Tips for Traveling Pregnant
Being pregnant doesn't mean you have to stay at home for nine months; however, you may want to take a few precautions so you can travel comfortably and safely.
Consult Your Obstetrical Care Provider
When planning a trip, always check with your prenatal care provider first to make sure that it will be safe for you to travel and that you can participate in the activities you are planning. Keep in mind that the biggest problem with travel is if an unexpected complication develops while you are away from home and from your obstetrical care provider.
Stay Close to Home
Most airlines prohibit international travel after 32 weeks in pregnancy and domestic travel after 34 to 36 weeks. Sometimes they will make exceptions for emergencies. Whether by air, car or train, avoid traveling long distances in the last month before your due date. That way you are closer to home if you go into labor early. Some insurers will not cover services in the last weeks of pregnancy if you are more than a certain distance from home. In those cases, going into labor when you didn't expect it and delivering at an unexpected hospital would not only be a surprise but expensive too. You may want to check with your insurer before traveling.
When traveling by air, check with the airline about their policies on pregnancy and travel. Do not worry about passing through metal detectors at airports. They have very low levels of radiation that will not be harmful to you or your baby.
Try to schedule long trips after your fourth month of pregnancy and before your third trimester. By then, many symptoms of morning sickness are gone. Travel lightly and only pack what you can carry, or purchase a rolling luggage cart with a secure handle.
Don't sit for more than one hour at a time. Walk around and stretch your legs frequently to reduce leg cramps. If you are driving, take breaks every hour for a short walk. Moving your arms and legs improves blood flow in your body and prevents blood clots from forming.
Wear comfortable clothes and loose-fitting shoes. This also helps maintain blood flow while making your travel time more enjoyable.
Wear A Seat Belt
Always wear a seat belt. Fasten the belt snugly so that the lap belt is below your stomach and across the pelvis. The shoulder strap should cross your shoulder and rest between your breasts. The strap should not cut into your neck or slip off of your shoulders.
Eat Right and Drink Lots of Fluids
Pack healthful snacks such as fruits, carrots, celery sticks and granola bars since you may not know when you'll be hungry now that you're pregnant. Remember that it is very important to eat well-balanced meals, even while traveling. Be careful not to eat too many foods with salt since this can cause water retention.
Drink at least six to eight glasses of water each day. This will keep you from getting dehydrated and will also prevent you from retaining water. Carry a water bottle with you and drink, drink, drink.
Visit the Restroom Often
During your pregnancy, you'll need to use a bathroom more frequently. Use the bathroom before you feel the urge to go to be safe. If you are on a plane, bus or train and traveling a long distance, choose an aisle seat so that you can easily get to the bathroom.
Once you reach your destination, take a walk, stretch your legs or do anything to get yourself up and moving for around 30 minutes.
Carry Your Pregnancy ID Card
Your ID card has the name and telephone number of your obstetrical care provider should you need to call if you have questions. It also contains medical information in the event you seek medical care while away from home.
Last updated June 02, 2009