What you'll get to know:
- When not to travel during pregnancy
- Preparing for travel during pregnancy
- How to be comfortable and safe while travelling during pregnancy
Pregnancy involves a number of changes in your body. Hence it is necessary to know whether travelling is safe during pregnancy. A few studies which have been conducted suggests that in an uncomplicated pregnancy, travelling by air or road is perfectly safe. However, it is recommended that travel is undertaken during the second trimester if possible. But, travel may be restricted in case of the existence of a number of contraindications like multiple fetuses and high blood pressure. If you are travelling while pregnant, there are a number of things that you should carry and certain precautions that you should take to prevent any harm coming to your baby.
For an otherwise healthy woman, there is no need to stop travelling simply because you are pregnant. However, it is necessary to understand certain precautions that you should take. These will not only render travel safe for your baby, they will also help you to be comfortable. There are many considerations, especially if you are travelling abroad. You should be well informed so that if any complications develop, you can take instant and adequate steps.
When not to travel during pregnancy
Before you learn what to do while travelling when pregnant and how to prepare for it, you should learn about some of the contraindications of travel. If you experience any of these conditions, long travel or air travel is not advisable.
- If your doctor has diagnosed cervical problems like incompetent cervix, then travelling is not safe.
- If you have experienced spotting or bleeding early in pregnancy, then it is necessary to consult your doctor before making any travel plans.
- If you have developed gestational diabetes or gestational hypertension during this pregnancy or in a previous pregnancy, then travelling should be avoided.
- It is better not to travel if you are carrying multiple fetuses.
- If you have a history of pre-eclampsia, premature labor or ectopic pregnancy, travelling is a big no-no.
- Finally, if you are over 35 years old and are pregnant for the first time, you should consult your doctor before you plan your travel.
Even if you are not experiencing any of the above events, it is best to get a medical opinion from your attending gynecologist before you decide to travel.
Preparing for travel during pregnancy
Though you are healthy and so is your fetus, still, you are going to require some extra preparations when you decide to travel during pregnancy. These may take some time. So, make sure to start your preparations well in advance.
- Consult your doctor and find out if it is ok for you to travel. If you have stepped on to the 29th week of your pregnancy, you will need a written certificate from the doctor announcing you to be fit for travel if you plan on air travel.
- When making your holiday reservations, plan around the critical dates of examination. For example, chorionic villus sampling is done around 10 to 12 weeks, ultrasound is done between 16 and 20 weeks, glucose screening test is done between 20 and 28 weeks etc. so, you need to get a test schedule from your doctor before planning your holiday.
- The next important thing is to check your insurance cover. Find out if it covers pregnancy while travelling. If not, you should take out extra coverage. You should also take out travel insurance. In a study by Kingman it was found that out of 138, more than one third has travelled without adequate insurance cover.
- If you are planning on visiting a foreign country, find out if you are going to need any vaccination and which ones. Studies show that vaccination probably has little impact on the fetus. However, if you have to take live vaccines like yellow fever or mumps, then it may not be completely safe for the baby.
- Try to avoid travelling to a malaria endemic area because malaria causes premature delivery and stillbirth.
- Traveler's diarrhea is a very common ailment, but the medication used to treat it is dangerous during pregnancy. You should learn about alternative medicines from your doctor before you travel.
- If you plan to fly, find out the policy of the airlines about flying while pregnant. Some airlines do not allow passengers who are in their third trimester. In a study by Breathnach in 2010, only 5 airlines out of 17 revealed that they carried emergency delivery kits on their flights and even those are very basic in nature.
How to be comfortable and safe while travelling during pregnancy
Once you have made all the preparations, here are a few tips to help you be comfortable:
- Pack light. There is no need to carry around extra luggage.
- Wear lose clothing. It is necessary to avoid being overheated during pregnancy.
- When you plan your holiday, maintain a relaxed schedule. For example, if you are flying to your destination, keep a day for rest after arrival and before you begin your trip.
- When travelling by air, inform the cabin crew beforehand about your condition. They are often helpful and provide you with all assistance needed.
- For long flights, you may need to walk around the aisle to relieve your feet. However, try not to walk too much because if the plane hits turbulence, you may fall and injure the baby.
- Always carry some dry snacks with you.
- Choose a seat near the bathroom because you will need to go frequently.
- Wear the seatbelt across your chest and under your belly.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If you feel breathless while flying, ask for a breathing mask.
In all cases, carry a synopsis of your medical information, insurance information and the contact information of your doctor with you at all times so that they can be easily accessed in time of emergency.
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