By Jak Burke,
As the vacation season commences or if you’re newly pregnant and you travel frequently for work or simply planning a Babymoon before junior arrives – the question arises: how safe is it to fly or travel when pregnant? The good news is that there is no medical reason why a pregnant woman shouldn’t take a flight or a road trip. That doesn’t mean however that you shouldn’t take precautions.
The ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) advises that the best time to travel is between 14 – 28 weeks’ gestation because most emergency situations take place before or after that time. This also removes the common problem of morning (and all-day) nausea which is not pleasant on a plane, bus or car. After 28-weeks your belly is also increasingly large and so checking in, going through security and boarding a plane or a tightly packed bus, might be that much more uncomfortable.
What about if it’s later?
If you must travel after 28-weeks you should get a letter from your M.D or obstetrician. The majority of airlines will not allow a pregnant woman over 36-weeks to take a flight. If you are due to stay in a location for more than a few days you might want to register with a local M.D and carry a copy of your medical files. If you have any symptoms that are causing concern or anxiety you can at least get some advice or a check-up.
If you are to be on a long-haul flight or traveling cross-country by car you need to be aware of the risks: according to PnMag: “Pregnancy in general is a hypercoagulable state,” explains James Betoni, DO, co-author of The Pregnancy Power Workbook and OB/GYN in Boise, Idaho, which means expectant women are at an increased risk for blood clots.”
The best remedy to this is to simply make sure that you get to move about regularly – so walk up and down the aisle and take car stops on a road trip to stretch your legs.
When it comes to lifting or moving heavy luggage you should pay attention to not straining yourself. Ask for assistance if need-be. It’s important to bear in mind that during pregnancy the hormone relaxin, (relaxes your pelvic joints in anticipation of labor), loosens all of your other joints as well. This means that it’s easier for you to trip or sprain a muscle particularly if you are wearing high-heels.
As any seasoned traveler will attest a packed plane can be a germ incubator as can public restrooms along a highway. So do pack hand-sanitizers, and take extra doses of vitamin C to support your immune system. If you are traveling during flu season consider getting a shot.
The best way to protect yourself in tropical climes is to use a natural SPF 30 but also wear hats and light long-sleeved clothing. Also opt for natural bug repellents. Concerned about the Zika virus? Read our previous articles about it here.
Food and Drink
As at home, so away – it’s important to always follow the guidelines for pregnant women in regards to nutrition and consuming raw, or unpasteurized or foods not fully cooked. Tap water should also be avoided though it’s essential that you regularly hydrate (buy sealed bottled water from a reputable company) because foreign countries will expose visitors to new microbes and bacteria and diarrhea can be a side-effect.
In conclusion, if your pregnancy is proceeding normally and you are between 14-28 weeks there is no reason why you shouldn’t continue to travel so long as you stick to the guidelines above. Bon Voyage!
photo credit: cheapflights