The best time to travel during pregnancy depends on how you feel and your doctor’s instructions. Many pregnant women like to travel during the second trimester. At this point, you may not have as much morning sickness or be as tired as you were at the beginning of pregnancy. Your abdomen is growing but you still find it comfortable to move. As you approach your due date, you may find walking, sitting, and even sleeping very uncomfortable.
Recommendations for traveling while pregnant:
PREPARE YOUR TRIP
- Plan your trip in advance.
- Ask the airline if it has a deadline to let pregnant women travel. You can travel on most airlines until the 36th week of pregnancy. But if you are traveling outside the country, the deadline may be earlier.
- Check what health care is covered by your insurance. Most insurance plans cover emergency medical care no matter where you are, but you should find out what “emergency” means to your health plan so you know exactly what it will pay for.
- Consider buying travel insurance, which covers your medical care when you are traveling in another country.
- Find out what kind of medical care is available in your travel destination and ask your doctor if he or she can refer you to another doctor in the area where you will be traveling.
- Carry a copy of your medical records, your doctor’s phone number, prenatal vitamins, and any medications you need in your purse, carry-on, or bag that you plan to carry at all times so they’re always within reach.
- Visit the ABC Preventive Medicine Department to consult information on vaccines and how to manage health problems during the trip.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION?
If you experience any of the following symptoms while traveling, seek immediate medical attention:
- Abdominal pain or cramps.
- Strong headaches.
- Leg swelling or pain.
- Vaginal bleeding or if you lose tissue with blood or clots.
- Eyesight problems.
- If your water breaks (this can happen in a large gush or a steady trickle of fluid).
IF YOU TRAVEL BY PLANE…
- Ask your doctor if you can take anti-nausea medications to relieve nausea.
- Reserve an aisle seat so you don’t have to step over other passengers when you need to go to the bathroom or walk. Try to sit at the front of the plane, you will feel less of the aircraft’s movements.
- Drink plenty of water, avoid carbonated beverages, and don’t eat gas-producing foods, as gas in the abdomen can expand with altitude and make you uncomfortable.
- Fasten your seat belt while seated, this can help prevent injuries in turbulence
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing, flex your feet during the flight, and walk when it’s safe to get out of your seat. This can help with blood circulation and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombophlebitis (DVT), which is a blood clot inside a vein.
- Let the flight attendant know if you feel unwell or are very uncomfortable during the flight.
IF YOU TRAVEL BY CAR…
- Use the seat belt.
- Try not to drive more than 5 or 6 hours a day. If you can, split the trip into multiple days with reduced driving hours.
- On long trips, drink water, wear loose clothing, and take breaks to get out of the car, walk, and stretch. Do not turn off your vehicle’s airbags, as they can keep you and your baby safe in the event of an accident.
- Tilt the seat position and move it as far away from the dashboard or steering wheel as possible, but if you’re driving, make sure you can reach the pedals.
- If you have an accident, seek immediate medical attention.
With information from the March of Dimes