Traveling During Pregnancy
The kids are out of school, and you want to go on a family vacation, but there is one tiny thing that can slow you down. You’re pregnant! Being pregnant shouldn’t hold you back when it comes to traveling. But you do want to make sure that you have the green light to travel before planning anything.
“For most women, traveling during pregnancy is safe until 36 weeks, but be prepared to change your plans should the health of you and your baby require it,” says Lisa Wilson, a physician with Novant Health Providence OB/GYN. “If you’re going to travel during pregnancy, here are a few tips to keep in mind to stay safe and comfortable.”
Best Time to Travel During Pregnancy
With the most common pregnancy problems occurring in the first and third trimesters, it is recommended traveling during your second trimester, weeks 14 – 28. That’s typically when you’ll feel your best, gaining your energy back and morning sickness has likely subsided. Traveling mid-pregnancy is also ideal since you won’t be carrying that third trimester-sized baby bump! In the end, always see how you are feeling and let that take the lead when deciding to travel.
How to Prepare for Travel During Pregnancy
Before you travel, make sure your pregnancy is progressing without complications. Schedule a checkup with your OBGYN right before you leave and have them make sure your pregnancy is progressing without complications.
Two more important items you will need to do to prepare are to double check you are up to date with your vaccinations and to have all your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications with you.
Consult a travel-medicine specialist – if you’re planning to travel to a region that has an uncommon disease, see a doctor who has travel-medicine expertise about food and water safety precautions, endemic diseases and vaccinations.
Call your airline – Check your carrier’s policy before buying a ticket. You may need a note from your OBGYN stating your due date and verifying you’re fit to travel.
Check your health insurance – make sure your policy covers emergency care when traveling abroad.
Get your fluids- dehydration can lead to possible preterm labor. Wherever you are, don’t be shy to ask for plenty of water.
Traveling During Pregnancy
There are certain precautions you can take to keep you and your baby safe and comfortable no matter what mode of transportation you decide. Car, plane, or ship, be sure to know what can be done to be safe and comfortable.
When traveling by car, be sure to make each day’s drive as short as possible. Make frequent stops so you can move around, take short walks and stretch your legs. Take a few snacks to keep your energy up and so you don’t have a case of the “hungries.”
If you’re flying, book an aisle seat so you can easily get up and stretch your legs. Something you might not know…gas expands in the low air pressure in airplanes and can cause discomfort, so skip the gas-producing foods and carbonated drinks before your flight.
Keep in mind that some domestic airlines restrict travel or require a doctor’s note during the last month of pregnancy. International flights’ cutoff is earlier. Check your airline’s policies when booking.
Planning for when you’re traveling by ship is very important, as you are not on land and have limited resources. Always make sure a doctor or nurse is on board the ship. Before you leave, ask your OBGYN which medications are safe for you to take if you get seasick. Wash your hands frequently, and if you have diarrhea or vomiting at the same time, seek medical care.
When to Seek Medical Care
No matter how prepared or healthy you are, you can run into complications while traveling. If you experience any of the following complications, you’ll need to go to the nearest hospital.
Bleeding – This could indicate a miscarriage, preterm labor, or blockage of the cervix the placenta.
Abdominal pain – Pain that does not go away can be a sign of miscarriage or preterm labor.
Fetal movement changes – any significant change in movement could be a sign that the baby is in distress.
Water breaks - Seek medical attention ASAP!
Constant vomiting – If you’re struggling to keep anything down, you can get dehydrated.
Vacations are fun and exciting, and they still can be when you’re pregnant. You just need to be careful and prepared. Keep these tips in mind when deciding where and when to go and how you are going to get there. If you don’t feel right at any given time, seek medical assistance right away.
We can help you from pregnancy confirmation to post-delivery care and travel questions or checkups. Please call our Providence office at 704-372-4000, our Steelecroft office at 704-384-7900 or our SouthPark office at 704-372-4000. We look forward to serving you and your baby during your pregnancy.