Travel During Pregnancy
Everybody deserves a vacation from time to time, and pregnant mamas are no exception. Despite what many may believe, taking a vacation while you are pregnant is not only safe, but even ideal, considering this may be the last chance you and your partner have to get away before you become parents to a newborn and devoting all your time to the care of your little one.
That said, there are a few things you might want to know before booking your big adventure. Below, we have put together a collection of these tips in order to help make your travel as safe and easy as possible.
Consult Your Caregiver
Although it is generally safe to take an out-of-town adventure when you are pregnant, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For this reason, it is important to always consult your doctor or midwife before planning a big vacation. Your caregiver will be able to let you know if there are any factors of your pregnancy that may prevent you from traveling safely before the birth of your child.
Choose the Ideal Time Frame
After talking to your caregiver, the next step is to decide on a time frame for your vacation. When traveling during pregnancy, it is best to plan to be out of town sometime between 18 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. During this time, the risk of miscarriage is significantly decreased (when compared to the first trimester), and pre-term labor is much less likely than it may have been later on in the pregnancy. Additionally, morning sickness will likely be over, and baby will not yet be big enough to cause the discomfort many experience in the third trimester.
Another thing to consider when choosing dates for your trip is the fact that many airlines will not allow women who are over 35 weeks pregnant to board their planes. This is yet another reason to schedule your trip for a bit earlier in your pregnancy.
If you plan on taking a cruise in order to get away from your day-to-day life, your time frame is cut down further still, as most cruise lines do not let women who are later in their pregnancies sail on their ships. A common cutoff point is 24 weeks, so keep this in mind when booking travel by sea.
For the most part, the same safety precautions you might have taken before you got pregnant are also what apply when traveling by car or plane when you are expecting a child. However, there a few adjustments you may want to make:
- Wear your lap belt low (over your upper thighs) in order to avoid the belt pushing into baby should an accident occur. Additionally, it is important to make sure your shoulder belt crosses your chest rather than your belly.
- Avoid flying very often. Flying exposes airplane passengers to cosmic radiation. While this is not harmful in small amounts, those who fly very often are more likely to develop cancer. This is also true for the babies of women who fly on a regular basis when pregnant.
- If cruising, be sure to choose a ship with excellent medical staff. An itinerary which includes ports of call with safe drinking water and quality health care are also must-haves.
- Drink plenty of water and add electrolytes. This is always important during pregnancy, but becomes even more so during travel because dry airplane cabin air, bright sunny weather, increased walking, and motion sickness can all cause dehydration.
- When choosing your destination, consider the entertainment options, and make sure they are activities that are safe to take part in during pregnancy. There are some sources of entertainment that are unsafe for expecting mothers to experience. These include many amusement park rides, hot tubs and saunas, and sports that could be hazardous to the mother and baby.
- No matter where you are traveling or how you are getting there, be sure to bring enough of any prescription medication to last the duration of your trip. If possible, also bring along a written copy of your prescription in case it needs to be refilled for any reason.
Vacation just isn’t fun if you can’t get comfortable. Unfortunately, pregnancy makes getting comfortable more difficult than it normally would be. That said, there are a few things you can do to make traveling a bit more comfortable:
- Sitting on an airplane or in a bus or car for extended periods of time can cause extreme discomfort for pregnant women. Leg cramps are common in this situation, as is increased swelling. In order to make your ride more comfortable, take frequent breaks from sitting. In a car, this will mean making pit stops every hour or two and getting out to walk around. On a bus or plane, be sure to request an aisle seat so short walks up and down the aisle can be taken at regular intervals.
- Another reason to be sure to make regular pit stops when driving (or take regular walks on mass transit) is to take frequent bathroom breaks. A full bladder is never comfortable, and when you are pregnant, you will likely find yourself needing to empty your bladder more often than you once did.
- If your feet are left dangling when you sit down for a long stretch of travel, you can find some relief from the uncomfortable effects of sitting in this position by using your carry-on luggage to prop your feet up a bit higher. This is especially nice if you experience swelling.
- Morning sickness is bad enough. Combine that with motion sickness, and you will definitely be left feeling miserable. Be sure to bring along supplies to combat an upset stomach, such as ginger lozenges, seabands and peppermint sticks.
By following the tips above, we are certain you can have a perfectly safe and comfortable vacation before your new addition arrives. Be sure to relax plenty, and have a great time!