Whether you’re moving to another location, taking a weekend babymoon, or traveling to a foreign country, travel is often part of pregnancy. But as with most things while pregnant, it’s important to be as safe as possible. Here are some useful tips:
1. Fly During the Second Trimester
Flying to your destination? Give some thought to the timing. It’s usually pretty safe for women with low-risk pregnancies to travel, but some times are better than others.
“When you’re pregnant, the best time for air travel is during your second trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is significantly lower and—for most women, anyway—morning sickness has subsided,” Emily Kaufman writes for TODAY. “The second trimester is also when many moms-to-be have more energy than they did in their first trimester, and more stamina than they will later on.”
Already have a trip planned for your third trimester? Don’t stress about it too much. There’s no hard and fast rule on when you can’t travel, though most airlines recommend not traveling after 36 weeks. This is simply because there’s an increased chance of delivery.
2. Research International Guidelines and Restrictions
If you’re traveling internationally, there might be some guidelines and restrictions on when and how you can travel. For example, new visa restrictions make it more challenging for pregnant women to enter the United States. (These rules exist to prevent people from entering the country to gain birthright citizenship for their newborn children.) Similar restrictions may exist for Americans traveling to other countries.
3. Observe These Smart Air Travel Tips
When flying, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you’re comfortable, safe, and healthy. Here are some considerations:
- When buckling up during air travel, fasten the lap belt so that it rests underneath your abdomen. This will prevent added pressure on your belly (and baby).
- Pregnant women are more prone to circulatory issues. When safe to do so, take occasional walks up and down the airplane aisles. (If required to be seated, you can do simple ankle roll exercises to keep your legs from swelling up too badly.)
- The presence of low humidity in the cabin makes you more prone to dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids. However, avoid carbonated drinks, as entrapped gasses can expand at altitude and cause discomfort.
Mostly, you’ll just want to use common sense. If you’re ever in doubt, you can ask your doctor for advice on how to proceed.
4. Make Healthy Decisions
Airplanes and airports aren’t known for having the healthiest food options. (They can also be very expensive.) But it’s important that you continue to maintain a healthy and balanced diet while you’re pregnant. Avoid consuming empty calories by packing some fresh snacks.
“Consider packing healthy snacks like dried fruit and vegetables if you can,” travel blogger Holly Johnson suggests. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also recommends eating whole grain toast or crackers when you’re feeling nauseous or unwell, and healthy crackers should be easy to pack in your bag and bring along.”
The same goes for the duration of your trip. Once you land, visit a supermarket and stock up on some fresh and healthy snack options that you can store in your hotel room. This will keep you from relying on the unhealthy food choices.
5. Dress in Layers
Your body isn’t nearly as efficient at regulating temperature when you’re pregnant. It’s easy to go from extremely hot to very cold without much in between. The best way to combat these wild swings is to dress in layers. This makes it easy to warm up or cool down at any moment.
6. Have a Backup Plan in Place
It doesn’t matter if you’re 28 weeks or 40 weeks, it’s always smart to have a backup plan in place when traveling while pregnant. Have your doctor’s number saved in your phone, get familiar with the closest hospital, and have some items set aside just in case you do suddenly go into labor.
7. Take it Easy
There’s something to be said for slowing down and taking a more leisurely pace on this trip. Easy does it!
“Even if you were a type A go-getter pre-pregnancy, resist the urge to overdo it while traveling,” Kaufman advises. Really, you don’t have to see every single tourist attraction or visit every single family member in a 50 mile radius. Plan to take things slowly and don’t overload your schedule. Enjoy your trip, relax—and consider booking a prenatal massage when you get home.”
If you have a hard time slowing down, you might consider avoiding travel in the weeks leading up to your due date. It’ll make things much easier on your body and growing baby.
Speak With Your Doctor
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to make smart choices that are right for your health and the health of your developing baby. When in doubt, always consult with your doctor to get a professional medical opinion on whether it’s safe to travel. As you get closer to your due date, it’s wise to stay home and begin preparing for the birth of your child.