Travelling during pregnancy is a concern for many women. Some women prefer not to travel during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because of nausea, fatigue or the increased chance of miscarriage during the first 3 months. However, if you’re pregnancy has no complications and you take the proper precautions, there is no reason why you can’t travel both safely and comfortably.
To begin with, speak to your doctor and make sure everything is ok before venturing far from home, to discuss any concerns you may have about flying and if you are considering flying to a region that requires vaccination.
You will need to make sure that your travel insurance covers you for every eventuality. Earlier this year, Britain’s Katie Price faced this issue and was forced to give birth abroad, after being rushed to the hospital while holidaying in Europe. Your insurance should include pregnancy-related medical care during labour, premature birth and the cost of changing the date of your return trip if you go into labour.
Find out what healthcare facilities are available at your destination in case you require urgent medical attention. Take your medical records with you, including your doctor’s contact info. Find out exactly what is involved in getting healthcare abroad so that there are no surprises.
The likelihood of going into labour is naturally higher after 37 weeks and some airlines will not let you fly at this point. Check with the airline about their policy. Some may require a note confirming your due date and indicating that you are not at risk of any complications.
Any long-distance travel, (especially over 5 hours) carries a small risk of blood clots. To avoid this, drink plenty of water and move around regularly (about every 30 minutes). If you’re travelling by car, keep the air circulating. Wear your seatbelt with the cross strap between your breasts and the lap strap across your pelvis under your bump – not across your bump. Avoid making long trips on your own and share the driving.
Take care to avoid food and water borne conditions. Some medicines for treating upset stomachs and traveller’s diarrhoea are not suitable for you during pregnancy – always ask your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure you consume tap water that is safe. If you’re not sure, drink bottled water and order any juices without the ice cubes. If you do get ill, stay hydrated and continue to eat for the health of your baby.
Pack healthy snacks. Eating and drinking regularly will keep your energy levels up and keep nausea, fatigue and dizziness at bay. Keep water and some fruits, nuts and bars in your purse for easy access.
Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be glad you did during those unavoidable waiting times, in line or in the heat.
Ask for help! If you’re in a large airport and the walk is too long, ask for a wheel chair. You’ll be glad you saved some energy for the vacation.