Tips for traveling while pregnant
Are you thinking of taking a babymoon? Maybe one last romantic getaway with your partner? Here are some ideas to help you plan a safe and comfortable trip.
When to go
During the final stages of your pregnancy, it's better to stay closer to home. But if you do want to travel, try to go during your second trimester (14 weeks and 28 weeks). That's when you'll have more energy and won't have morning sickness anymore. Also, you're at a lower risk for a miscarriage during your second trimester.
How to get there
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that airplane travel is almost always safe during pregnancy. However, it can cause some problems—such as:
- Dehydration brought on by the dry air in the plane. Hydrate with water or juice, but avoid gassy carbonated beverages during the flight.
- You may not be able to go to the bathroom as often. This can be uncomfortable.
- Sitting in a cramped space for a long time could lead to a blood clot in your legs.
If you do travel by plane, check with the airline first. Ask if it has special policies for pregnant women. Most airlines don't allow pregnant women to fly after 36 weeks, but some have earlier cutoffs. Also, try to book an aisle seat in the front.
Considering a roadtrip? When traveling in a car:
- Try to travel in fair weather.
- Be sure the vehicle is in good condition.
- Always wear your safety belt. Here's how: Fasten the lap belt low across your hips below your belly. And place the shoulder belt diagonally between your breasts and to the side of your belly.
Traveling by ship may be more difficult. It may cause seasickness, and vessels may sometimes be a day or more away from ports with medical facilities. Plus, cutoffs for travel on cruise ships tend to be much earlier for pregnant women than they are for planes.
No matter how you travel, get up and move around every couple of hours. Do foot, ankle and calf exercises while you are sitting. The more you move around, the more your blood is flowing.
Where to go
Don't travel to places where either Zika or malaria is active. Both diseases pose a serious risk to your pregnancy. Check the CDC travel website for the most up-to-date information before you make travel plans.
It's best to be up-to-date on your immunizations before you get pregnant. If you need any to travel while pregnant, check with your provider first.
In general, vaccines such as hepatitis that use an inactivated virus are OK. Those like rubella that use a live virus are not.
What to bring
When packing, try to include:
- Medications for diarrhea, headache and vomiting. Clear these with your provider first.
- Enough of any prescription medication to last through your trip.
- A first aid kit.
Wear comfortable shoes and choose loose clothing. Also, try to stay hydrated and eat regular, healthy meals.
In addition to your medical records, be sure to carry a list with:
- Your blood type.
- All of your medications.
- Any allergies.
- Your doctor's name, address and phone number.
Also, find out where the nearest hospital is and learn what type of medical care is available in the area. If you're traveling internationally, the college suggests contacting the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers at 716.754.4883.
More pregnancy news
Zika is not only contracted through mosquito bites. Learn more about the virus and how to avoid it.
Additional sources: American Pregnancy Association; Office on Women's Health