Traveling During Pregnancy: What to Consider

Pregnancy can be a challenging time, and traveling can benefit the mother and child if done properly. What are some considerations to think about when planning a trip for a soon-to-be mother?

Dr. Helga


When to travel

The second trimester is most optimal for traveling — specifically, from the 14th week to the 28th week. At this stage, the expectant mother usually does not suffer from toxemia, the risk of miscarriage is minimal, there is still quite a long time before delivery, and the abdomen is not too big.

In the first trimester, you can travel if you feel well and your doctor allows it.

In the last trimester, you should refrain from long trips because with a big belly it is tiring. In addition, there can be difficulties with airlines, as we discuss below. Short trips are feasible if it is more than 4 weeks before delivery. After 36 weeks, it's better to stay home, as labor can start at any time.

How to travel

Rule #1 From maternal ailments to premature birth, make sure your health insurance plan covers all the risks associated with pregnancy. Yes, you probably will not need it, but it is better to have it. It's more peace of mind to know that medical care is available to you 24 hours a day when you need it.

Rule #2 Choose a country and a region with a good level of medicine. In Europe, Israel, and Japan the level of training of doctors and equipment of hospitals is somewhat different from Botswana or Nicaragua. It is good if the country’s doctors speak English to avoid misunderstandings during procedures.

Rule #3 Choose countries with a similar climate. Temperature changes are bad for blood vessels, and in the mountains, it is possible to experience significantly decreased oxygen. Optimal weather conditions are warmer (or colder) than 50–59 °F. The same applies to humidity: do not go to the desert or Southeast Asia in the rainy season, if these are unfamiliar conditions for you.

Rule #4 It is better to choose a shorter flight so you do not have problems with swelling and dehydration. A 4–5 hour long flight is the best option, even if you like longer flights. If you do not like flying, do not take a flight while pregnant. In general, however, traveling by plane for pregnant women is not dangerous, and the fear of radiation or the risk of premature birth is simply a myth.

Rule #5 Check the rules of the airline you plan to fly on: some do not take pregnant women who are more than 34 weeks pregnant, while others require a special form of certificate “permission to travel” from the doctor. This typically also applies to the longer trimester: if you are 14–28 weeks pregnant, you probably won't be asked for any additional documents.

Rule #6 If you are going to travel by car or train, remember that being in the same position can cause blood stasis or edema, and heat can cause dehydration. At least once every 2–3 hours, stretch, get out of the car or compartment to move around and drink plenty of water.

Rule #7 The sun is not only your friend — it can also be harmful. During pregnancy, there is a particularly high risk of unwanted pigmentation, bleeding, and heat stroke, so in addition to using sunscreen with maximum protection, it is recommended to wear clothes that cover the body, a hat. Even with these precautions, you should avoid the sun between 12 and 4 pm, which is when ultraviolet rays are most active.

Rule #8 Approach travel planning wisely. During pregnancy, you should avoid scuba diving, extended hiking, horseback riding, bike riding, and long walks.

Sitting in a bus or car for many hours can lead to a deterioration in your well-being. Visits to amusement parks and water parks are also strictly prohibited. The best vacation for expectant mothers is on the beach (just not in the hottest weather periods).

Swimming is a great fitness option for pregnant women, as it can help with relaxation and rest the back. Try to limit yourself to 15–20 minutes of relaxed, slow swimming. Overdoing it may cause harm both to you and the baby. If the water temperature is below 72 °F , refrain from swimming.

When not to travel

In some cases, travel is completely contraindicated for expectant mothers. The reasons include:

  • Bleeding
  • Previous miscarriages and/or premature births
  • High blood sugar
  • Gestosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Protein in the urine
  • Exacerbation of chronic diseases
  • Low location (presentation) of the placenta
  • Multiple pregnancy

07 June 2021

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