Traveling While Pregnant

I am heading to Chicago this week and began thinking about travel and pregnancy. When is the best time to travel? Are there travel restrictions? What is the best way to travel when pregnant? Learn more about traveling while pregnant from East Cooper Women’s Center.

The best time to travel during pregnancy is toward the middle of pregnancy.  Most of the time common pregnancy problems occur during the first and third trimester so try and schedule travel plans during the second trimester. During that time moms usually feel the most comfortable.

Before traveling in the United States, expectant mothers should locate the nearest hospital to where you are vacationing.

If you are planning on traveling internationally talk to your health care provider if international travel is appropriate for you, you also should talk to them about any steps you need to take before your trip.  The CDC is a great resource for travel alerts, vaccination facts safety tips and more.  Make sure to follow these tips:

  • Avoid malaria prone areas like Africa, Central America, South America, and Asia
  • Boil any drinking water for 1 minute under 6,000 feet or for 3 minutes for over that altitude.
  • Bottled water and carbonated drinks are best to drink
  • Avoid glasses that have been washed in unboiled water
  • Avoid fresh fruits unless you have peeled them or they have been cooked
  • Do not eat raw or uncooked meat or fish
  • Bring a dictionary of language spoken to English
  • Register with an American embassy or consult with one after you arrive at your destination.  It will be helpful if you have to leave the country incase of an emergency

Remember the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) has a directory of doctors.

When traveling on long car trips, expecting mothers need to keep the drive each day to 5 or 6 hours each day.  Remember to wear your seatbelt during the entire trip and stop and stretch frequently.

Traveling via airplane while pregnant is safe but usually restricted during the last month of pregnancy; restrictions can be longer for international flights.  When flying uses these suggestions to help make travels as safe and comfortable as possible:

  • Book an aisle seat so you can move around and stretch during flights.
  • Avoid carbonated beverages and gas producing foods before your flight.
  • Wear your seatbelt low on your hips at all times during your flight.
  • If you are suffering from morning sickness or motion sickness talk to your physician about an anti-nausea medication.

When planning to travel on a boat, first talk to your physician about approved motion sickness medications.  Then check to make sure your cruise ship has passed a health and safety inspection by the CDC. Expecting mothers should be aware of the norovirus, which is easily spread through cruise ship passengers.  Norovirus causes nausea and vomiting for about 2 days and is very contagious.

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