Is it safe to travel during pregnancy?

travel during pregnancy

Usually it is safe to travel during the first eight months of pregnancy. The main concerns with travel during pregnancy are access to medical care, discomfort, getting enough exercise and fluids, and having a healthy diet. If you have any medical or obstetric complications, such as poorly controlled diabetes, placental problems, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, your provider may recommend that you not travel at any time during your pregnancy.

If you plan to travel, discuss the trip with your healthcare provider. Talk about:

• The distance and length of the trip
• The mode of travel
• Any suggestions for things you should or should not do before, during or after the trip.

Generally the safest time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester (13 to 28 weeks). At this time you probably feel your best and you are in the least danger of having a miscarriage or premature labor. Avoid traveling any long distance during the last 2 or 3 weeks before your due date. If labor starts early, you will want to be close to home.

What are the general guidelines for travel during pregnancy?

• See your health care provider just before you leave on your trip. Ask your provider if you will need any prenatal care visits with you are traveling, and if so, where you might go for prenatal care.
• Take a copy of your prenatal record with you.
• Ask your healthcare provider for the name of a doctor in the city or area you will be visiting.
• Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
• Eat healthy meals and snacks. Meals may be unpredictable while traveling. Carry snacks with you. Eat enough ber in your meals to
avoid constipation.
• Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Carry a water bottle with you.
• Do not take any medicines, including non-prescription medicines, without your health care provider’s permission.
• Get up and walk often while traveling. Stop walking when you’re tired.
• Get enough sleep and rest to avoid tiredness.
• If you have to sit for a long time, alternate pointing and raising your feet often. Walking and moving your arms improves blood ow to your body. This prevents blood clots from forming in the legs and pelvis.
• Keep your travel plans as exible as possible. Problems might develop at the last minute and you might have to cancel your trip. Unless it is
absolutely necessary, do not plan any trips during the third trimester of your pregnancy.
What are the guidelines for traveling by car?
• Do not ride in the care more than 6 hours each day. Stop every 1 to 2 hours for some exercise, such as walking.
• Always wear a seatbelt. A seat belt is safe for both the mother and the baby when worn properly. If the seat belt is only a lap belt, place the lap portion under your abdomen and shoulder belt across your shoulder and between your breasts. Air bags are safe but you must also wear a seat belt. The gas used in air bags won’t hurt you or the baby. If you are in an accident, you should see a doctor to check you and make sure you and your baby are ok.
• Motorcycle travel is not recommended during pregnancy.

What if I am traveling by bus or train?

You may have less opportunity to walk every couple of hours when you travel by bus. Take advantage of any stops the bus makes to get some exercise.

• When you are traveling by train, get up and walk every hour or two.
• Remember that there are fewer bathrooms on a bus than a train.
• The motion of a train rider will not cause any problems with the pregnancy, such as starting labor.

Are there special concerns for traveling by air?

Flying is usually a safest way to travel. Most domestic airlines will allow pregnancy women to y up to the 36th week of pregnancy if there are no problems with the pregnancy. Each airline has a policy regarding pregnant and ying. Check with your airline when you reserve your tickets to see if you need to complete any medical forms.

Suggested guidelines for traveling by air are:

• Try to get an aisle seat at the bulkhead (the wall that separates rst class from coach) to have the most space and comfort. If you are more concerned
about a smoother ride, you may prefer a seat over the wing in the mid-plane region.
• Wear layered clothing because temperature in the cabin may change during the ight.
• Drink lots of uids because the air in the plane can be very dry.
• IF you want a special meal ob the plane, you can usually order it in advance on most ights.
• Eat small meals to help avoid air sickness.
• During smooth ights, walk every half hour and ex and stretch your ankles often to avoid swelling.
• Wear a seat belt below your abdomen whenever you are in your seat.

Are there any problems with traveling by sea or ship?

Seasickness is a concern for many people traveling by sea. Your health care provider may recommend medicine that helps prevent motion sickness and is safe during pregnancy. You might consider trying acupressure wristbands. Be aware that medical services on a ship are very limited.

What are the guidelines for traveling internationally?

You should not travel out of the country without discussing it first with your health care provider. Your provider may decide foreign travel is not safe for you. If it is safe, your provider will let you know what should be done before you leave and when you arrive at your destination. You may want to register with an American Embassy or Consulate after you arrive. It is important to make sure you have had all the shots you need for countries you are planning to visit. Some immunizations cannot be given to pregnant women.
Make sure your health insurance is valid abroad and during pregnancy. Also check that the policy covers a newborn if you were to give birth during your travels. Be especially cautious about what you eat in countries where traveler’s diarrhea might be a problem. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, which reduces the blood ow to the placenta and your baby.

• Do not drink untreated water, including ice cubes in drinks.
• Avoid food and beverages from street vendors.
• Eat only foods that are cooked and still hot, or fruits and vegetables that you peel yourself.
• Do not eat raw or partially cooked sh or shellsh, including such dishes as ceviche. Fully cooked sh and shellsh are safe.
• Brushing your teeth with untreated water is usually safe. Most toothpaste contains antibacterial substances. Do not swallow water.
• Carbonated soft drinks and water, bottled water, wine and beer are usually safe without ice. Do not add ice that has been made from tap water.
• Avoid uncooked dairy products.
• Ask your healthcare provider what medicines are safe to take to help prevent traveler’s diarrhea when you are pregnant.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an International Traveler’s Hotline for information on disease and world travel. The phone number is (404)-332-4459. The CDC traveler’s health website is

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. Published by McKesson Health Solutions, LLC

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