Whether you're planning one last fling as just the two of you, have a business trip, or are just taking a little weekend getaway, it's all a bit different now that you're pregnant. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you travel during pregnancy.
For the pregnant traveler
- The second trimester is the best time to travel. You're probably over the sick or queasy feelings of the first trimester as well as the main miscarriage risk, and not yet to the bulky third trimester and when labor is growing increasingly imminent.
- Try to plan relaxing vacations, not major tours. During pregnancy, blood volume is up, your center of gravity has changed and your joints are loosening... so take it easy.
- On the road or in the air, avoid sitting for extended periods of time -- try to walk around at least every hour or two. On a plane or train, even a trip up and down the aisles can help get your circulation going. Also make frequent trips to the restroom.
- Eat and drink regularly. Especially when you're travelling and sitting for longer periods of time than usual, eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, constipation and other digestive problems.
- Talk to your healthcare provider before leaving if you'll be traveling more than an hour or two from home, or to anywhere with extreme conditions (heat, cold, high altitude). If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are close to term, you might be advised not to travel.
- Many airlines will not allow women past 34 weeks of pregnancy as passengers, at least not without a physician's approval. The high altitude will not send you into labor -- their concern is that the odds of you going into labor spontaneously is greater the closer you are to term. If you go into labor in the air, they have to land soon and get you to a hospital. (Never fly on a plane with an unpressurized cabin.)
- Consider taking your medical records with you and find out the name of the nearest hospital to your destination that handles births -- this is particularly important if you're not yet term.
- If you're traveling outside of the country, check to see if there are immunizations you need (yellow fever, typhoid fever, cholera, meningococcal meningitis), and whether or not you may receive suuch immunizations safely during pregnancy. Also be aware of medications you may need to take to prevent parasitic infections such as malaria.
Finally, always wear your seat belt, fastened low and snug across your pelvis.