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Travel tips during pregnancy

Pregnant women are often told not to exert themselves a lot. Even as modern science continues to dispel myths and erroneous notions on physical activity and travel during pregnancy, most people still don’t recommend travelling to expectant mothers.

With the Covid pandemic presenting additional restrictions, the belief that mothers-to-be must remain indoors is even stronger today. However, doctors believe that women can easily travel well into the end of full term, unless the pregnancy is a difficult one, Of course, there are several precautions to be taken to ensure the safety of the mother and the child while doing so.

Best time to travel in pregnancy

Every woman’s pregnancy experience is different. For those who don’t have any discomfort like morning sickness at the start, traveling is usually not a problem. Those who do experience some difficulty in the beginning could wait until the second trimester when things have settled in to make their travel plans.

Depending on your previous experiences with childbirth and the discomforts that the third trimester brings, traveling closer to your due date may or may not be a good idea. Women with a history of preterm labour, excessive bleeding post-delivery, shortness of breath, dizziness and other such issues are encouraged to stay closer to their primary health care provider during the third trimester.

Air or road

When presented with a choice between air and road trips, pregnant women are advised to opt for the latter. However, flying is not completely prohibited in case of a reasonably healthy pregnancy.

In either case, ensure that you have all your medical records on you and are carrying medicines required for common ailments. Make sure not to travel for very long at a stretch. Avoid being out in the sun for too long and don’t engage in activities that would tire you out. Keep a lot of buffer time to ensure you have plenty of time to stop and rest whenever required.

It is advisable to consult your doctor and run your travel plans through them. This is especially important if you’re going on a holiday as seemingly safe activities like horseback riding, trekking, and even taking a sauna could have detrimental effects on your health.

While flying

During a road trip

Vaccinations and medication

Pregnant women are strongly recommended to take the seasonal flu vaccines before undertaking any travel. Depending on your destination, your doctor might also ask you to take other vaccines including those for Zika virus, malaria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and yellow fever.

When travelling abroad, take very good care of what you consume as food poisoning can even lead to loss of pregnancy. Avoid taking any over-the-counter medicine, even those used to treat common ailments like diarrhea.

Covid considerations

Before making your plans, check the news for the Covid spread in your destination. Usually, local governments (both state and federal) update travel advisory related to specific destinations. Make sure you are abreast of these developments.

Get fully vaccinated before you make your plans.

Make sure to pack enough antibacterial wipes and sanitiser.

Wear a mask every time you are around a lot of peopleand avoid touching your face.

Plan for an emergency

It is wise to plan for any situation that may be likely to arise when you’re traveling. This includes keeping a contingency plan ready at your destination.

You could get in touch with a local hospital or healthcare provider to help with any prenatal tests or screenings you may have to undergo if you plan on staying for long.

If undertaking a road trip, keep a list of hospitals en route, their addresses and contact details handy.

Save some important contact details including phone numbers readily available on your phone. You could even write down all these details in an easily accessible note.

Don’t travel if…

While traveling is generally safe for a relatively healthy pregnancy, there are certain situations where doctors would not recommend it. They include:

While these are the general precautions advised by experts, do discuss your travel plans with your own obstetrician who will be best placed to provide you the best advice.

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