Hitting The Road - Pregnant Style

Planning to take your belly on the road this summer? Here are some tips on staying comfortable whether you're traveling by plane, train, or automobile.
Ann Douglas

More Mom's the Word by Ann Douglas Before you leave home:

  • Discuss your travel plans with your doctor or midwife. If you're experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or your due date is fast approaching, your caregiver may want you to stay relatively close to home (e.g. within a three-hour drive) in case of complications or an early arrival. Even if your caregiver gives you the go-ahead to venture a little farther afield, she may want you to take a copy of your prenatal record with you. That way, if you run into complications while you're traveling, the doctor on call at whatever hospital or clinic you end up visiting will have the lowdown on your medical and obstetrical history.

  • Make sure that your health coverage is adequate if you will be traveling out of state (or province). You may want to contact your insurance provider before leaving to find out about your out-of-area benefits.

  • Dress in layers of comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. As your prenatal instructor no doubt told you, the hormonal changes of pregnancy cause your body temperature to shoot up.

  • Pack some healthy snacks to enjoy while you're on the road. Rather than having to rely on french fries and other fast foods while you're traveling, you may prefer to eat fresh fruit, granola bars, and healthier (and less nauseating) foods instead.

  • Bring a small pillow or rolled-up towel with you. Placing it in the small of your back will help reduce back discomfort due to sitting in one position for prolonged periods of time.

    If you're traveling by plane:

  • Make sure you're clear about airline policies concerning pregnant travelers before you book your flight. Policies vary from airline to airline, but most carriers require some sort of doctor's certificate from any pregnant woman who is traveling during the mid- to late third trimester.

  • If you're heading to exotic locales, make sure that you can receive any required immunizations safely during pregnancy. Avoid live vaccines and certain other types of vaccines during pregnancy (check with your caregiver for specifics).

  • Get out of your seat and move around whenever the opportunity presents itself. This will help to minimize leg cramps and ankle swelling. If you end up confined to your seat for a prolonged period, do calf stretches or rotate your ankles - whatever you can reasonably do to stretch your legs while stuck in one spot.

  • Tote along a purse-sized bottle of water: You'll appreciate your own ready beverage supply to counter the dehydrating effects of air travel just in case the beverage cart doesn't make it down the aisle as quickly as you might like.

  • Flying increases your risk of developing varicose veins. If you're prone to them, try wearing a pair of support hose (vascular tightening stockings) from your local medical supply store.

    If you're traveling by car:

  • If your car has airbags, make sure that there is at least a 10-inch gap between your belly and the dash. (Hint: You may have to move your seat back a little if you're megapregnant.) If you're the driver: You should tilt the steering wheel so that it's as far as possible from your belly to minimize the risk of injury to your baby in a car accident.

  • Wear your seatbelt. Your seatbelt should be fastened across your hips and underneath your belly (as opposed to across your belly). This will help lessen the chance of harm to you and your baby in the event of an automobile accident. If the seatbelt has a shoulder belt, make sure that it is positioned between your breasts. (Hint: If the shoulder belt is chafing your neck, try moving your seat back a little. That usually does the trick.)

    Above all, have fun and enjoy your trip!PregnancyAndBaby.com

  • Tags: automobile plane train


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