Now that your partner is pregnant, you will need to plan well ahead if she intends to travel anywhere in the next nine months... Perhaps you see the last chance in a while to take a holiday somewhere... maybe you are both away from home and plan on having the baby closer to family and friends... There are many reasons to travel whilst pregnant, so read on to ensure you have all relevant information traveling during pregnancy at your fingertips...
When is the best time to travel if your partner is pregnant?
You MUST get the go-ahead from your doctor before traveling, to ensure that he/she can provide advice based on your circumstances. In general, with healthy pregnancies, the second trimester is seen as the safest period to travel long distances. The risk of miscarriage is lower after the first trimester and most doctors and airlines will not allow travel after a certain number of weeks pregnancy (usually around 28 weeks), although a doctor's note is sometimes requested by airlines for women up to 32 weeks pregnant. High-risk pregnancies or a history of miscarriage will often lead to being advised to not travel.
General pointers of traveling during pregnancy:
- Try not to travel (especially abroad) if there is any history of miscarriage, premature labor, bleeding, high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia.
- Traveling with multiple pregnancies is not a good idea.
- Move around regularly wherever possible (either by regular stops or walking around in a confined space).
- Ensure that travel insurance covers all eventualities (including the baby if born whilst away).
- Check with your doctor about which vaccinations are safe to take and which should be avoided (live vaccines should generally be avoided).
- Avoid regions where malaria is known to be prevalent.
- Drink only clean water that you are sure is safe. Avoid ice cubes in drinks if you are not confident in the local water source.
- Keep hydrated to avoid cramps and maintain the correct amniotic fluid levels.
- Consult your physician before any traveling whilst pregnant.
- Carry your health documentation with you.
- Ensure all meats are fully cooked through.
- Avoid certain holiday sports. Click here for details.
Modes of transport for traveling during pregnancy:
Car Travel (as a passenger)
Even though car travel is seen as generally safe, the constant vibrations and bumps can cause concern. For this reason, a good planning is required. Restrict travel to about 300 miles per day and try not to travel more than 2 days in a row. Plan for plenty of rest stops to allow your partner to stretch her limbs, get the blood circulating properly and go to the bathroom.
Wear a seat belt, with the lower strap beneath the belly and the shoulder strap in the normal position, avoiding any pressure on the baby. Keep the air bags turned on.
Driving a Car whilst pregnant
There are generally no major problems to drive when pregnant, so long as some general guidelines are followed and she can still fit into the seat:
- Always wear the seat belt as described above.
- Keep the airbag turned on.
- Do not drive when tired.
- Avoid driving more and more as the pregnancy goes on (even short journeys can cause discomfort later in pregnancy).
- Remember that reflexes and concentration are reduced later in pregnancy, so try to only drive in good conditions and leave plenty of distance to allow reactions to any situations that may arise.
Also, do not drive to the delivery room if at all possible! If your partner is left alone at the time of delivery, then a call to the fire, police or ambulance services is the preferred option.
Train, Bus/coach travel
These forms of transport are seen as generally safe, however, they can pose their own challenges. The narrow aisles, small toilets, and minimal breaks mean that things can become very uncomfortable. When moving around, use the handrails to keep balanced and remain seated when the vehicle is moving wherever possible (use the rest stops or station stops to move around and get the circulation moving properly). Try to limit travel time to 5 or 6 hours per day.
Sea travel is generally safe, however, ensure that a doctor is available on the boat in case they are needed and only use a motion sickness medicine if it has been approved by your doctor.
Air Travel during pregnancy
Although air travel is normally seen as safe for a healthy pregnancy, permission to travel by air should be sought from your medical practitioner. Many airlines will ask for a doctor's certificate if traveling late on in a pregnancy (check ahead of time for the requirements of your particular airline company).
The conditions in a pressurized cabin do not pose a significant risk to pregnant women (several studies have been done on air stewardesses), however, flying in a smaller non-pressurised plane should be avoided. If there is no choice but to use this mode of transport, then try to stay below 2000 meters.
Choosing an aisle seat will allow getting up for the bathroom easier. Taking regular walks within the cabin will help with blood circulation, but keep hold of the seat backs in case of turbulence. The seat belt should remain attached under the belly.