A Complete Guide to Travelling While Pregnant
Once upon a time, pregnant women were expected to stay in bed and keep all activities to a minimum. Fortunately, these antiquated ideas have changed, and pregnant women are now encouraged to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
This doesn’t mean that you need to take up extreme sports in your second trimester, but you shouldn’t feel limited by your pregnancy either. With the advice of a good OB/GYN and some simple preparations you can go almost anywhere within reason.
How Different Trimesters Affect Travel
The First Trimester – First day of your pregnancy through to the end of week 12. Travel during the first trimester is relatively safe with normal healthy pregnancies, but some women report it to be uncomfortable. This is the time when most women develop morning sickness.
The Second Trimester – First day of week 13 and lasts until week 27. For many women, this is the time when their bodies start to calm down, and they really feel their best. The nausea and fatigue associated with the first trimester will start to abate, making travel more comfortable.
The Third Trimester – the home stretch between week 28 and birth. Birth doesn’t always go according to schedule and traveling too close to your due date can be uncomfortable.It’s also important to consider the possibility of your baby being born in another state or a foreign country. This can create a massive headache when it comes time to pick up the birth certificate.
Always consult with your OB/GYN before committing to any travel plans. The doctor should be the final authority on whether or not it’s safe for you to go.
Travel by Car
The most common way for most people to travel is by car. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t exactly healthy or comfortable for anyone, let alone for a woman who’s carrying a baby.
During the first trimester, travelling by car can be unpleasant, because of the sudden onset of nausea that may be exacerbated by the motion of the vehicle. If the trip will exceed four hours, it might be a good idea just to spring for the airfare. When this isn’t possible, it’s important to stop often to reduce the possibility of blood clots.
When taking a road trip during your first trimester, listen to your body and break often. Take along bland snacks and plenty of water. Hydration can help to fight the nausea and is extremely important throughout the duration of the pregnancy.
Air travel during pregnancy can be safe, but it relies on a number of different factors. If your OB/GYN deems your pregnancy high risk, then it may be a good idea to stay close to home.
Most medical professionals recommend air travel during the second trimesterbecause the nausea associated with the first trimester should be gone, and you won’t be large enough to experience back pain from being seated for too long.
It’s important to remember that taking a long flight essentially isolates you from medical personnel. An airplane isn’t equipped for a woman who goes into preterm labor or experiences pregnancy complications.
Many airlines will actually restrict pregnant women from traveling in their third trimester. To minimize liability, airlines might also ask for a signed medical certificate giving the woman permission to travel by her OB/GYN.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have medical backup plans for the area where you’ll be staying. It can be beneficial to consult with your OB/GYN when doing this, and to see if they have any recommendations for healthcare in the area. This way, everyone can stay connected in case of an emergency.
Taking a cruise while pregnant poses a number of unique risks. If you have a cruise scheduled within the first trimester, you should be able to still enjoy your vacation.
Most cruise lines actually prohibit pregnant women from traveling with them if they’re more than 24 weeks along because you’ll be living on the ship throughout the duration of the cruise and won’t have access to emergency medical facilities immediately.
Ships usually have a nurse or physician on staff to deal with potential emergency situations, but they won’t have the equipment necessary to deliver a baby. Not only is this a liability for the cruise line, it’s also a serious risk to the health of your baby.
Cruises can also expose you to a number of different bacteria and diseases that you wouldn’t normally come in contact with. Some of these can have a dangerous impact on pregnancy.
While most people want a direct flight, it may be a good idea to take several connecting flights while pregnant. This will give you the opportunity to stretch your legs and make sure that you’re not experiencing any complications.
Your OB/GYN will talk to you about the potential for contracting foreign diseases and what types of precautions you need to take. It’s not necessarily a good idea to go on any trip that will isolate you from modern medicine or put you in the path of people that haven’t been vaccinated.You can learn more about the way that travel can impact pregnancy at PregnancyHealth.net.
If you’re visiting a country that may have a language barrier, it can help to type up a document containing your basic medical information in the foreign language. Keep this document on your person at all times, and hand it to the hospital personnel if something should happen.
What Should You Do if Something Goes Wrong Abroad?
This is where your backup plan should come into play. If you’ve done your homework, then you understand the types of nearby medical facilities, and you’ll know where you’re going in case of an emergency.
Make sure to have the name and phone number of your doctor readily available so the hospital staff can contact them immediately. If you’re unconscious or unable to advocate for yourself, make sure that you’re traveling with someone that knows your medical history.
As an added measure of safety, keep that medical document and your doctor’s information in your purse and wallet. Hospital staff will sometimes check for these things when trying to find the identity of their patient.
With careful planning and a few additional precautions, travel during pregnancy can be a great opportunity to experience the world before your due date.