Traveling While Pregnant

Feb 1, 2011
2011 / February 2011

For most women, it is safe to travel during pregnancy. If you are not experiencing any complications, there is no reason to delay taking a trip. But travel recommendations may vary, depending on the stage of pregnancy, general state of health and any problems during pregnancy. All pregnant women should have a prenatal examination before traveling and follow their obstetrician’s recommendations.

The best time for most pregnant women to travel is during the second trimester, weeks 14–28. By then, energy levels return, any morning sickness is usually over and it is still easy to move around well. It can be more difficult to get comfortable after the 28th week. Whether you travel by plane, train, automobile or ship, consider the length of travel time, your comfort and your safety. The fastest mode of travel is usually the best.

When booking a flight, ask about the airline’s policies regarding pregnancy and flying. Some airlines require you to complete medical forms. Domestic travel is usually permitted until week 36, and international travel may be permitted until weeks 32–35, depending on the airline. The TSA states that airport security and advanced imaging technology screening are safe for all passengers, including children, pregnant women and individuals with medical implants. You can request alternative screening (to include a thorough pat-down) and a private area for that procedure.

In your carry-on bag or purse, pack a list of your obstetrician’s contact information, your delivery date, blood type, past medical history, current health record and health insurance information. Carry a list of prescribed medications including prenatal vitamins and over-the-counter medications approved by your obstetrician, along with your pharmacy name and phone number. Bring enough of your medications for your trip plus five additional days’ worth in case of travel delays. If you lose your medication, your home pharmacy can transfer the prescription to a pharmacy at your destination.

Consider buying travel insurance to cover tickets and other costs that may not be refundable should you need to cancel your trip due to pregnancy problems. If you buy medical evacuation insurance, make sure pregnancy is covered so you can be transported to the medical center of your choice at home. Get the appropriate vaccinations before traveling, such as the flu and H1N1 vaccine, and avoid travel to areas where you may come in contact with malaria or tuberculosis.

Always wear a seat belt in the car or on a plane. The seat belt should sit under your abdomen and across the tops of your thighs. If the seat belt on a plane does not fit, ask for an extension. Wear your seat belt even if your car has an air bag, and keep the air bag turned on. Both you and your baby are more likely to survive a car crash if you are buckled in.

During a car trip, limit driving or riding to six hours each day. To avoid getting lost and prolonging the trip, use a car with GPS navigation or load a GPS app onto your cell phone (available for free or a low monthly fee). Stop at least every two hours to use the bathroom and walk around. This will help prevent the development of a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, a blood clot in the leg.

Pregnancy increases your risk for a DVT. A blood clot can travel to any part of the body and cause a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or stroke. Studies have shown that any type of travel lasting more than four hours doubles your risk for a DVT. Whatever your mode of travel, drink plenty of fluids; dehydration slows circulation and can cause clots. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Get up, walk around and stretch your legs every two hours. Do leg stretches and ankle pumps in your seat every 30 minutes. An aisle seat makes it easier to get up and stretch; if you are a frequent flyer, use your miles to upgrade to business or first class for additional leg room.

Low cabin pressures and cosmic radiation at high altitudes do not cause problems for occasional travelers. If you are a frequent flyer, check with your doctor about how long it is safe for you to fly while pregnant. Try to avoid gas-producing foods and carbonated drinks before and during your flight; gas can expand in low cabin pressure and cause discomfort. If you are prone to nausea, your doctor can prescribe anti-nausea medication.

If you need an obstetrician at your destination, get assistance from the hotel concierge or the U.S. Embassy, if you are overseas. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provides a list of U.S. obstetricians; the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers has a worldwide directory.


Handle with Care

Wear comfortable slip-on shoes and layers of light clothing

Drink plenty of water or juice

Eat regular meals to boost energy

Eat fiber to avoid constipation

Alternate travel activities with periods of rest

Book a hotel room with a large bed in which to stretch out

Pack lightly so your luggage is not heavy

Use lightweight luggage with spinner wheels

Ask for assistance when you need it

The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Introducing

FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Daily
Sep 20, 2019

Catch Autumn at the Arboretum in Dallas

Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.

To New Heights

United Airlines announces a number of new routes.

Feature
Sep 19, 2019

Wilderness Safaris Reopens Jao Camp

Following a complete renovation, Wilderness Safaris’ Jao Camp reopened in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

News
Sep 19, 2019

Best U.S. Cities for Oktoberfest Celebrations

WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.

TAP Air Portugal Adds 15 Flights Each Week From U.S., Canada

TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020,  a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.

Feature
Sep 19, 2019

Qantas Will Start Using a Dreamliner on Santiago–Sydney Route

Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.

eFlyer News
Sep 18, 2019

New Luxury Hotel Set to Open in China

A new hotel is slated to open in the capital of China’s Guangxi Province.

The Island of the Knights

Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.

eFlyer News
Sep 18, 2019

LOT Polish Airlines Adds New Route to Delhi

LOT Polish Airlines is offering travellers more options for travel between Asia and Europe.