Travelling While Pregnant

Travelling while pregnant is a challenge, and it requires some guidelines. Your journey can be easier if you plan for your trip early and use some common sense. It is safe to travel while pregnant as long as you have no significant concerns or complications with your pregnancy. The best time to travel while pregnant is during your second trimester. At this stage, you have overcome the morning sickness in the first semester and have not reached the third semester when you are easily fatigued.

Travel by Air During Pregnancy

1. Is It Safe?

Commercial air travel is safe for women with healthy pregnancies. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before taking a flight. After your doctor allows you to travel by air, plan to travel in the middle of pregnancy, that is, 14-28 weeks. You feel your best and are at a low risk of premature labor and miscarriage at this stage.

2. Things to Follow

  • Ask the airline for its policy and guidelines on air travel while pregnant. Most carriers allow women to travel in their eighth month of pregnancy but demand permission from a health care provider in the ninth month.
  • Choose a good seat and preferably an aisle seat for more comfort and space.
  • Fasten your safety belt and keep the lap belt under your abdomen.
  • Walk up and down the aisle where is possible to promote circulation. Keep flexing and extending your ankles during the trip if you have to remain seated.
  • Take enough fluids to stay hydrated.

3. When Not to Travel

Avoid travelling while pregnant in the following situations:

  • You are 36 or more weeks pregnant.
  • You are suffering from a placenta-related complication or at risk of preterm labor.
  • Your doctor restricts air travel because of your past or current medical condition.

The cosmic radiation limit for safe air travel during pregnancy is 1 millisievert. You can easily exceed this limit if you are an air marshal, pilot, courier, or flight attendant. Occasional flights are considered safe. However, many low-altitude domestic and several high-altitude international flights increase your child’s risk of cancer during childhood.

Travel by Sea During Pregnancy

1. Is It Safe?

Going on a cruise with a healthy and normal pregnancy is a safe, romantic, and relaxing vacation. Your greatest challenge will be avoiding exhaustion from the recreational activities. However, you should consult your health care provider before you buy the ticket. Your doctor may restrict sea travel if you have a medical condition that complicates your pregnancy. In addition, you may be advised against sea travel if you are pregnant with twins or higher multiples or had a preterm delivery before.

2. Things to Keep in Mind

  • Be careful when choosing a cruise. Ask about the safety of food and water and the standard of healthcare services in countries where the ship docks. Check the cruise line’s restrictions on women travelling while pregnant and availability of medical professionals on board.
  • Be more careful when boarding small ships. Small ships carry less than 100 passengers and in most cases they don’t have medical professionals. Bring a sufficient supply of your medications for the whole trip and your doctor’s written prescription.
  • Avoid sickness. Ask your doctor to prescribe medications to treat seasickness. Seasickness bands calm stomach upsets using acupressure.

Travel by Car During Pregnancy

Here are the guidelines to follow when travelling by car:

  • Wear a seat belt. The lower belt should run across your upper thighs or lower lap. Your shoulder belt should pass through your breasts and over the shoulder but not across your abdomen. Your belt should not have excess slack.
  • You should use the air bag properly even when pregnant. The distance between your chest and your car’s air bag should be at least 10 inches or 25cm.
  • If you are taking a long trip, take short walks and bathroom breaks every 2 hours to reduce pressure on your bladder and promote circulation.

Tips for You When Travelling During Pregnancy

1. Check Your Schedule for Prenatal Tests

Your trip should not affect your schedule of prenatal tests. These include down syndrome (9-13 weeks), CVS (10-12 weeks), Nuchal translucency (11-14 weeks), mniocentesis (16-10 weeks), multiple marker screening (15-18 weeks), ultrasound (16-20 weeks), GCT( 24-28 weeks), RH immunoglobin shot (28 weeks), and group B strep screening (35-37 weeks). Allow for some time between tests to obtain the results before taking a long trip.

2. Carry Your Medical Records and Health Information

Carry a list of names and numbers to call in case of an emergency. Carry your prenatal chart that shows all your lab and ultrasound test records, healthcare provider, blood type, information on previous pregnancies, and medical history. The chart also shows your expected due date, risks factors for diseases, surgical history, age and signs recorded during your pregnancy. Check the hospitals that offer prenatal care in your destinations or ask your doctor for referrals.

3. Get a Travel Insurance Cover

Travel insurance covers all expenses incurred in case you miss your tip or incur emergency expenses on your trip. Buy a policy that covers pregnancy-related complications and emergency transport to a health facility in your destination.

Signs You Shouldn’t Travel

  • Bleeding can be a sign of placenta previa, preterm labor or miscarriage. Excessive bleeding is risky for you and your child.
  • Persistent cramps may be a sign of preterm labor or miscarriage. Severe pain and bleeding can be a sign of placenta abruption.
  • Extreme swelling may be a sign of preeclampsia and poses a high risk to you and your child.
  • Headaches after taking Typenol and rest may indicate a sudden increase in blood pressure, which is a sign of preeclampsia.
  • Changes in visionsmay be a sign of optic nerve swelling, which is a signal for preeclampsia.
  • Changes in fetal movements could indicate that the baby is in distress. Seek medical attention immediately.

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