Traveling can be stressful under normal conditions, but when adding pregnancy into the mix, things can get extra complicated! If one is prone to vacation panic, research is the best tool. As long as one keeps these 20 things in mind, they should be good to go. Of course, though, this article shouldn't be the only source of health information regarding pregnant travel as every pregnancy is different and the doctor will know best.
These days “babymoons” are growing in popularity, so if you’re planning one of those, definitely take note of this list. A babymoon is a trip the expecting mama and papa go on to relax and spend quality time with each other before baby arrives. Everyone knows how sleep-deprived new parents are, so it probably helps a bunch if you’re starting off refreshed from your babymoon. Plus, pictures from babymoons are adorable, showing off that big baby belly in a beautiful location! However, due to pregnancy, there are more health concerns and complications that could occur than during regular travel.
Whether you’ve decided to take a babymoon or are just traveling for work or visiting family, here are 20 things to think about as you’re planning.
20 Count Up The Months
Here’s the most obvious one, but also a crucial one. Past a certain point in their pregnancy, expecting mothers aren’t allowed on planes, because of the risk of going into labor while up in the air.
The exact number of months or weeks pregnant may differ from airline to airline, so be sure to check ahead of time, especially if you are in your third trimester.
Very few airlines will allow you up in the air during your ninth month. The second trimester is considered the safest time to travel, so think about planning your trip around that.
19 Multiples Can Multiply The Complications
If you’re pregnant with twins, triplets, or more, the risks caused by plane travel can be magnified. Multiples are much more likely to be born premature, so the possibility of going into labor on the plane is even more unpredictable.
It is important to talk to your doctor before going on a trip. The riskier the pregnancy, the more you should remain relatively close to medical aid as well. Keep in mind that babymoons don't need to be in far off locations to be relaxing. Sometimes, just going a few towns over will give you the lack of responsibility you crave all while offering you the comforts of home.
18 Have A Plan
Even if you’re early in your pregnancy, it’s important to have the contact information for a doctor or midwife in your destination in case of any surprises.
Travel, especially flying on a plane, can have unexpected results on the body, and if you happen to go into labor early or feel like something is wrong.
You’ll want to have someone you can turn to, instead of calling your regular OB, who might even be in a different time zone!
Knowing where you can turn if something goes wrong will also help you decompress during your travels.
17 History Of Health Risks
If you’ve had previous pregnancies that were ectopic or had a miscarriage before, plane travel is also not recommended. This goes double for mothers with chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac/respiratory diseases, or severe anemia. Check with your doctor to see if other forms of travel, like car or train, would be a good idea, or if you should stick around home for a while. Though traveling is great, it is not worth putting you and your baby's health at risk, so be sure to check in with your doctor!
16 Signs Of Miscarriage
If your pregnancy has shown potential signs of miscarriage, then it’s best to avoid plane rides. A car trip may be better--just make sure you take plenty of breaks to stretch your legs and use the bathroom. These breaks are important to help your circulation and prevent blood clots.
Signs of possible miscarriage include irregular bleeding, cramping, and sharp pains.
However, these symptoms can also occur in varying degrees in perfectly healthy pregnancies, so make sure to check with your doctor before panicking. A miscarriage can be a relatively important medical event, so it is important to be diligent about informing your doctor about any abnormalities.
15 PROM (Aka, Water Breaking Early)
It’s not a high school dance-- this kind of prom stands for premature rupture of membranes. This is another reason to avoid taking a plane ride. This condition can increase the risk of infection, but the level of danger differs depending on what stage of pregnancy it occurs in. The health risk is more serious the earlier this occurs. It can also make a premature birth more likely. This is actually a serious complication and if this does occur, you should go see a doctor as soon as possible.
14 Sit In The Middle Of The Plane, In An Aisle Seat
Requesting a seat here will make your ride smoother. Also, the aisle seat will allow you easier bathroom access, without having to squeeze your growing belly past people! When the check seatbelt life is off, it’s also good to get up and stretch your legs every now and again.
If you can manage a first class seat, you’ll surely appreciate the leg room.
It's important to move around – especially on long flights – to prevent blood clots from occurring. Though this isn't something relegated to pregnant women, it is even more important for pregnant women to avoid this.
13 Wear Maternity Support Panty Hose
Blood clots can be dangerous to your pregnancy, and these can be triggered by the high altitudes you experience on planes. However, buying a pair of maternity support pantyhose may be worth it for your trip. These help your circulation, which is meant to prevent blood clots. Though they tend to be a bit more expensive than regular pantyhose, the health benefits can be well worth it. Traveling while pregnant is not the time to play it fast and loose with your health especially when the preventative care is so obvious and easily accessible – your local pharmacy should have them in stock.
12 Have A Nausea Plan
Pregnancy is famous for causing nausea, and people who have motion sickness could end up with double trouble if you’re traveling while pregnant. If you have sickness of both the morning and motion varieties, talk to your doctor about what anti-nausea medications would be safe for you to take.
Drinking plenty of water doesn’t hurt either, and if you’re flying rather than road-tripping, avoid carbonated drinks and gassy foods, which will expand in your stomach while on the plane.
So keep your diet simple while flying and in anticipation for the flight – now may not be the time to try that funky smelling sandwich.
11 Potential Legal Differences
Different states--or even different countries-- can have laws regarding births that differ from your home. For example, home births are only legal in certain states. This is due to a limited number of midwifery licenses. Also, there may be laws or regulations about carrying medication abroad, so keep that in mind when packing your prenatal vitamins or any other medications. The FDA recommends that you verify with the destination country. As well, it is highly suggested that you carry no more than a personal supply for approximately 90 days of the prescription. Be sure that it is in it's original container as well.
10 Yes To Airbags
Some people are afraid that having airbags on while riding in a car is dangerous while pregnant. However, the absence of airbags is more likely to cause injury in the event of a crash than the airbags themselves.
Airbags are there to prevent you from hitting the dash at full impact.
They are designed to cushion the blow from the accident, without them, injuries become much more severe – they are mandatory for a reason! Be sure to always be vigilant while driving as well. Also, it should go without saying, but definitely always wear your seatbelt!
9 Consider Taking The Train!
Train rides can be a great option for travel while pregnant, as long as there is a track connecting your home to your destination. They allow you to walk around, stretch your legs, use the bathroom, and get a snack, much more easily than a car or plane trip. You also avoid the risks of high altitude plane travel. One of my favorite parts of train trips over car trips is that since you don’t have to drive, you can read a book. Buses are also an option, but not all of them have bathrooms, and since it’s a bumpier ride and narrower aisle, it can be harder to get there if there is one.
8 By Land Or By Sea
Planning on taking a cruise? Here’s what you need to know. Seasickness can intensify the nausea you are already experiencing with your pregnancy, so get some nausea medication approved by your doctor as safe for baby. Also, make sure there are health care resources both on board the ship and in any locations you’ll be stopping along the way.
You'll also definitely want to verify the pregnancy limitations for your particular cruise.
The rule of thumb is that women in their 24th week of pregnancy can no longer board cruise ships. Plus, most major cruise lines require a physician's note stating the expected due date and confirmation that it is not a high risk pregnancy.
7 Going Abroad?
In addition to longer travel times, one of the most important differences between domestic and international trips is the risk of disease. Different countries have different common diseases, which is why immunizations are important. Vaccines can help ensure that you and your baby's immune systems are fully functioning. Mayo Clinic says that vaccines containing inactive viruses are generally recommend, while those containing live viruses should be avoided. As with anything, check with your doctor before making any big decisions. Also, make sure you’re drinking safe water. But if you do get the runs, keep hydrated!
6 Take Prenatal Records Along
These records are important for any healthcare provider you may meet with during your travels. Since these doctors don’t have any familiarity with your medical history or that of your baby, these facts will help them to best treat you.
They would be especially crucial if anything were to go wrong.
They contain information such as your menstrual, obstetric, and surgical history, as well as demographic information and results of any evaluations. You never know when something unexpected could happen to your pregnancy regardless of how major or minor it is. In cases like these, you're always better safe than sorry.
5 Consider Insurance
Travel insurance may seem like a waste of money when you’re a carefree young person, but when a baby is thrown into the mix, it may be worth it. If you have to cancel your trip or something unexpected happens along the way, this insurance will save you money. And trust us when we say that by the time the baby comes you'll be wishing you hadn't lost all that money on beautiful vacation you weren't even able to attend. Kids are expensive, insurance may end up saving you a few dollars – which is always useful. Since pregnancy is unpredictable, keep this option in mind!
4 Pre-trip Checkup
Plan a visit with your doctor for shortly before your departure. This way you can clear your travel plans with them, as well as ask any questions you may have about immunizations or medications you may need.
Getting the all-clear should also ease your mind since excessive stress during pregnancy is also to be avoided.
This way they can also tell you about anything to avoid while you are on vacation. They may know of specific risks associated to the region you will be visiting which can help you be more aware while on vacation.
3 Snacks And Sip
Pack healthy snacks to consume at regular intervals. This will help prevent hypoglycemia, nausea-- or even just hunger crankiness. Also, drink plenty of liquids (just not carbonated or alcoholic ones) to stay hydrated. Hydration can reduce the likelihood of Braxton-Hicks contractions. Overall, it is just important to listen to your body. You are going through a whole bunch of changes and being tuned into your needs will most likely allow for a smoother pregnancy. Plus, it will make for a more pleasant trip for both you and your partner as you will be feeling satisfied.
2 Avoid Heavy Lifting
Heavy lifting is to be avoided during pregnancy, especially the further along you are. This is mostly because of the loosening of the joints that occurs during pregnancy as well as the shift in center of gravity that happens.
If possible, use a rolling suitcase so you won’t have to heft the full weight of your luggage around.
Also, ask your travel companion to give you a hand with your luggage, or if you’re traveling alone, see if you can get a porter to help. If you’re visibly pregnant, strangers may offer to lend a hand as well!
1 Avoid Zika And Malaria
Even with immunizations, it’s probably not worth the risk to travel to areas where the Zika virus is present. Malaria is also particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Both of these illnesses are spread by mosquitoes, so if you absolutely must go to a country with a Zika outbreak, make sure you take precautions, like packing bug spray and a mosquito net to surround your bed at night. These viruses can have severe impacts on your fetus. Zika, for instance, can stop the brain from developing properly which could lead to the baby having an abnormally small head as well as problems developing after birth and muscle stiffness.