Travel During Pregnancy
Get the timing right
Taking a relaxing vacation before your baby is born can be a great idea, and babymoon breaks are on the rise. Traveling while pregnant is a wonderful experience, so long as you make informed choices. Most medical practioners recommend vacationing during your second trimester (week 13–28), as the risk of miscarriage and preterm labor is lower – so if you’re itching to get away, plan some time of during this period.
Flying during your first trimester isn’t ideal – you may feel under the weather with nausea and the risk of a miscarriage is much higher, regardless if you’re traveling or not. And as for third trimester, it can be an intense time, both physically and emotionally. We’ve all experienced feeling physically drained from a long day of travelling between airports and accommodation – doing that while pregnant could really take its toll.
It’s also worth mentioning that the closer you get to your due date, the likelihood of you being allowed to travel lessens. Most airlines will have their own policy about pregnant travelers, so it is best to check before you book anything.
Consult your OB/GYN
Before you jet off, make an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss your travel plans. It is important they know you are going away, so they can give you the best advice about keeping you and your baby safe. Make sure you get a signed note from your doctor approving your travels because some airlines require proof. Regardless, it is an important document to have.
There is a ongoing debate about the safety of vaccinations during pregnancy. There are plenty of places online to swot up both sides of argument, but the best course of action is to bring it up during your consultation with your GP.
Having said that, pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria. So if you’re planning a trip to Africa, South America, Central America, Asia or the Middle East, bear in mind that you may either need to take malaria prevention tablets or have a vaccine. Also take extra precaution against mosquitos by using repellent throughout the day, and cover up as much as you can.
Get the right insurance
The world of insurance is big and confusing – yet oh so important. When it comes to flying during pregnancy, cover is especially crucial. There is every likelihood that your holiday will run smoothly, but you need to make sure you’re covered for a range of eventualities, to be able to enjoy your time away with peace of mind.
Knowing where to start is often the hard part, but moneysupermarket.com is useful as a first port of call. You’ll be able to compare different quotes and work out which one is best for you.
Watch what you eat
Be diligent and don’t eat or drink anything you wouldn’t back home. That way you will avoid the risk of food-and-water-borne conditions such as stomach upsets and diarrhea. As a general rule, stick to bottled water, even if you think the tap water is safe. And as for food, pack some snacks in your suitcase and hand luggage, that way you have something to keep your energy up in between meals that you know is completely safe to eat.
Ok, so flight stockings aren’t the most glamorous accessory, but they will become your best friend on flights. Long-haul flights carry the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), so whack those stockings on as soon as you embark the plane and it will be one less thing to worry about.
Another way to prevent DVT is moving about. If you are by the window and worried about bothering the people next to you, don’t be. You have to make yourself as comfortable as possible, just as much as they do. Just take 5 minutes every so often to move up and down the cabin.
If someone offers you a seat at the airport or while on vacation say YES without hesitation. Someone offering you a seat is not a sign that you look like you are struggling. Many people know how difficult is to carry a child for nine months, either through experience themselves or someone they know. They probably just want to give you a break, so take them up on their offer.
Once you are on vacation, actually take the time to enjoy it. Pregnancy is overwhelming and tiring so it is normal to take some time out. Don’t worry about missing out because you won’t be, instead you’ll be fully rested and energized for a few hours of exploring.
It probably goes without saying, but extreme activities are a no-go. Avoid all activities that put you at risk of falling so this means giving horse riding, water skiing and climbing a miss. You also need to give scuba diving any pressurized sports a miss too, because air bubbles could form in your blood stream, and be transferred to the baby. If you really want to do some activities swap those extreme ones for gentle activity like walking and swimming.
The culture of the bump
You may find that your bump gets attention while you are on vacation It is nothing to worry about, just some deserved admiration. If someone asks to touch your bump or immediately does and it throws you off, ensure you know where you draw the line, and let them know about it. If you’re not one for the spotlight, hide yourself away in the spa – that always does the trick.