Everyone loves to travel, but sometimes life events can get in the way. Work, school, and social commitments can make taking a vacation challenging. Family can also make travel challenging, especially for people who are just starting one. Many people believe that traveling is impossible while pregnant, but, by following a few simple tips (and talking with a physician, of course!) it can be just as fun while pregnant as it would be at any other time.
Traveling while pregnant is generally safe unless otherwise indicated by a physician. Before planning a trip during pregnancy, however, talk with your primary care doctors about what you will be doing and whether it is advisable to do so. A doctor may recommend changing travel plans slightly depending on your specific situation.
The second trimester of pregnancy is considered the best time for travel as morning sickness has generally ended and other related early risk factors are reduced. Some airlines do have rules regarding pregnant travel, and these are typically related to having medical approval before traveling during the ninth month.
In addition to speaking with a doctor and planning your trip for the right time, there are some other medical issues to consider before you go, especially when it comes to travel to a developing country. Pregnancy makes things a little tricky in terms of vaccination. The table on the left explains which vaccines pregnant women should and should not generally receive. It is always best to discuss any risk factors with a doctor or Passport Health Travel Specialist to make the right vaccination decision for you. There are some vaccines that are recommended for mothers whether they are traveling or not, specifically Tdap (which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, or whooping cough) and influenza. These vaccines will provide the baby with protection once it is born when the vaccine is given during pregnancy.
During a trip, there are some guidelines to follow that can help protect a pregnant mother as well as the baby.
When traveling by car, be sure to always buckle-up and have the airbags turned on. Even though airbags do pose a certain risk, the benefits outweigh the potential risks to the mother and child. Try to limit the amount of time spent in the vehicle to no more than five or six hours, and make frequent stops to stretch and keep blood circulating. If traveling by plane, try to get an aisle seat so you can easily get up more often to reach the restroom or stretch. Your airplane neighbors will thank you.
Almost any form of travel poses a risk of motion sickness, especially for expecting mothers. Consult with a doctor or a Passport Health Travel Specialist about which medications and motion sickness prevention strategies are best suited for your situation.
Maybe the easiest, but also most important, part of traveling while pregnant is to have fun! Wear comfortable clothing, bring a comfortable pillow, and enjoy your trip. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean the fun has to stop!
Are you pregnant and planning a trip? Where are you going, and what are you doing to prepare? Comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page. Or, if 140 characters is more your style, send us a tweet on Twitter!