What you Need to Know about Travelling while Pregnant
Travelling while pregnant is generally done best before the third trimester begins. Still, a holiday while pregnant is much deserved.
While you plan to travel, your safety and that of your baby is of great importance. Here are a few tips you could use as you plan for your holiday and travel.
Before You Travel:
Choose your holiday destination with caution. You want a place that will be safe, relaxing and will not predispose you to ill health. The area should not be one that has endemic diseases or one that needs you to be vaccinated before travel as you want to take none or as little medication as possible during your pregnancy. Ensure the place has a facility that can take care of you in case of an emergency and keep the contacts with you. If your holiday destination is a Malaria prone area, ensure you carry a repellent cream to keep mosquitoes off and check with the hotel if they offer mosquito nets. Pack clothes that will cover both your arms and legs while you are out at night.
Consult Your Health Care Provider:
Visit your Midwife or Obstetrician for your regular check up and clearance for the trip. Ensure you discuss the mode of travel and destination and agree on care while you are there. Take a copy of your prenatal record with you that has details of your prenatal visits, medications you have been on and any other necessary information to be provided to a doctor if you need to see one during your holiday.
Mode of travel:
This will be guided by the discussion with your healthcare provider.
Travel by Road:
- Estimate the distance and travel time. Plan for stops for every two hours of travel so you can take a break and stretch. As much as is possible, try not drive as it makes you tired.
- If using public transport, choose a favorable vehicle, one that will be more comfortable and has planned stops.
- It is safe to travel by air as long as you and your baby are well. Most airlines prefer that you do not travel after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Check with the airline what their policy is and if need be get a clearance letter from your Doctor or Midwife.
- Everyone is predisposed to blood clots on their legs with long travel. Buy yourself a pair of tight stockings, these help prevent the clots and reduce swelling of your feet.
- If you are planning for a cruise, check their policies too and get a letter from your health care provider if need be. •
- Ensure they have facilities to take care of you in case you go into labor. •
- Ferries too have their restrictions, check on that too.
During Your Travel:
- Dress comfortably; keep in mind the weather at the various areas you will pass through. Keep a sweater or shawl near you to keep yourself warm if need be. Wear easy closed shoes; they are good for walking along different terrains and help reduce feet swelling.
- Carry a pillow to sit on or support your back.
- Pack snacks you can eat on the way. Nuts, dried fruits, chocolates, whole meal cookies are great as they keep your blood sugar level where it should be and your energy levels up too. Drink plenty of water too.
- Traveling by road, ensure you are comfortably seated with your seat belt on at all times across your chest and pelvis. Take breaks every two hours, and every time the vehicle stops to stretch and visit the washroom.
- On a plane, get the seat nearest to the washroom. Ensure you do the calf tightening exercises and the ankle exercises constantly; stand up to stretch every two hours.
During Your Holiday:
- Remember you are on holiday, relax and enjoy your time. Only avoid activities that present a risk to you and baby like skiing, diving, sauna and hot baths.
- Limit travel to 6 hours per day.
- Eat at trusted places only. This helps prevent food poisoning. If you have to try out a new food type, ensure it is well cooked. Raw foods are risky but if you have to eat them, ensure they are cleaned well. Drink clean water, preferably purified.
Ensure you return home early so that you give yourself at least three days to relax before resuming your usual daily activities.
Have a Safe trip and a Lovely Holiday
Read more about pregnancy and birth on Lucy’s blog.
Photo credit: Zawadi Nyong’o