Travelling is an area of concern for pregnant women. But if you are healthy and without any complications, then there is no reason why you can’t travel. However, consult your gynaecologist before you plan your trip.
When to travel
The safest time for combining pregnancy and travel is during the second trimester [that’s 18 – 24 weeks] because the risk of complications is least during this period.
How to travel
Mode of travelling is also a critical factor and should be decided while you plan your travel. If you prefer surface transport, bus, car and train journeys are safe options for you.
Ensure, however, that the length of the journey does not exceed 5 – 6 hours. A no-brainer, but still important to mention—avoid bumpy rides. Trains are best as they are less jerky, but the unhygienic toilets pose a problem.
If you decide to fly after your second trimester [after 18 – 24 weeks], consult your gynaecologist. Get a certificate from your doctor specifying your due date as the airlines may stop you from boarding the flight.
It is always good to know about the destination you are going to visit because there are many factors, which may affect your health. Try to get the answers for the following questions:
- Do you need to get vaccinated before you start your travel? If yes, consult your gynaecologist before getting vaccinated.
- Is your destination at an altitude higher than 12,000ft? Oxygen saturation is well-maintained up to an altitude of 10,000 –12,000ft, but it drops rapidly above 12,000ft [3,658m]. We generally recommend that pregnant women avoid exposures above that height.
- What are the health-care standards in the country you are going to visit [if you are going abroad]?
List to remember
Here is a list of things you must keep in mind:
- Dress comfortably. Do not wear tight-fitting clothes while travelling.
- Include pain killers in your kit.
- Keep your seatbelt fastened, especially when on a long journey.
- Take regular breaks, take short walks and do stretches to keep the blood circulating.
- Find out whether the place you are travelling has adequate medical services in case of emergencies. In case you are nearing your due date, make sure the place will have the required facilities. Carry your prenatal records with you.
- Eat only well-cooked and hygienic meals; avoid raw foods and salads. Keep packed, healthy snacks with you at all times.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before travelling.
- Refrain from engaging in any sort of adventure sports.
- Make frequent trips to the bathroom to empty your bladder and prevent urinary infections.
- Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated [healthy for you and your baby, prevents premature labour].
While travelling in a car,
- Don’t place the seat belt strap above your belly or on it; adjust it across your hips, pelvis and below your belly.
- Place the strap between your breasts [away from the neck] and not behind your back or under your arm.
While travelling in an aeroplane,
- Be careful of tripping or bumping while walking through narrow aisles.
- Hold on to the seats while walking so that you do not fall during turbulence.
- Sit on the aisle seat instead of the window seat for ease of getting out.