Is a Road Trip Safe During Pregnancy?
Driving is often the most comfortable method of transportation during pregnancy – travel plans can be more flexible, and you can take breaks as often as needed. If you are planning to drive a long distance, it is recommended to stop every 1 to 2 hours to take a break and stretch.
Being immobile for extended periods of time can cause blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. Both of these present heightened risk for pregnant women. You can lower your risks of developing blood clots and DVT by moving around and stretching every 1-2 hours.
Be sure to take your vitamins and any medication as usual, and to drink plenty of water. Even if you are uncomfortable during the last few months of pregnancy, it is important always to wear a seat belt and make sure your airbags are on.
Is Air Travel Safe During Pregnancy?
Air travel is usually considered safe throughout the duration of your first and second trimesters. Traveling by plane during the third trimester of pregnancy is discouraged because the risk of complications increases during this time. Changing air pressure can affect your baby’s developing ears, and recycled air increases your risk of catching a virus from another passenger.
If you are in the later stages of your pregnancy, be sure to check the airline’s policies in advance to make sure you will be allowed to travel. Be prepared to bring documentation as proof of your due date. If you can, choose to sit in an aisle seat so you have better access to the bathroom and can move around easily. Also, to avoid dehydration, drink plenty of fluids during flights and layovers.
Before traveling abroad, consult your doctor to make sure you have all necessary immunizations. Check to ensure the country you are visiting has a high standard for their medical facilities, in case of emergency.
Additionally, your trip abroad can be made safer and more comfortable by taking these simple precautions:
- Avoid raw fruits and vegetables
- Avoid consuming undercooked meat or fish
- Drink bottled water and canned beverages
- Only drink pasteurized milk
Wherever you travel, be sure that you know where the most qualified obstetrician and emergency room are, and carry a translated copy of your information, prescriptions, and medical history, just in case.
Can I Take a Cruise While Pregnant?
Before traveling on a boat or ship, make sure that there will be a medical provider on board in case any complications arise. Women in their first or third trimesters are not encouraged to travel by sea, because of increased nausea, vomiting, and miscarriage in the first trimester, or preterm labor in the third trimester. Additionally, most tropical destinations are not known for their superior medical care, so travel wisely.
Regardless of your means of travel, pack all of the items you will need to make your trip as comfortable as possible. These items can include, but are not limited to
- A neck pillow
- Healthy snacks
- Plenty of fluids
- Comfortable shoes
If you usually take medication for motion sickness or anxiety before boarding a plane or cruise ship, discuss the safety of these medications with your doctor far prior to your trip. If your medication is not considered safe, you will have more time to find an alternative.
Consulting your obstetrician is the best way to decide if traveling while pregnant will be safe for you and your baby. Even if you have not experienced any complications during your pregnancy, discussing your travel plans with your obstetrician is still recommended to ensure your safety.
If you have additional questions about how to travel while pregnant, contact The Woman’s Clinic at 501-664-4131 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced obstetricians.