If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, travel will be no problem until you are 36 weeks pregnant.
When is the best and the safest time to travel during pregnancy?
The safest time to travel during pregnancy is in the second trimester, from 14 to 28 weeks.
Most pregnancy problems occur in the first and third trimesters. For most women, early pregnancy discomforts will ease up during the second trimester. You will probably have more energy, and it is still easy to get around.
When is travelling not recommended during pregnancy?
Travelling is not recommended if you have certain pregnancy complications, like:
- Preeclampsia- a rise in blood pressure in late pregnancy
- Preterm labour- you are at increased risk of going into labour before your due date
- Multiple pregnancy- if you are pregnant with more than one baby (foetus)
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe anaemia- This happens when you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the rest of the body
How to ensure a safe trip?
The following travel pointers may help to ensure a safe and comfortable trip.
- Schedule a check-up with your gynaecologist. Check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to travel and any precautions you should take while travelling.
- Carry your prescribed medication you may be taking.
- Know your estimated due date. If you have a problem while travelling, your caregivers will need to know how far along you are in your pregnancy.
- Keep a copy of your prenatal records and any medical condition you may have.
Here are some tips to help increase your comfort and minimize risks.
When you travel by car:
- Wear your seatbelt.
- Do not recline your seat while traveling.
- Remember to stop every two hours for bathroom breaks and short walks.
If you're flying while pregnant:
- Check the airline's policies before you book a flight. Each airline has a slightly different policy for plane travel during pregnancy.
Some pregnant women experience discomfort during flying:
- Changes in air pressure can cause nose and ear problems
- Fluid retention can cause leg swelling
- Sitting still or not moving for extended periods can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT, a blood clot that usually develops in your lower leg, thighs, or pelvis).
To minimize the risk of DVT and other discomforts, you should
- Book an aisle seat is possible so that you can get up and walk frequently. Plan to do this every 2 hours or so
- Avoid gas-producing foods and drinks before your flight
- Drink plenty of water at regular intervals
- Carry healthy food
- Keep your medications with you
- Wear loose clothing and comfortable shoes
- Avoid alcohol
- Exercise and stretch your legs while seated
- Wear your seatbelt at all times
Always pay attention to the way you feel.1 With a little preparation, travelling when you are expecting can be safe.
1. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Travel during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/travel-during-preg.... Accessed on Aug 19, 2020.
2. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Air travel and pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-informat.... Accessed on Aug 19, 2020.
3. Alberta Health Services. Travel during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw194989&l.... Accessed on Aug 19, 2020.
4. HealthyFamilies BC. Safe travel during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/safe-travel-during-pregnancy. Accessed on Aug 19, 2020.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant travelers [Internet]. Available at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pregnant-travelers. Accessed on Aug 19, 2020.