Traveling During Pregnancy

“Baby-moons” are quite popular these days.  This is a vacation parents or parents to be take prior to the birth of their child.  It can be a wonderful time of relaxation and connection for a couple.  The best time to travel while pregnant is probably during the middle between week 14 and week 28.  Most common pregnancy problems occur in the first and third trimesters.  During mid pregnancy, energy has returned, morning sickness usually is gone and it is still easy to get around. 

Even if you are in perfect health before going on a trip, you never know when an emergency will arise.  If you are traveling within the US, locate the nearest hospital or medical clinic in the area.  You can search for a doctor on the American Medical Associations website.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website can help you locate an obstetrician.  If you are traveling internationally, you can search the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers worldwide directory of doctors. 

The most important tip is to discuss your travel plans with your ob-gyn.  Find out about special precautions you need to take depending on your destination.  Once you are there, stay alert to your body’s situations and seek medical care if you have serious signs or symptoms.  Here are some additional tips:

  1.  When choosing your mode of travel, think about how long it will take to get to your destination.  The fastest way is the best.  Make your travel plans easy to change. 
  2. Consider purchasing travel insurance to cover tickets and deposits that cannot be refunded. 
  3. If you travel by car, make each day’s drive as brief as possible.  Be sure to wear your seat belt every time.  
  4. Plan to make frequent stops.  Move around and stretch your legs. 
  5. Wear loose clothing. 
  6. If you travel by airplane, if possible book an aisle seat so it is easy to get up and stretch your legs during long flights.  Plan to do this every 2 hours or so. 
  7. Avoid gas producing foods and carbonated drinks before your flight.  Gas expands in the low air pressure and can cause discomfort.  Your seatbelt should be low on the hip bones, below your belly. 
  8. If you are prone to nausea, your ob-gyn or health care provider may be able to prescribe anti nausea medication. 
  9. If you are traveling by a ship, consider some travelers may experience seasickness whether they are pregnant or not.  If you have never cruised previously, planning your first one during pregnancy may not be a good idea.  However, if you have cruised before and had no issues you may not have a problem.  Make sure there is doctor or nurse onboard and that your ports of call are places with modern medical facilities in case there is a problem or emergency.  Before you leave, ask your health care provider which medications are safe for you to take to calm the common ailments that could happen while away.  A common concern onboard a cruise would also be the Norovirus. 
  10. Practice frequent hand washing and washing any fruits or vegetables before you eat them should help you stay healthy. 
  11. Before you book a cruise, you can check whether your ship has passed a health and safety inspection conducted by the CDC.  You can read these reports on the CDC website. You should also check on each company’s own regulations concerning sailing during pregnancy. 

Zika virus is now a common word that most travelers have heard about.  Generally causes no symptoms or mild symptoms.  Babies born to women infected with Zika virus are at risk of serious birth defects, including microcephaly and other brain abnormalities, and pregnancy loss.  No treatment.  Here are some ways to reduce your chances of becoming infected:

-Avoid travel to places where Zika virus is spreading.

-Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants

-Treat clothing and gear with permethrin or buy permethrin treated items.

-Get rid of all sources of standing water that can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

-Stay in air-conditioned and screened-in areas as much as possible. 

-Use EPA-registered bug spray with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or paramethane-diol.  Used as directed, these sprays are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

Malaria is another serious diseases carried by mosquitoes that presents a major risk to your pregnancy.  While you are pregnant, you should not travel to areas where there is a risk of malaria, including Africa, Central and South America, and Asia.  Pregnant women should not take the antimalarial drugs atovaquone and proguanil, doxycycline, or primaquine.

Food precautions should also be in effect.  If you are traveling to developing countries it comes with the risk of contaminated food and water.  People who live in those areas are used to the microorganisms in their food and drinking water, but travelers are not.  Travelers can become sick if they eat raw or undercooked food or drink local water.  If you get diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids to combat dehydrations.  Before taking a diarrhea treatment, check with your ob-gyn to make sure it is safe.  Be careful with ice and know where it is from. 

12.  Brush your teeth with bottled water if the water source is in doubt. 

13.  Avoid fresh fruits or vegetables unless they have been cooked or you have peeled them yourself. 

15.  Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish. 

15.  Do not consume milk or foods made with milk that have not been pasteurized. 

16. Always consult your own physician to receive his/her recommendations as they are familiar with your care and your personal medical records.

To learn more about travel during pregnancy, reach out to Konda at 

Source: Travel During Pregnancy from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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