How to Survive Traveling When Pregnant

Julie Ryan Evans

pregnant on beachSummer is upon us, and vacations and family excursions abound with endless possibilities for adventure and relaxation. Being pregnant during some of these experiences can make them all the more memorable, but can also take a little bit of extra planning.

Knowing what's safe and how to make the most of travel when you're carrying more than your luggage is important for the health of you and your baby as well as to ensure your maximum enjoyment. After all, there are few times in life when you deserve a little R&R any more than when you're pregnant.

Whether you're traveling by land, air, or sea, the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy offers some tips for safe travel for expectant mothers. Here they share some for your summer fun purposes.

General Travel Tips

  • Generally speaking, the best time to travel is during the second trimester, when you're likely to have less morning sickness and your body is adjusted to carrying a baby. 
  • Always talk to your care provider before setting out on an extended trip, as your mode of travel and destination may have implications for your pregnancy. 
  • When choosing your mode of travel, consider how long it will take you to get to your destination. Typically, the fastest way is best; however, other factors often need to be considered.
  • For your comfort and overall well-being, pack healthy snack foods and wear loose-fitting clothing.Mayo Clinic Book

Airplane travel

  • Air travel during pregnancy is generally considered safe for women who have healthy pregnancies. Still, it's best to check with your care provider before you book that trip.
  • Air travel during pregnancy may increase the risk of complications associated with certain conditions, such as sickle cell disease and clotting disorders. In addition, your care provider may restrict travel of any type after 36 weeks of pregnancy or if you're at risk of preterm delivery.
  • For the most space and comfort, request an aisle seat.
  • If possible, take occasional walks up and down the aisle. If you must remain seated, flex and extend your ankles often. Your care provider may recommend you wear support hose during the flight.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, since the low humidity in the cabin can lead to dehydration.

Sea travel

  • Ships and cruise liners are just as safe for pregnant women as are other forms of travel, and many vessels have medical facilities on board. 
  • Make sure that your ship has a doctor or a nurse on board at all times. 
  • Check to see if the locations you visit are cities with modern medical facilities, in case you should need emergency care. Most cruise liners accept women through the first 26 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Keep in mind that the movement of the ship may increase problems with nausea and vomiting. In addition, be careful walking on deck where floors may be slippery.
  • If you're worried about getting seasick, pack seasickness bands. Worn on your wrist, these bands use acupressure to help prevent an upset stomach. The bands may be an alternative to medication for some women.

Car travel

  • When traveling by car, the main thing to remember -- pregnant or not -- is to always wear your seat belt. Trauma to the mother-to-be is the leading cause of fetal death, and vehicular accidents are to blame for most severe trauma to pregnant women.
  • Wear the lap belt below your abdomen and over your upper thighs, and wear the diagonal shoulder strap between your breasts.
  • If you are traveling by car for a long distance, stop regularly to stretch. If possible, avoid staying in a seated position for more than two hours at a time, and limit total car time to six hours a day.
  • Walking around for a few minutes every couple of hours will keep blood from pooling in your legs. This reduces the risk of blood clotting. Chances are, you also may need to take frequent bathroom breaks.  
  • And last, be sure to drink plenty of water to keep well hydrated. This is true with any type of travel!

Will you be traveling while pregnant this summer? If you have in the past, what have your experiences been like? 

Image via 3Neus/Flickr

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