When I first got pregnant, I had plans to travel to a city 12 hours away from where I live. But as soon as the morning sickness hit (you can find some great foods and remedies for it in my earlier posts) it was clear to me that wasn’t going to happen. Traveling while pregnant by a car or bus doesn’t seem so scary to me now, during the second trimester, but back then it was a whole different story.
So, what are some of the traveling while pregnant tips, rules, dos, and don’ts? I’ll try to mention the most important ones here.
Tips for Traveling While Pregnant
Let’s start with…
If Your Pregnancy is High-Risk, Avoid Traveling.
It can suck having to lie down and rest for months while other moms-to-be are traveling the world. But if your pregnancy is considered high-risk, it’s the safest option. Some of the symptoms that make a pregnancy high-risk are vaginal bleeding, gestational diabetes, previous miscarriages, pre-eclampsia… If you’re not sure whether your pregnancy is high-risk or not, one of the main rules for traveling while pregnant is – ask your doctor what they think.
My pregnancy has had no complications so far and I was clear for traveling since day one. Regardless, I canceled my bus trip and postponed my flight until I was out of the first trimester. It’s not something you have to do; personally, I felt that traveling while newly pregnant wasn’t the greatest decision, especially with constant fatigue and nausea. It would have been tiring and uncomfortable. Plus, knowing the first trimester is the riskiest, for me it made more sense to rest and wait a bit longer.
Get a Travel Insurance.
This is especially important if you’ve been experiencing some problems with your pregnancy, but even women with no complications should do it, just to be on the safe side. The ease of getting pregnancy-related medical care abroad is crucial when planning a trip. In order to travel safely, be sure to also pack your maternity medical records so you can easily show them to a doctor abroad in case of any emergencies.
Choose Developed Rather Than Third World Countries.
When it comes to traveling abroad while pregnant, this is a very important rule due to several reasons. For one, third world countries tend to lack proper hygiene and medicines, which can mean spreading germs, bacteria, and viruses more is easer, while treating them is harder. That’s dangerous when it comes to any traveling while pregnant, but especially during early pregnancy. Not only that, but if you choose certain countries, you’ll likely be required to get a vaccination against dangerous diseases such as malaria. Live-virus vaccines can have a negative effect on your baby, so it’s best to avoid them entirely.
Traveling Long Distance While Pregnant Isn’t Advised.
By a “long-distance travel”, I mean anything longer than four hours, be it by a car, bus, train, or plane. Such long trips carry a higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, a state in which blood clots form and circulate throughout the body. And while the risk is especially high for those who weigh over 100kg, have multiple pregnancies, who’ve had this state before, or have had a family member suffering from it, no one should take it lightly. However, if you do choose to travel for more than four hours, there are certain things you can do to lower your chances of getting DVT, such as:
- Walking and stretching your legs often (stopping on a car journey, or walking through the train/plane aisle)
- Keeping your legs active and exercising them while in the seat
- Wearing below-the-knee compression stockings, making sure they’re elastic
- Drinking a lot of water and limiting caffeine intake to prevent dehydration
- Receiving heparin injections
Traveling to Altitude While Pregnant Can Be Dangerous.
At high altitudes, there isn’t as much oxygen available. This means your body will be struggling, and your baby won’t be getting enough of it, putting them in danger by potentially affecting their growth and development. One of the most important traveling while pregnant tips is to avoid staying long at altitudes of 8,500 feet or more above sea level. A day or two should be okay, but avoid doing it for more than a few days. That means flying by plane isn’t very dangerous, but do avoid going to high mountains for a winter vacation.
Forget About Traveling While 9 Months Pregnant.
Forget about plans to travel by air, that is. No airline wants to deal with a pregnant lady going into labor mid-flight, which is why some forbid women who are as little as 33 weeks pregnant to fly – just to be safe. Some, however, allow it up to 36 weeks, so if you’re planning on traveling while pregnant in third trimester, be sure to check the rules of the airline you want to travel with.
Some General Tips for Traveling While Pregnant
Whether you’re traveling while pregnant by a car or plane, wear your seatbelt below your bump. If riding in a car, move your car seat back so you have more space. If you’re still in your first trimester, ask the driver to stop often so you don’t trigger your nausea.
The last of my traveling while pregnant tips for you is: if you get to choose, travel during the second trimester. It isn’t called the “honeymoon of pregnancy” for nothing! Trust me, I just got back from my 5-day trip and it was a blast. You’re not (as) nauseated and tired so you can walk around, and your belly isn’t big enough to cause trouble, either. Your baby isn’t as susceptible to viruses, but it isn’t big enough to be as susceptible to physical trauma as they will be during the third trimester. So, check with your doctor, and if they okay it, follow these rules and enjoy!