Just ask your grandmother and she’ll tell, it was unthinkable to travel during pregnancy when she was young. Typically, during her time, pregnant women did not venture too far from their homes. However, times have changed and advancements in medical science too have played a major role.
When you’re pregnant, your whole world revolves round the baby growing inside you. You will want to keep the baby (and yourself) safe and healthy, so you’ll follow each and every of your obstetrician’s instructions to the T and also follow other safety precautions on your own.
Pregnancy and traveling
There are many factors that come into play when you are pregnant and when you’re traveling. The factors that you have to consider are as follows:
- Which trimester you are in during your planned travel
- Whether you are experiencing any complication in your pregnancy
- The kind of travel you intend to take, and
- How far you intend to travel
You have to consider each of these factors carefully to plan your travel and then take the precautions necessary to keep yourself and the baby safe and sound. Of course, it goes without saying that you first need to take permission of your OBGYN if you intend to travel far from your home or flying to another city or country.
Is it safe to travel during pregnancy?
In the first trimester, you’ll be plagued with morning sickness that makes it tough to get out of bed, leave alone traveling. With nausea and vomiting, the last thing you’ll want is to travel. Maybe crawling into bed and not getting up would sound a much better idea!
As your last trimester approaches, you will be tired and complain of backache and swollen feet. So, once again travel will be the last thing in your mind.
This means the ideal time to embark on a trip is during your second trimester. But this time, the morning sickness will be a distant dream and the fatigue will not be an issue.
Safety Measures While Traveling
Today, you can travel by land, air or sea. For each mode of travel, there are a set of safety measures that you can adopt to ensure you have a safe and hassle-free trip.
Land Travel: You can travel by train, bus or car. While it is relatively safe to travel by land during your pregnancy, there are still some precautions you should consider to make your trip more comfortable and safer.
- Always wear seat belt while traveling in a car. It is best to use shoulder as well as lap seat belts for optimal protection.
- Make sure the airbags in the car are turned on. Don’t disregard this, as the benefits offered by airbags are too great to ignore their use.
- Traveling by bus can be challenging due to the restricted space in the restroom and aisles. However, if your travel is by bus, it is best to stay seated while the bus is on the go. In case you want to use the restroom, hold on to the seats or rails while walking. This will keep your balance and prevent you from falling and hurting yourself or the baby.
- The rocking motion of the train can be soothing and put you to sleep within no time! Thankfully, trains are more spacious than buses, but still have small restrooms. While making your way to the restroom, hold on to the seats to maintain your balance in a moving train.
- When the train, car or bus makes a pit stop, get off and stretch your legs. This will get your circulation going and prevent swelling of your feet and ankles.
Air Travel: Air is one of the safest ways to travel. This holds true for pregnant women, as well. Nonetheless, you can make your air trip safer and more comfortable with the help of these tips.
- Typically, you should be able to fly till the end of your eighth month. If you are in your ninth month, you’ll need written permission from your obstetrician to fly.
- Always fly on major airlines that have pressurized cabins. Avoid flying in smaller planes where the cabin is not pressurized.
- As far as possible, avoid smaller planes that fly higher than 7,000 feet. The oxygen gets thin and could be risky for you and your baby.
- When checking in your luggage, request for an aisle seat. This will make it easier for you to get up and walk to the restroom or just to stretch your legs during the flights.
- Just like buses and trains, the aisles and restrooms in planes can be narrow and cramped. If you are stretching your legs or walking to the restroom, make sure you use the seat backs to keep your balance while walking.
- Turbulence can be a problem while traveling by air. Remain seated and keep your seat belt on. Try not to panic, as it will cause you to hyperventilate, which isn’t good for you or your baby.
- Also check for the services, terms and conditions of the respective carriers while flying. The terms and conditions can vary from carrier to carrier. Hence, it would be better to know them in advance.
Sea Travel: The rocking motion of a ship can make your morning sickness worse, or it could make you nauseous. This being said, it is quite safe to travel by sea if you have a great pair of sea legs and a strong stomach!
- You need to be prepared for all types of emergencies and eventualities. So always travel on a cruise line that has a qualified in-house healthcare provider.
- Check out the route of the ship. Focus on the port of calls to see whether each port has a nearby medical facility you can access should the need arise.
- If you intend taking medication for seasickness, run it by your OBGYN. The medication should be approved for pregnant women and shouldn’t cause a problem to your baby.
- In case you’re wary of taking medication for seasickness, a good alternative is seasickness band. This band uses acupressure to alleviate the sickness and nausea.
International Travel During Pregnancy
It is quite possible you may have to travel abroad while you are pregnant. This can stress you out, especially if you have to take a long-haul flight or visit a country where a disease is common, but rare in your country. Here are some precautions that will keep you safe during your international travel.
- Check with your OBGYN whether it’s alright for you to travel. Discuss any fears you have about taking an overseas trip.
- Take any immunization your obstetrician recommends and then get it noted down in your health records. Make a copy of the records and keep it in your carry-on luggage.
- Always consume bottled water when traveling overseas. If you don’t have access to bottled water, drink just canned juices. Even aerated soda will do, but don’t drink anything else.
- Before consuming milk, make sure it is pasteurized.
- Do not eat raw veggies and fruits. Always consumed cooked vegetables; and eat just fruits that can be peeled.
- If you are consuming fish or meat, make sure it is cooked thoroughly.
- If you have a doubt about some food, it is best not to eat it.
Other Tips and Precautions
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing during travel
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable
- Carry healthy snacks with you to sustain during your trip
- Make sure you use the restroom as frequently as needed. Don’t control the urge to urinate.
- Take enough breaks to stretch your legs and back
These are some of the precautions you should take while traveling during pregnancy. Usually, it is safe to travel if you have a normal pregnancy. These tips can make your travel safer and more comfortable. And, then you can truly enjoy your trip.