Who wants to miss the joys of travel and holidaying when it is possible? Heavy with pregnancy, some women might have second thoughts, especially when taking a long-haul flight. If truth be told, being pregnant makes travel a little harder, but travel can be done for the most part of it, if your condition is quite normal and healthy. You must listen to what your body says, and more importantly what your obstetrician tells you.
Words From an Expert
The co-founder of the app Pregnancy Companion, obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Jan Rydfors said, “… I do think women feel much more that being pregnant is a healthy state.” He added, “They tend to listen more to their bodies than to dogma, so there’s much more traveling.” In this relation, Dr. Rydfors shares some travel tips for women ripe with a bump. Check these in this post Tips for Traveling While Pregnant by Emily Brennan for The New York Times – Travel Section.
- Any precautions women should take before their trips?
… Get a copy of your prenatal chart and a letter from your O.B. clearing you for travel, with your due date. In case there are any medical problems, doctors would have an idea of how the pregnancy has been going… I’d also recommend getting a flu shot because on a plane you’re … more prone to get an infection…
2. Anything to pack?
… It’s not a bad idea before you go to ask your doctor for a prescription of … antidiarrheal medication… anti-nausea medication … which are very good and safe to use.
He also warned pregnant women about getting dehydrated because they tend to “sweat more, pee more and drink a little less because you’re (they’re) nauseous.” It will help to drink more fluids, as well as do more walking along aisle to improve circulation and to wear loose clothes and shoes.
RCOG shares Air travel and pregnancy (PDF), a revised information leaflet containing guidance for pregnant travelers on how to safely travel by air. It is “based on the RCOG Scientific Impact Paper Air Travel and Pregnancy,” which contains the following information:
- Whether flying while pregnant can harm you or your baby
- Whether you can wear a seatbelt
- The safest time to fly during pregnancy
- Risks of flying while pregnant, and how to reduce the risks
- Circumstances when you may be advised not to fly
- Making a decision about whether or not to fly
RCOG Highlight: The Best and Safest Time to Travel
The best time to consider travel is during the second trimester – 14 to 27 weeks – when morning sickness, higher risk of miscarriage and lack of energy are now behind you. According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ recent updates on air travel guidance during pregnancy – Air Travel and Pregnancy (Scientific Impact Paper No. 1) –
“… it would be prudent to avoid air travel from 37 weeks of gestation in an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy, and if there are significant risk factors for preterm labour (such as multiple pregnancies) women should not fly from 32 weeks of gestation. This is also consistent with International Air Travel Association recommendations.”
Since travelling by plane or cruise ship may pose complications 32 weeks and onwards, it may be best to stay home during this last term when premature delivery becomes a possibility. If travel around this time can’t be avoided, seek your doctor’s advice and check the carrier’s policies concerning pregnant passengers.
Other RCOG Guidelines
The RCOG paper explains that air travel can alter certain physiological processes, causing a pregnant woman some uneasiness or discomforts, such as motion sickness and aggravated morning sickness. Long hours of inactivity may also cause medical complications, such as increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Though the risk is small, it can be improved with a treatment of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) and with the use of graduated elastic compression stockings.
Obstetricians are likewise advised to consider other complicating factors for pregnant travelers, including “severe anaemia, recent haemorrhage, serious cardiac or respiratory disease and recent bone fractures.”
A Comprehensive Guide for Pregnant Travelers
To best prepare yourself for travel when your bump is getting heavier, check out this post from Compare Travel Insurance – The Complete Guide To Travelling When Pregnant. The post offers ideas and tips about the following:
- Put your feet up
- Packing for pregnancy
- Travel during first trimester
- Travel during your second trimester
- Travel during your third trimester
- Pregnant women and vaccinations
- Where to go on a babymoon
- Pregnancy and travel insurance
- Useful links and resources
For more tips for traveling pregnant women, check out Mayo Clinic – Healthy Lifestyle Section’s Pregnancy week by week: Is it safe to fly during pregnancy?
- Check the airline’s policy about air travel during pregnancy. Guidelines for pregnant women might vary by carrier and destination.
- Choose your seat carefully. For the most space and comfort, consider requesting an aisle seat.
- Buckle up. During the trip, fasten the lap belt under your abdomen.
- Promote circulation. If possible, take occasional walks up and down the aisle. If you must remain seated, flex and extend your ankles often.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Low humidity in the cabin can lead to dehydration.
- Decreased air pressure during flight can slightly reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood, but this doesn’t pose risks if you’re otherwise healthy.
Being more active career wise and socially, more and more women just can’t idle away nine months. Many would be tempted to live as normally as possible, and that includes travel, if it is part of their lifestyle. You can too! Just make sure your pregnancy is healthy, you are under medical supervision, and you’ll take those extra steps to stay well while thousands of feet up in the air or several miles out in the high seas.