Whether jetting off for business, a wedding, or a babymoon – there are a lot of reasons to travel while pregnant. But is it safe to do so?
Pregnancy can be an exciting and overwhelming time. Your lifestyle, mind and body are all changing, but travel plans don’t always have to. Most women can continue to travel safely during pregnancy up until 36-weeks.
Travelling is often unavoidable, no matter how far along you are. Here is a guide to travelling during pregnancy.
By staying informed, you can make the best decision for you and your baby’s health. So here are some tips to help you out. And be sure to discuss any travel plans with your obstetrician.
Timing Is Everything
When is the best time to travel during your pregnancy? If you are not experiencing any complications, then the ideal time is during your second trimester, from week 14 to week 28.
Nausea and fatigue have will have often decreased by the second trimester. Most women have adjusted to the changes of pregnancy and find this period the most comfortable for travelling.
While there is a lower risk of miscarriage then the first trimester, it’s important to still pay attention to your body and discuss any concerns with your obstetrician.
For women experiencing complications during pregnancy, your doctor may advise against travelling. Complications that may prevent travel plans include hypertension, gestational diabetes, prior miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, placenta praevia, or an ectopic pregnancy.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about any concerns during a high-risk pregnancy.
Immunisations are an important part of globetrotting, but some are not safe for use during pregnancy. While yellow fever or typhoid vaccines can be given after the first trimester, there are very few studies exploring their impact on pregnant women and their babies.
If you are pregnant and travelling to an area where these diseases are endemic, it is generally advised you reconsider your plans or discuss options with your doctor.
Zika virus can cause major abnormalities in your baby, including loss of brain material (brain damage) and limb abnormalities. It is transmitted by mosquito bites and cannot be cured. The only way to avoid Zika virus is not to travel to parts of the world where it has been detected. For advice about travelling to countries with Zika virus present, check out the smart traveller website.
If your intended destination has a risk of Zika virus transmission, and you are pregnant or intending to get pregnant, DON’T GO.
When travelling you may find yourself sitting for long periods of time on planes, trains and automobiles.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Being immobile for long periods can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is when blood clots form in the veins, commonly in the legs. For pregnant women, the risk of DVT is higher.
Reduce your risk by staying hydrated, leg exercises, and walking around as often as you can.
Aim to make car trips as short as possible when pregnant and take frequent rest breaks to stretch your legs. Pulling over to take a stroll will help avoid conditions like DVT.
Seatbelts should be worn at all times when travelling in a car. The best way to wear a belt while pregnant is by clipping it under your bump. The shoulder strap should rest across the centre of your chest.
As a general rule, you should always wear your seatbelt when flying. Booking an aisle seat will allow you more freedom to stretch your legs. To decrease your risk of DVT, aim to walk around the cabin every two hours.
You may want to avoid soft drinks and gas-producing foods while flying, as the plane’s low air pressure may cause irritation.
In Australia, airlines like Qantas and Virgin ask pregnant women to carry a note from their doctor after 28 weeks. This note needs to be dated at least ten days before travel. As each airline policy differs, it is best to check with your provider before you fly.
Exercising at a low to moderate pace is acceptable during pregnancy, but you may want to reconsider any mountain treks you’ve planned for your holiday. If exploring new places, opt for a gentle stroll or swim over deep-sea scuba diving.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
We will be more than happy to help and offer compassionate care in every way possible.