How To: Safe Traveling While Pregnant
It is generally discouraged to travel during pregnancy. Aside from the increased risk for the fetus, it can also be quite uncomfortable for the expecting mother. To make your trip as convenient, risk-free and comfortable as possible, planning and foresight is of primary importance.
Below are some of the things you need to do to have a successful trip during your pregnancy.
- Work around your pre-natal schedule.
Pre-natal care is one of the most important things you have to attend to during your pregnancy. The first few months of pregnancy are especially risky, and missing an appointment is definitely not advised. Screening for Down syndrome, chorionic villus sampling, nuchal translucency scan, amniocentesis and multiple marker screening are just some of the things that are addressed to during a pre-natal visit to your doctor.
This is the reason why it is wise to work your travel plans around your pre-natal schedule if possible.
Sure, you could meet some other doctor in some other state for your check-up but that would mean starting from scratch with your history and medical concerns. Do yourself a favor and schedule your trip before or after your scheduled pre-natal, not during. If you decide to travel after the schedule, you can even run through possible risks and concerns regarding travel with your doctor.
- Bring medical records, required medication, vital health information and emergency numbers.
You can never be too careful when you’re pregnant.
In the case where your OB/GYN gives you the “go signal” to travel, make sure to ask your doctor’s clinic for copies of your medical records, which may contain x-rays, ultrasounds, date of your last menstruation, vital signs and the most recent findings from your last check-up. Should you need to see another physician in another city, having your own medical records with you will make the meeting easier and more convenient. The additional information can also help your (new) doctor steer clear of medication that you are allergic to.
It is also important to have all the emergency numbers (important family members, hospitals, doctor’s clinic) encoded into your phone just in case you don’t have Wi-Fi or you can have it written down on a piece of paper, just in case your smart phone runs out of juice.
- Check airline travel insurance and health insurance policies.
Undoubtedly, traveling while pregnant is risky business but you can minimize your risk by checking airline policies regarding pregnant passengers and by purchasing travel insurance just in case you have to cut your trip short to go back home because of an emergency. In addition, check if your health insurance covers pregnancy related risks so that you can purchase additional coverage if necessary.
Have airline contact details and insurance contact details with you at all times.
- Immunization when traveling to developing countries.
Most vaccines, with the exception of the influenza vaccine, are either not suitable for pregnant women or have not been extensively researched for use by pregnant women.
This is going to make travel to developing countries a no-no where vaccines for malaria and typhoid fever are routinely administered to avoid non-immune tourists from contracting the diseases.
Because of the fact that you can’t get immunization and that the medicine you will have to take if you get sick will most likely be harmful to your baby, it is best to sit out trips to any of the world’s developing countries.
- Pregnancy and modes of travel.
Long distance travel can pose a risk for developing deep vein thrombosis, especially for pregnant women. You are at a greater risk if you are pregnant, have had DVP before, are more than 100kg or are having a multiple pregnancy (twins or more).
Pregnant women suffering from gestational diabetes and those who are having a multiple pregnancy are advised not to fly.
When traveling by car, it is best to sit on the back. If you find yourself seated in the passenger seat, adjust the seat to as far back as you can to minimize airbag impact during a collision.
In all types of long distance travel, be sure to stretch your legs as often as you can.
In general, the best time to travel is during your second trimester, especially if you are not expecting any complications. In any case, always consult your doctor before making plans to travel.