Traveling safely during pregnancy depends on whether you have any problems that need special care, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and your comfort. For most women, traveling is safe during pregnancy.
The Best Time to Travel
The best time to travel is probably the middle of your pregnancy – between weeks 14 and 28. Most common pregnancy emergencies happen in the first and third trimester. After 28 weeks, it may be harder for you to move around or sit for a long time. During mid-pregnancy, your energy has returned, morning sickness is gone, and you are still mobile. Paying attention to the way you feel is the best guide for your activities.
When choosing your mode of travel, think about how long it will take to get to your destination. The fastest way is often the best. Whether you go by car, airplane, or ship, there are steps you can take to ensure your comfort and safety.
During a car trip, make each day’s drive brief. Spending hours on the road is tiring even when you are not pregnant. Try to limit driving to no more than 5 or 6 hours each day. Be sure to wear your seat belt every time you ride in a motor vehicle, even if you are involved in a crash – even a minor one – see your health care provider right away. You may need to be monitored to make sure you and your baby are not injured. Plan to make frequent stops, use these stops to move around and stretch your legs.
If you have a medical condition that could be made worse by flying or could require emergency medical care, you should avoid flying during your pregnancy. For healthy pregnant women, air travel is almost always safe during pregnancy. Some domestic airlines restrict travel during the last month of pregnancy or require a medical certificate; others discourage travel after 36 weeks of pregnancy. If you are planning an international flight, the cutoff point for traveling with the federal government. Most airlines restrict their flight attendants from flying after 20 weeks of pregnancy. When traveling by air take the following steps to help make your trip as comfortable as possible:
- If you can, book an aisle seat, so that it is easy to get up and stretch during a long flight.
- Avoid gas-producing foods and carbonated drinks before your flight. Gas expands in the low air pressure present in airplane cabins and can cause discomfort.
- Wear your seatbelt at all times. Turbulence can occur without warning during air travel. The seatbelt should be belted low on the hip bones, below your belly.
- If you are prone to nausea, your health care provider may be able to prescribe anti-nausea medication.
Traveling Outside the United States
If you are planning a trip out of the country, your health care provider can help you decide if travel outside the United States is safe for you and advise you about what steps to take before your trip. The CDC is also a good resource for travel alerts, safety tips and up-to-date vaccination facts for many countries.
There is no reason to put off taking trips during your pregnancy if you are not having complications. Letting your health care provider know about your travel plans and staying alert to your body’s signals can help keep you safe while you are away from home. We are here to help! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.