Whether you are hopping in the car for a road trip or boarding a plane for a holiday overseas, there are several factors to consider when considering whether to Travel During Pregnancy. It may be necessary to take extra precautions and make a few changes to your usual travel plans so that you are comfortable and safe for your entire journey. If you are planning on travelling abroad, forward planning is a must, and you should also speak to your midwife or doctor first.
The decision to Travel during Pregnancy will depend on a variety of factors, and you should manage your expectations carefully. Want to visit the Norwegian Fjords on a Cruise? Sure! Want to climb Everest in a pair of Flip-Flops? Hmm, probably not…
Travel During Pregnancy – Flying
Many pregnant women have their doubts about flying when pregnant, but it is considered generally safe if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. If you do have any concerns around whether you should Travel during Pregnancy, it is worth talking to your doctor beforehand, just in case.
Some airlines will not let you fly if you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, for obvious reasons. A birth above the clouds is not recommended! Each airline has a different policy on this, so it is best consulting with the airline before you fly. Some airlines may need a letter from your midwife before you fly, confirming there is no complications and for proof of when your due date is. Most commercial airlines will accept pregnant women up to 36 weeks or 32 weeks for a multiple pregnancy.
Pregnancy induced nausea is common within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, which could make travelling uncomfortable. This is down to the individual, but definitely something to consider. If you are dead set on travelling, but worried about Morning (or Motion) sickness, then you may wish to consider purchasing a Morning Sickness Wristband. These are highly effective, and have been shown to reduce or even eliminate Sickness symptoms in 85% of Test Subjects. They are great value for money, particularly is travelling long haul!
As with all travellers, long distances in the air carries a risk of blood clots, so you should take the necessary precautions, especially if your flight is longer than 4 hours. This means keeping hydrated while on the flight by drinking a lot of water, and standing up and moving around every 30 minutes. It may also be worth purchasing Compression Stockings to aid circulation.
Although technically women with low risk pregnancies are able to fly at any trimester, the second trimester is usually considered the best. Morning sickness has hopefully been and gone, and the discomfort of the third trimester is yet to arrive!
Travel During Pregnancy – Cars
Sometimes long car journeys are necessary and hard to avoid for a whole 9 months. If possible, you should avoid long journeys in the car while pregnant, but if you really have to travel, make lots of stops along the way so you can get out of the car and move a little bit. Also try to avoid travel on your own.
If you are a passenger, rather than sitting stationary for the whole journey, flex and rotate your feet and wiggle your toes to keep your blood flowing. Compression socks can help with this as well.
When pregnant, it is common to get tired quickly, so stop and rest when you need it, especially if you are the driver. Pack with you lots of healthy snacks that will naturally give you an energy boost, like fruits and nuts, and ensure you keep your fluids up, even if that means having to stop more than you would like to.
Wearing a seatbelt can be uncomfortable, but it is also essential for the safety of you and your baby. To avoid as much discomfort as possible, try to wear it with the strap positioned between your breasts and the lap strap underneath your bump. You should also try to keep the air circulating around the car as much as possible.
Travel during Pregnancy – Boats
Boating nearing the end of your pregnancy can sometimes be considered risky. Even if you are not near your due date, some circumstances might cause you to go into labour early. For this reason, you should try to avoid putting yourself in a position where you can’t access care quickly if you need it, like being in the middle of the ocean!
The second trimester is often considered the best time to go Travel during Pregnancy. Boating while in the first trimester has been known to increase nausea, dizziness and headaches, so if morning sickness is already something you suffer with, stepping aboard a boat is a big no no.
Some ferry and boat companies may have their own restrictions when it comes to letting pregnant women on board, so it may be worth talking to the company in advance to find out if they have any restrictions. For example, lots of ferry companies will refuse boarding to women beyond 32 weeks pregnant, and sometimes even earlier.
Other things to consider
Food and drink abroad
It can be different to keep track of what to eat and drink and what not to eat and drink during pregnancy at the best of times, but the list gets even longer when abroad.
Always check the safety and quality of the tap water at your chosen destination. If you are not sure or even a little bit doubtful, stick to using bottled water just to be on the safe side. You should even use bottled water for brushing your teeth, and avoid having ice cubes in your drink.
Be aware of how food is prepared. Try to avoid raw fruit and salad if possible, as this is likely to have been washed in tap water, which could cause an upset tummy.
Just because you are on holiday, that doesn’t mean the usual pregnancy eating and drinking rules can go out the window. You should still follow your midwife’s advice on what is best avoided, and you should even take more precautions when abroad. In countries where language can be a barrier, make sure you know exactly what you are eating, as it is not worth taking any risks.
You skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so if you are someone that likes to soak up the sun when on holiday, it is time to start being more careful. If you destination is hot, take hat and a higher factor sun cream than you usually would, and if possible, cover up when you are in the sun.
It is not just your skin you need to consider. Pregnant women are more likely to overheat, so a very hot destination may be best avoided for your comfort. If you want to Travel During Pregnancy, a temperate climate may be the more sensible choice!
Unfortunately, many far flung destinations across the globe come with a few risks, such as diseases and viruses. Most non pregnant travellers get a vaccination to protect them against these diseases, however this is likely not possible if you are pregnant.
Places that carry a high risk of malaria and other mosquito borne diseases should definitely be avoided as they are very dangerous for pregnant women. Lots of anti-malaria tablets are not safe for pregnant women to take. Malaria in pregnancy is harmful to both you and baby, so it is not a risk you should take.
Other destinations that should be avoided are those where the Zika virus is present. If you are pregnant, this virus can be very harmful. It is commonly found in some parts of Africa, Asia, South and Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. A lot of diseases have more severe consequences for pregnant women, so if you want to Travel during Pregnancy, you may wish to consider a lower risk destination.
There are many other diseases and viruses around the world that non pregnant travellers would get vaccinated for, but some vaccinations that use live bacteria or viruses are not recommended during pregnancy. Always ask you GP or midwife for advice before travelling.
If you wish to Travel During Pregnancy, Ensure you have the correct travel insurance. It should cover both you and your baby. Be sure to read your cover properly, as it should also cover your new born baby if delivery should occur while travelling. If you have a current travel insurance in place, always inform your provider that you are pregnant. Failure to do so may result in the policy being invalid.
Travel During Pregnancy – Top Tips
- Always carry with you a copy of your maternity notes, which includes any pre-existing medical conditions and your blood group, just in case you need any medical care when you are away.
- Before travelling, find out about the availability of the medical care at your chosen destination, existing health risks, and any other travel warnings the country or location has in place. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is a good place to start your research.
- Carry your travel insurance documents with you at all times so you have instant access to them if needed. You should also carry your European Health Instance Card with you when travelling around Europe.
- Prep your own healthy snacks to take with you, especially if you have cravings. This could be fresh fruit and veggies (although check you are allowed to take these with you to your destination), and dried fruits and nuts. These will keep the hunger at bay, and give you a healthy boost of energy when you need it.
- See if you can prebook an aisle seat when flying, giving you easy access to the aisle to get up and move. You should also drink a lot of water while flying, and having a seat on the aisle makes getting up and down a lot easier than if you were squashed in the middle.
- If possible, choose to travel to a destination that is a bit closer to home. Any flight of 4 hours or longer is considered long haul, and this is best avoided if possible.
- Don’t pick a destination that is too remote. You will find it much easier to relax if you know there is civilisation nearby, so you can get the help you need should you need it.
- Avoid any area where vaccinations are required, and where there is a risk of catching mosquito-borne diseases. This could include malaria, dengue and zika.
- Allow plenty of time for you trip. Ideally more than you would usually need, so you can have lots of rest stops without worrying about getting to your destination on time.
- Take a travel pillow with you. They are likely to be more useful than you think. Whether it is to ease your back on an awkward car journey or rest your head on a long haul flight, they can be a lifesaver. We highly recommend This super comfortable Pillow.
- Invest in a good pair of travel socks or Compression Stockings to help keep your blood circulating when on a long journey where you are stationary for a long period of time.
Everybody is different, and while some forms of travel are comfortable for some women, they may not be others. You should always listen to your body.
It is always a good idea to let your doctor or midwife know you are travelling. They are the best person to go to for advice and guidance for travelling while pregnant, as they are who know you and your pregnancy best. Always follow their advice when it comes to travelling and don’t take any unnecessary risks. Just because you are expecting, it doesn’t mean you can’t see the world or have a last minute holiday, in fact, it may be the last chance you get before you have a little person in tow!
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