Wondering about the safety of traveling during pregnancy?
Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby!
It’s a wonderful time in your life, and those 9 months will fly by. But if this is your first baby, you probably have a lot of questions. For today’s busy women, the issue of traveling when pregnant is often on their list.
Is there a good or bad time to travel while you’re pregnant? Are there places you shouldn’t go? Is this really the time for that dog sled trip to Antarctica? And what about flying, especially in these days of full body scans. Is that safe?
While you should always check with your midwife or doctor if you have health questions about traveling while pregnant, here are some good resources and tips to get you started.
Pick your destinations carefully
When you’re pregnant, issues like clean water, safe accommodations and access to emergency medical care are all more important. Before you book your tickets, check out your destination. Watch travel videos to get a feel for the location. If you’re traveling outside the U.S., make a visit to the Department of State website to see if there are any travel warnings, and avoid areas of high conflict.
Decide on the best way to travel
Long hours spent sitting in a car or on a plane can be very uncomfortable when you’re pregnant, so try to find a way to allow yourself to get up and walk around. Rather than booking an eight hour nonstop flight, consider breaking it up into two smaller flights with some time to walk around the airport in between, or do some yoga stretches. (Just make sure you allow enough time to get from one flight to another — it’s no fun to sprint through an airport when you’re seven months pregnant!)
Make sure your mode of travel allows for access to bathrooms. Even in the first trimester, you will be spending a lot of time visiting restrooms! Some buses and trains, particularly in other parts of the world, may not have bathrooms on board. Ask before you buy tickets.
Plan for your health
If your travel plans include areas far from big-city health care facilities, do your research before you make your travel plans. Are there hospitals near-by? Can visitors use local health care services? Is there a way to fly out if you or your baby’s life was at risk?
Check with a reliable air ambulance service to find out about access and costs. They can often advise you about regions where it would be very difficult to get emergency care or be evacuated, even in life-threatening situations.
Pack for comfort
No matter where you go, it’s important to think about your comfort when traveling when pregnant. Choose non-binding clothes in soft cotton, linen or silk. Limit the amount you have to carry…trade the big carry-on and full-sized laptop for a light weight backpack and a net book.
Traveling while pregnant can be a great adventure. With a little planning, you can make it a great experience for you and your baby-to-be!