Whether you’re going by car, train, or boat, traveling during pregnancy is generally safe. It just takes a little extra planning. Here are some helpful tips and considerations to keep in mind.
In our last blog post we outlined the updated air travel guidelines for pregnant women from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Today, we’re giving you our top six tips to make the most out of any travel situation during pregnancy.
Baby, you can drive my car
The main risk while driving is blood clots. If you’ll be going on a long car ride, be sure to plan plenty of rest stops. Get out and walk around every few hours. In between stops, you can do calf exercises by flexing and extending your ankles and wiggling your feet.
Make sure your seatbelt is fastened properly. The hip belt should sit under your belly and low on your hip bones. The shoulder belt should go between your breasts and to the side of your belly.
Keep airbags turned on. In the event of a crash, the benefits of using the airbags outweigh the risks.
The wheels on the bus
Traveling by bus is similar to the car but presents some additional challenges. You will not be in charge of the frequency of stops, so be sure to do your calf exercises often. Bathrooms are small and aisles are narrow. If you need to get up to use the restroom while the bus is moving, use rails or seat backs for balance.
Keep the train a-rollin’
Trains present many of the same obstacles are buses. However, they generally aren’t as cramped. Stay seated while the train is in motion, and if you must get up, use seatbacks for balance.
Don’t rock the boat, baby
Going on a cruise can be a bit more challenging. As relaxing as it sounds, WebMD recommends avoiding going a cruise for the first time during pregnancy. If you do decide to cruise, there are some important precautions to keep in mind.
Being on a boat can exacerbate nausea. Check with your provider about the safety of seasickness medication for pregnant women. As a non-medical alternative, you can try seasickness bands. Make sure there is a medical provider on board the ship. Additionally, map out modern medical facilities at all ports-of-call in case of an emergency.
Norovirus is a common concern on cruise ships. For pregnant women, this can pose a risk to the unborn baby. If you experience vomiting or diarrhea, do your best to stay hydrated. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are risk factors for pre-term labor.
It’s not the journey, it’s the destination
Depending on where you are traveling, you’ll need to keep certain factors in mind. If you plan on traveling internationally, plan the trip earlier in your pregnancy. Most airlines will not allow you to fly after 36 weeks. Other recommendations state that women should use caution when traveling after 32 weeks.
Scout out medical facilities in the area and bring your prenatal records and any pertinent ultrasounds with you. Check in with the CDC by calling 800.311.1345 for safety information and immunization recommendations.
Be selective about the types of food and beverages you consume. The American Pregnancy Association recommends only drinking bottled water and canned juices or soft drinks. Make sure milk is pasteurized. Do not eat any fresh fruits or vegetables unless they can be peeled (like oranges or bananas) or they are cooked thoroughly. Make sure all meat is cooked completely.
Other considerations and some reasons to stay home
While travel during pregnancy is generally safe, ACOG states that you should not travel if you are at risk for certain complications. These include preeclampsia, pre-mature rupture of the membranes, and preterm labor.
Look into purchasing travel insurance. This way, you’ll be covered if there are unexpected, last-minute changes.
Of course, it’s always helpful to consult with your provider before making travel arrangements. You’ll also want to schedule a check-up before your trip. Program your provider’s number into your cell phone so you can easily reach out if needed.
Pack plenty of healthy snacks and eat small frequent meals. This is extra important in planes since most carriers no longer provide meals. Bring any items that will help keep you comfortable while you’re away, and of course, don’t forget to pack any vitamins and medications.
Most importantly: have fun!
While it does require a little extra forethought, traveling during your pregnancy can be a great way to relax and unwind. Book that trip and enjoy!