With the end of the summer looming ahead, you may have a babymoon coming up in your soon-to-be future – a relaxing family getaway to Florida or maybe even a spa trip to Hawaii. However, while pregnant, traveling may seem more hazardous and a bit more stressful than it did in college.
Don’t let your pregnancy scare you off from all travel! As long as there are no identified complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is generally safe to travel at all times during your pregnancy. The ideal time to travel is the second trimester, as usually you are past the morning sickness of the first trimester and several weeks from the third stage of pregnancy when you are more easily fatigued.
Here are some tips to make traveling while pregnant a little less scary:
Time your trip accurately.
As mentioned earlier, take advantage of your second trimester! After overcoming the nausea of the first trimester, you are not yet overwhelmingly tired. According to Dr. Aron Schuftan, a California-based OB-GYN, it’s best to schedule your travel between the 20 week and 30 week marks to ensure you are feeling your absolute best while making memories! The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that occasional travel up to 36 weeks is considered safe for women who are at low-risk for medical emergencies, but airlines have their own cutoffs and documentation requirements. It’s advised to speak with your healthcare provider about any concerns before planning your trip, and check with the airline prior to booking flights to see their policies for pregnant travelers. If takeoff is within 30 days of your due date some airlines may require a doctor’s note, but restrictions may apply according to the airline carrier.
If you do plan to venture abroad, especially if your plans include malaria-endemic regions or destinations that require a vaccination, consult with your doctor well in advance of your trip.
Call the airline ahead of time and explain your situation.
Call the airline you are flying with ahead of time and explain that you are pregnant and might need a seat closer to the bathroom and in the aisle. Not only will you almost certainly need to get up to go to the restroom during flights, but you’ll also want to get up and stretch your legs. Getting an aisle seat can give you the freedom to get up and move around when you need and provide a more harmonious experience with fellow passengers in the seats next to you. An unfortunate side effect of both pregnancy and adequate hydration is needing to go to the bathroom frequently. And like most of us, you don’t want to be tortured by the “remain seated” sign throughout the flight. Take advantage of restrooms when they are accessible, even if you don’t think you need to go, and use the facilities in case, just as your three-year-old does (or how your mom used to make you). Your bladder will thank you later.
Choose your destination and activities wisely.
Traveling abroad for the last hurrah before baby arrives is definitely tempting. Picking the most exotic and far-off destination on the map may seem loads of fun at the moment but will require more planning and restrictions while pregnant. If you do plan to venture abroad, especially if your plans include malaria-endemic regions or destinations that require a vaccination, consult with your doctor well in advance of your trip. Additionally, if you are an adrenaline junkie or love high impact sports, that is an absolute no while pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women avoid sleeping at altitudes higher than 12,000 feet. More importantly, the activities you do should be safe for you and safe for baby as well. Scuba diving, for example, is an absolute no while pregnant due to the pressure and deprivation of oxygen. Avoid high-risk activities like skiing, snowboarding, skydiving–anything that can hurt you can hurt the baby as well.
Stay hydrated and pack provisions.
Bringing a lot of water with you and a bunch of snacks is highly important as well. Making sure you stay hydrated on the plane as well as at your destination is imperative to your health and the baby’s health as well. Getting dehydrated can exacerbate symptoms like nausea, fatigue, cramping, and constipation and increase risks of complications like preterm labor. Make sure you always have water with you and take small sips every few minutes even when you’re not thirsty. Similarly, an empty stomach can make issues like morning sickness worse, and drops in blood sugar can lead to feeling faint. Be sure to have healthy snacks on hand and within easy reach to keep nausea at bay and blood sugar levels normal.
Overall, don’t let your pregnancy scare you off from travel! It is doable and can be very enjoyable to spend some time with family and friends before the new baby comes charging into your life. Enjoy the peace and quiet while it lasts!