Whether you’re traveling by car, bus, or train, it is typically safe to travel while you’re pregnant; however, there are a few things to make note of that could make your trip safer and more comfortable.
Always buckle up whenever you ride in a car and keep the airbags turned on. This is a rule of thumb to follow whether you are pregnant or not! Try to limit the time you spend cooped up in the car, bus, or train. Take frequent breaks if possible. Use rest stops to take short strolls and do stretches. This will help maintain blood circulation.
Traveling by air is considered safe for pregnant women up until a certain point. The second trimester would probably be the best time to fly. Later, your growing belly could make airport maneuvers less comfortable.
Most airlines have narrow aisles and smaller bathrooms, so it could be challenge to walk and may be uncomfortable when you need to use the restroom. Due to potential turbulence that could cause the plane to shake, hold on to the seat backs while navigating the aisle. Avoid gassy foods (i.e., beans, cabbage, broccoli). They could make you more uncomfortable in-flight. Stay hydrated during the flight. If you get dehydrated, it can diminish blood flow to the uterus. Pick an aisle seat so it’s easier for you to get up when you need to use the restroom, or simply to stretch your legs and back. Try to walk every half hour or so during a smooth flight. It’ll help keep blood flowing. In the seat, flex and extend your ankles to improve circulation. Schedule a check up with your ob-gyn before you leave and consider travel insurance should your plans need to change. Some international flights prohibit travel after 28 weeks. Check with your airline prior to booking Travel is not recommended for pregnant women in areas where Zika infection is ongoing. For up to date travel advisories check wwwnc,cdc,gov/travel/notices/
It’s recommended for women who have complicated pregnancies with risk factors for premature labor, preeclampsia, soon-to-be-momma’s carrying multiples, to avoid travel later in pregnancy. Risk factors that warrant travel considerations would include things like severe anemia, cardiac disease, respiratory disease, labile hypertension, a recent hemorrhage, or current or recent bone fractures.
Traveling overseas is safe for the most part for pregnant women, but the motion of the boat can bring out any morning sickness or make you feel nauseous all over again. Follow these guidelines to avoid and you will be smooth sailing!
Check with the cruise line to make sure that there’s a health care provider on board in case you experience any pregnancy complications. Look over the route and port-of-calls to see if there’s access to any medical facilities if needed. Make sure any medications for seasickness are approved for pregnant women and that there’s no risk to the developing baby. Seasickness bands use acupressure points to help prevent an upset tummy and may be a good alternative to medication.
If you are traveling internationally, it’s important to speak with your health care provider before your trip to address safety factors for you and your baby. Go over immunizations with your health care provider and carry a copy of your health records with you.
When it comes to international travel, you could be exposed to a disease that is rare here in the United States, but is common in the country you visit.
Diarrhea, for example is a common concern when traveling overseas because you’re not used to the germs and organisms found in the food and water of other countries. This can lead to dehydration. To avoid this, be sure to drink lots of bottled water, or use a reusable bottle of your own to refill. You can also avoid getting sick and get the most out of your travels by:
Making sure the milk is pasteurized. Avoiding fresh fruits and veggies unless they’ve been cooked or peeled (i.e. orange, banana) Making sure all the meat and fish has been cooked the right amount. Don’t eat it if it seems questionable. Dressing comfortably and wearing comfy shoes. Bringing your go-to pillow. Carrying healthy snacks with you.
If you’re traveling any distance, don’t forget to carry a copy of your prenatal records.
If your travel plans involve you and your young children high up in the air, here are some of the best tips to follow to make toddler air travel more bearable.
Take advantage of an aisle seat. Your little tot might beg to see what’s out the window, but you’ll be glad you’re in the aisle seat when you start losing track of how many times your fidgety toddler wants to get out of their seat to walk, asks you for something else that’s stored in the overhead bin, or needs a trip to the bathroom.
Plan wisely for the security line. Your best bet is to have a light, foldable stroller for when going through security. It’ll make your life easier to fold it up when it’s your turn and place it on the conveyor belt. You’ll probably want the stroller to keep your kid moving while you’re in the airport. Verify with your airline to be sure, you might be able to check it in at the curb, ticket counter, or gate, or take it right down the jet way and leave it at the plane’s door before you board. If that’s the case, it’ll be waiting for you at the door once you land. Slip-on shoes (for you and your toddler) are also a great idea at the security checkpoint.
If you’re by yourself, don’t be timid about asking the flight crew for assistance. It can be almost impossible to lift a bag and put it in the overhead bin while holding a child. So ask a flight attendant (or fellow passenger) for a hand, they should be happy to help. And while you’re at it, consider asking for extra pillows, blankets, or water if necessary.
Remember that there’s no such thing as over packing supplies. Bring as many snacks and toys as you can fit into your carry-on luggage. Snack ideas include mini sandwiches, cut-up vegetables, and string cheese. Bring twice as many diapers as you could possibly need (if your toddler is still wearing them), endless wipes and hand sanitizer, and at least one change of clothes for your child.
Regulate ear pain by bringing lollipops for takeoff and landing. The sucking will help prevent your child’s little ears from feeling the pain of the air-pressure changes in the cabin during those times. Another method to keep ears clear is to munch on crunchy snacks that require a lot of chewing. Last but not least, try encouraging your toddler to yawn by yawning yourself, as yawns are contagious! This should help pop his or her ears if they get clogged on the plane’s way up or down.
Childproof your suitcases and carry-ons. Hide anything potentially hazardous or eye-grabbing from your kid. Have your medications stored separately in Ziploc bags for the security line or one-a-day pill containers. Make sure the pills in the baggies stay in their original childproofed bottles and those bags are sealed shut. Pack them in your zipped carry-on luggage if you can’t put them in your checked suitcase.
If you need more tips on how to handle traveling during pregnancy and/or with your little one, sit down and chat with Dr. Ghea, a top female OBGYN in Fort Lauderdale that would be more than happy to assist you and provide you with other related women’s health tips. You can set up an appointment with her at Westside OB/GYN Group, a Plantation OBGYN office, by calling 954-473-2011 or filling out an online request.