From business trips to vacations and babymoons, today’s expectant mothers are more on the go than ever before. Air travel, cruises, train, and car trips, even international travel, can be safe for most pregnant women, as long as there are no specific medical complications or concerns.
If you’re traveling while pregnant, be sure to check with your healthcare provider first. Then, fasten your seat belt, and follow these tips to help make your trip more comfortable, easier on you – and safer for your developing baby:
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the best time to travel during pregnancy is between weeks 14 and 28.1 You’ll be past the morning sickness of the first trimester, and more comfortable and less fatigued than you will be during the third trimester.2
Get a copy of your prenatal chart that includes your due date, your doctor’s phone number, and a letter from your obstetrician that clears you for travel. If you have an emergency while traveling, your records will be a good resource for the local physicians. Your hotel (and the American Embassy if you’re traveling internationally) should have a list of recommended local doctors.3 Remember that many smaller cruise lines do not have medical staff on board.
The recommended travel cutoff for most pregnant women with no complications is between 32 and 34 weeks.3 Your healthcare provider will help you assess any specific restrictions on your travel based on your personal health, medical, and pregnancy history (particularly if you are carrying multiples). Keep in mind, however, that airlines and cruise lines have their own cutoffs, and these vary from carrier to carrier. Double check before you book your travel.
Remember, the seating and, unfortunately, the bathrooms on planes, trains, and even cruise boats can be tight. Aisle seats tend to be roomier, and wearing loose-fitting (cotton) clothes and shoes will keep you comfortable, minimize swelling, and won’t restrict your movements.
Bringing along your own snacks will help ward off the munchies and enable you to make healthful choices. Be sure that you’re also drinking plenty of fluids. Dehydration can affect the amniotic fluid and blood flow to your baby.3 Bottled water and coconut water, which contains electrolytes, can keep you hydrated – or rehydrate you if you have travel diarrhea or severe morning sickness.
Pregnancy hormones contribute to elevated blood clotting factors. If you’re dehydrated as well, your blood becomes more viscous (thicker) – and more prone to blood clots.3 Get up (or out of the car) and move around every hour to keep your blood circulating and to reduce swelling and leg cramps. Also, try to keep travel time to a maximum of 5-6 hours per day so that you can relax – and put your feet up.
While it is safe for most pregnant women to travel, always check with your healthcare provider for guidance prior to scheduling any travel. If you experience any of the following complications while traveling, you should seek immediate medical attention4:
The information included in this article and on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation.