Pregnancy and Travel
A common question around pregnancy is whether you can travel during this period, as well as what precautions one must take while traveling. To answer that first question, yes, it is OK to travel during pregnancy, unless you are not near your due date, or have a medical condition that can put you and the baby at risk. The second trimester (18-24 weeks) is the best time for that because, during this period, you are at less risk of miscarriage or going into preterm labour. Also, as opposed to the first trimester, you have ample energy, and the morning sickness is not as bad as before. Also, you are not as heavily pregnant as the third trimester and can still move around.
When You Should Avoid Travel During Pregnancy
Although it is completely alright to travel while pregnant, preferably during the second trimester, avoid the same in the following cases:
- When you are at the later stages of pregnancy and close to your due date.
- In case of high blood pressure.
- If you have gestational diabetes, which is a condition in which the blood sugar level rises during pregnancy.
- If you have any placenta-related issues
- Prelabour rupture of membrane (PRAM): This is the rupture of the amniotic sac before labour starts. PRAM happens in 8-10% of pregnancies.
- If you have cervix-related issues.
- Avoid travel via air in case of a medical or pregnancy-related condition that might get worse due to flying.
- In case of prior miscarriage(s).
- If your doctor has advised against travel.
- In the case of preeclampsia, which is a health issue characterised by high blood pressure and damage to one or more organs, most probably kidneys and liver. This generally develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If left untreated, preeclampsia can cause serious harm to both mother and the child.
Precautions For Travel During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a trickly period, and while traveling, you must take ample precautions and care.
- Consult your doctor before travel. He/she will check for any medical issues and also educate you on the precautions you must take.
- You must carry your due date with you. This is because in case you get sick during travel, your caregivers will know how far you are in your pregnancy.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Wear comfortable clothes that are not tight.
- Have regular meals.
- Drink the requisite amount of water.
- Walk around frequently, and do leg stretches and other exercises.
- Minimise your caffeine intake.
- Refrain from taking over the counter drugs.
- Medications to ease travelers’ diarhea aren’t good for the fetus. So, avoid them.
Precautions While Travelling By Car
You must take the following precautions while traveling by car:
- Wear the seat belt at all times. Tie the lower strap across your thighs, or upper legs and the lower strap should come over your shoulder and in between your breasts. Do not tie the straps over your abdomen.
- Take frequent bathroom breaks to avoid putting pressure on the bladder.
- Take a break after every 2 hours during which take short walks. This will increase blood circulation in your legs.
Precautions While Travelling By Air
When traveling by air, you must take the following precautions:
- First of all, before booking the tickets, go through the airliner’s rules as some of them don’t allow women to travel when they have been pregnant for certain months.
- Again, carry your due date with you.
- Tie your seat belt across your thighs or upper legs and keep it tied in case of turbulence.
- If you are on a long flight, take quick walks to increase blood circulation in your legs.
- If possible, opt for the aisle seat as it will give you more space to move around.
- Do not have gas-filled carbonated drinks before or during the flight. This is because gas expands at higher altitudes and can cause you discomfort. You can instead have some water.
Precautions While Traveling By Ship
It’s important to note that travelling on a ship can cause seasickness, characterised with nausea, dizziness, vomiting, etc. If you suffer from this, it is better to avoid doing it during pregnancy. But if you don’t get seasick, you can safely travel via water by taking the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with a good soap and use alcohol-based sanitiser.
- Before traveling on a ship, consult your doctor. He’ll also prescribe you medicines in case you get seasick.
- It would be better if the ship has medical practioners on board as it would be easier to seek help in case of a medical emergency.
- Also, it would be helpful if the scheduled stops are at places that have advanced medical facilities for you to seek medical attention if needed.
Precautions If Traveling To A Place With Hot Weather
In case you are traveling to a place where the weather is hot, take the following precautions:
- Drink water frequently to avoid dehydration.
- Wear lose-fitting clothes, and cover your head with a cloth, a cap, or a hat.
- Avoid the heat during the hottest part of the day.
- Do not overexert yourself.
Symptoms To Look For During Travel
While traveling, look out for the following symptoms and if you get any of these, consult a doctor right away:
- In case of vaginal bleeding.
- If you have pain in the thighs or abdomen.
- If your water breaks
- In case of severe nausea and/or vomiting.
- If you get symptoms of preeclampsia, such as severe headache that just won’t go away, change in eyesight, or when you see spots, swelling on the face, or hands.
Food Safety While Traveling
Food can be a crucial aspect while traveling as eating contaminated food and drinking such water can give you serious diseases such as cholera, typhoid, which can pose a danger to you, and your baby. Hence, take the following precautions while travelling:
- Carry water with you. In case you run out of it, buy bottled water, or drink normal water after boiling.
- Do not eat at such places, or use such utensils that you suspect might not have been washed appropriately.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before eating.
- You might want your drinks cold. However, make sure if you use ice, it shouldn’t be made from contaminated water.
- Refrain from raw or undercooked meat or fish.
- Avoid non-pasteurised milk, or products made with it.
Foods You Should Have When Pregnant
Although a healthy and balanced diet is crucial in every stage of life, it is especially important when you are pregnanct. It is far easier to take care of it when you are at your home, however, this can get ignored while traveling. However, you should try to include these foods in your diet:
- Dairy products are necessary when pregnant. However, while traveling, opt for packaged milk, and yogurt.
- Carry certain nuts and dry fruits with you such as peanuts, almonds, and walnuts.
- Since it is safer to avoid certain vegetables and fruits found while on the road, you might get nutrient deficiency, so you can carry supplements with you. However, take these only after your doctor advises them.
Sports Activities To Avoid During Pregnancy
Although ample movement and exercise are good for the mother and the baby. However, there are certain activities that you must avoid during pregnancy:
- Mountain climbing
- Horseback riding
- Scuba diving
- Any activities that require excessive jumping, skipping, or hopping.
Pregnancy is a critical time during which the expecting mother requires ample care and precautions. Although it is better to avoid travel during the first, and third trimesters, the second one is safest for travel. However, even during that time, you should take all the care and precautions, be it your food, water, or the smallest travel details. This will ensure you a safe travel both for you and your baby.