There is no doubt that a pregnant woman has to change the way of her life quite significantly. At the same time, pregnancy is not a reason to lock yourself in four walls and completely give up the idea of, for example, traveling while pregnant. Everything is possible, you just need to soberly assess your health and take care of comfort and safety in advance.
Pregnancy Is the Time of Changes
The 1st trimester (up to 12 weeks). During this time the main organs and systems of the fetus are laid, and the female organism undergoes a global hormonal reorganization. External signs are toxicosis, dizziness, fainting, drowsiness and fatigue. Also, according to the statistics, miscarriages most often occur in the first 12 weeks. That’s why it is better not to plan long-distance trips in this period. It is better to give the body the opportunity to get used to the new condition without putting the future baby at risk. In addition, pregnant women are especially susceptible to viral infections. So, once again a future mother should stay away from crowded places – train stations, airports, and so on.
The 2nd trimester (12-28 weeks). This is the most favorable period for traveling. Toxicosis and other unpleasant manifestations are in the past. The belly is still not big and does not interfere with active movement. What’s more, the general well-being of a woman is usually good. Just in case, discuss with the doctor the results of the planned ultrasound (usually it is done at the 20th week), make the necessary tests, and if everything is fine – you can travel.
The 3rd trimester (29-40 weeks). Before planning a vacation, carefully study together with your doctor your own medical card and discuss possible contraindications for traveling while pregnant. Note: after 36-37 weeks the pregnancy is considered to be full-term. After this time birth can begin almost at any moment. Being too far from the hospital is unreasonable.
Can Traveling While Pregnant Take Place?
Traveling while pregnant requires a number of tips and cautions, whether it is traveling by plane, train, car or ship. With such a non-standard form of travel, a future mom should pay a lot of attention to planning the trip ahead and common sense – no matter where you decide to go.
There is no need to categorically refuse traveling while pregnant, you just need to think in advance about all the possible problems and situations that may arise.
What is the determining factor? It is necessary, first of all, to consult your doctor to find his opinion out. If the doctor has doubts, it’s worth thinking about postponing the trip.
Many doctors do not recommend future mothers traveling after the 32nd week of pregnancy, because if the birth begins, the familiar obstetrician-gynecologist will not be around. Perhaps a woman will have to give birth in an unfamiliar place with unknown doctors.
Tips for Traveling while Pregnant
We offer you some tips that will be useful for all pregnant women who want to travel, regardless of transport and route:
- Think about insurance in advance. You will not be able to foresee all possible situations that may arise during traveling while pregnant. The insurance will cover the costs if you decide to cancel the trip for any reason.
- Schedule a meeting with the doctor before the trip: get his consent before leaving.
- Take along copies of the results of prenatal examinations, tests and ultrasound.
- Keep prenatal vitamins and all the necessary medications in your handbag in case your luggage is not available.
- Write your obstetrician’s number down in your phone, ask him/her to write your phone number down as well.
- Just to be on the safe side, find out and write down the phone number of a local doctor.
Traveling by Plane while Pregnant
In general, air travel is not dangerous for pregnant women. However, it is obvious that in cases of pregnancy with increased risk, multiple pregnancies, hypertension, acute nausea, placenta previa, risk of premature birth and other complications, air travel is not recommended. Most airlines do not prohibit pregnant women from boarding, if there is at least a month left before delivery.
If pregnancy proceeds without complications, the flight will not be dangerous. However, experts recommend pregnant women getting up and walking around every hour of flight. During pregnancy, there are often problems with blood circulation. Long flights increase the risk of developing potentially dangerous blood clots. Movement promotes blood circulation, which helps to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Choose such a place on the plane so that you can stand up and sit down without disturbing other passengers. This will also allow you to quickly reach the toilet if necessary. This advice also applies to bus transfers.
Pregnant women may not worry about passing through metal detectors at airports. These detectors do not emit a large amount of radiation.
Drink only non-alcoholic, decaf drinks. During flights pregnant women should drink more fluids, since air travel often leads to dehydration of the body. Additional fluid will also reduce the possibility of Braxton-Hicks contractions.
Many airlines have excluded meals during flights, so pregnant women should take some food along. Snacks will help to avoid hypoglycemia and nausea. Keep in mind: if you feel painful contractions, inform the airplane crew about it in advance.
Traveling while Pregnant: Car Ride
Traveling while pregnant by car involves approximately the same risks and rules as air travel.
The problem is the risk of blood clots. If you are in the car – behind the wheel or as a passenger – stop and walk every few hours. If the doctor has previously detected a risk of blood clots, you should purchase special stockings or pantyhose that promote blood circulation, which will reduce the risk of blood clots.
Active leg movements also contribute to a better circulation of blood. For example, you can simply rotate your legs periodically or swing them.
Do not forget to fasten the seat belt. If you are pregnant, fasten the upper and lower parts of the strap. The lower part of the belt should be under the belly and above the hips. The upper part should pass between the breasts and descend on the side of the abdomen.
Traveling by Train
Traveling by train has no direct contraindications, if it lasts no more than a day. Possible problems are the following: there may be too hot or, vice versa, too cold inside; there may be difficulties with hygiene or choice of a suitable meal. It is desirable to choose the lower shelf and use your own (home) bed linen.
Traveling by Ship
If you are going on a sea cruise (on a boat trip), follow these tips:
- Make sure that there is a doctor on the ship who, in case of an emergency, will be able to provide you qualified assistance.
- Ask your doctor which medications are safe to take to prevent or treat seasickness.
- Carefully wash your hands and any fruits and vegetables that you eat while cruising to avoid infections.
8 Rules of Traveling while Pregnant
Rule Number . Plan a Trip After the First Trimester
The best time for traveling while pregnant is from the 14th to the 26th week. During this period, all the organs and systems of the baby are formed, the placenta is formed as well, the belly is not too big, most often the toxicosis of the first half of pregnancy with nausea and vomiting is already behind, and the forthcoming birth is not yet close, which is important for a comfortable rest. However, if you don’t have any complications during pregnancy, then, in general, you can travel at any time (of course, except the last weeks of pregnancy). Before the forthcoming trip during pregnancy, be sure to consult your doctor to make sure that you do not have contraindications for traveling.
Rule Number . During Traveling while Pregnant Avoid Sudden Changes of Climatic Conditions
Nowadays, flights to exotic, unusual routes are becoming very popular. As a rule, they take from 4 to 11 hours. This is a serious test even for a perfectly healthy person. It goes without saying that for a pregnant woman it can be harmful. Negative moments of distant trips include a sharp change in climate, the complexity of adaptation, both to new climatic conditions, and to food, the time zone, and the risk of catching some exotic infection, including helminthiasis.
While choosing a place to rest, learn about the peculiarities of the weather in this area in advance, so that the rainy season, strong heat, seasonal winds or other similar natural phenomena does not become an unpleasant surprise of traveling while pregnant.
Rule Number . Eliminate Activities that are Dangerous during Pregnancy
During pregnancy, for example, scuba diving is contra-indicated. Long excursions on foot or by bike, windsurfing, hiking are not recommended as well. In addition, it is better not to book tours that involve a long sitting in the bus. This can adversely affect the well-being of the future mother and the course of pregnancy. If there is still a great desire to go sightseeing, then choose short sightseeing trips. Give yourself some time just for rest and doing nothing, especially in the first days after the arrival.
Rule Number . Estimate All Pros and Cons of Traveling while Pregnant by Different Types of Transport
While choosing how to get to the place of destination, you need to remember about the features of the trip on different types of transport. This can affect the health of the mom and her baby.
Rule Number . Don’t Forget About Hygiene
A future mother should take care of hygiene on vacation and during the trip. Do not drink unboiled water. It is better to give preference to bottled water. You should definitely wash vegetables and fruits. Do not eat street food, especially in Asian countries where raw meat, fish and other seafood are often used in dishes, generously flavored with various spices (this can provoke an exacerbation, the development of a disease of the digestive system or food poisoning).
Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap or use moist cleansing napkins, preferably with antibacterial effect or special antiseptic gels. Do not wipe your hands with common towels. Use hygienic paper.
Rule Number . Take Care of Insurance and All the Documents
Before traveling a pregnant woman must take care of the insurance, carefully examine what it covers, and find out whether it includes complications during pregnancy. According to international rules, medical insurance does not usually include cases related to pregnancy and childbirth (although in some countries it is valid for up to 12 weeks). You should keep this in mind and have an additional amount of money for unforeseen medical expenses.
What’s more, you should discuss the trip with your gynecologist.
Rule Number . Avoid Fatigue
During pregnancy future mothers are prone to emotional changes and fast fatigue, that’s why, traveling should bring pleasure. So do not force yourself, for example, to go on an excursion or shopping. If there is no desire and strength, it is worth listening to your feelings and emotions. Also, it is not recommended to make too busy days. Of course, new impressions are necessary for a good rest, but it is not worth being too enthusiastic about it. Keep in mind that too many activities can make you feel tired.
Rule Number . Do Not Lift Heavy Things during Pregnancy
While waiting for a baby, pregnant women are not recommended to lift weights. So, it’s better not to take heavy luggage along. If there is no way to avoid this, bags and suitcases should be on wheels, with long handles and even then they should not be heavy. At the station, at the airport or at the hotel you can use the services of a porter.
When Should a Pregnant Woman Seek Medical Help?
If any of the following symptoms occur during traveling while pregnant, seek medical help immediately:
- Pain or cramps in the abdomen;
- Contractions in the lower abdomen, in the uterus (when the muscles of the uterus tighten, and then relax). This is a sign of labor, i.e. beginning of labor activity;
- Strong headache;
- Swelling and soreness of the legs;
- Vaginal bleeding;
- Vaginal discharge of blood clots or tissues;
- Problems with vision;
- Outpouring of the amniotic fluid.
With all of these safety measures taken, traveling while pregnant will bring a lot of pleasant impressions to the woman, which is perfect for the psychological state of the future mother. And if something is good for the mother, it’s good for the baby as well!