So, the baby is on the way, and you want to fit in one last vacation before his arrival—there may be a possibility you won’t be going anywhere for a while! It’s exciting to plan that last hurrah before you enter the mommyhood, but unlike your pre-pregnancy days, you must make a few considerations to keep you and your baby safe when you travel.
Here are just a few tips to travel safely while expecting.
When it comes to traveling while pregnant, certain times are better than others. The first three months can be a bit unpredictable in terms of symptoms, with morning sickness (which can often occur throughout the day) being one of the most bothersome. Nothing can ruin a trip or make a plane ride seem absolutely unbearable than crippling nausea and vomiting.
The second trimester is usually the travel sweet spot—sickness usually subsides and you haven’t yet been struck by the discomfort and fatigue that usually occurs during the last few months of your pregnancy. The best time for most expecting mothers to travel is usually between 20 and 30 weeks—it is not advised that you wander far from home or your doctor after week 36.
Check your airline’s policy about pregnant travelers—some require a doctor’s note if you are due within 30 days of departure.
Choosing a Destination
There are several things to consider when choosing your destination. High altitude destinations can pose a risk to pregnant women, and it is recommended you avoid anything above 12,000 feet—8,200 if your pregnancy is considered high-risk. You should also consider the proximity of quality medical facilities.
Generally, domestic travel is recommended, as there are fewer risks that could directly impact your pregnancy.
But, if you do decide to go international, there are some important things to think about. First and foremost, is the quality of medical care, which can vary in different countries. Take note of any recommendations for vaccines—live ones may be dangerous, while inactivated ones are generally safe. It is important to discuss vaccination and risk with your doctor. He will take several factors into account when advising you, from the risk of contracting a particular disease to the amount of time you will be gone. It’s best to avoid areas where malaria is a high risk.
Be very careful about food and water—this is not the time to be experimenting with the grimy looking street stalls, no matter how delicious the food may seem. Avoid undercooked meat, fish and eggs. If you are not sure the water is pure, don’t drink it.
Read your travel health insurance carefully. If you have any questions about the coverage, ask for verification and get confirmation. Don’t make any assumptions about what is covered.
If you are flying, there are several things to keep in mind for a safe and comfortable journey. First, request a pat-down when going through security. There is a lack of research indicating whether they are safe for pregnant women, so why take chances?
Staying hydrated is a good idea for anyone flying, but it is particularly important for pregnant women. Bring along plenty of healthy treats to snack on, but avoid anything too salty. This will just increase swelling and water retention.
When booking a seat, consider the aisle seat. You’ll get some extra room to stretch your legs, and because you will be drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, it will be more convenient to sit here so you don’t need to awkwardly climb over other passengers.
Make sure to get up and walk frequently, even on a shorter flight, as pregnant women are at an increased risk of suffering blood clots. You may even consider buying a good pair of support socks to normalize circulation.
If you believe you will suffer from motion sickness, talk to your doctor. Medications used to alleviate nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are often effective for this purpose.
Take a Copy of Medical Records
No matter where you go, domestic or international, take along a copy of your medical records. Should something happen and you need to seek medical treatment, having immediate access to your prenatal records can make all the difference in your care.
Millions of people, pregnant and not, travel every day with no issues. Chances are, you’ll get through your trip with flying colors, but don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security. Take these simple, proper precautions and be safe.
© 2014, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.