Pregnancy, vacation and good health can mix easily — even travel by air shouldn't be a problem — as long as you follow a few common sense tips from Doc Holiday. Just make sure your physician or medical caregiver is aware of your travel plans beforehand.
Tips for Safe Vacationing When You Are Pregnant
With a little extra planning and a few precautions, pregnant women should not encounter any problems. But I do recommend, if possible, that you not travel alone.
My most important advice: Wear flat, comfortable shoes. Get plenty of rest.
When to go? The most common obstetrical emergencies happen in the first and third trimesters, so the second trimester is the best time to travel.
What can I do? Enjoy yourself, but be careful when doing new types of physical activities. Pregnancy changes a woman’s balance and her coordination is not as good. Walking and low-risk physical activities are usually fine to participate in and enjoy.
What can I eat? Always keep yourself well hydrated during the day, but avoid tap water and ice cubes in foreign countries, and drink only bottled water. Increased activities can cause dehydration which can cause your uterus to contract and may mean a trip to a hospital far from home.
Where can I go? Do not go into the ocean, as this can increase your risk for both vaginal and womb infection which could result in a premature delivery. Beach-goers should know that skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so wear stronger sunscreen than usual.
What if I need medical care? Always locate a hospital or medical center that cares for pregnant women near where you are staying. Check with your health insurance company to make sure you are covered. And lastly, remember to bring along all the medications you are taking and a copy of your medical records in case you require any care.
Tips for Travel During Pregnancy
Air travel is safe for most women up to 34 weeks of pregnancy but we do have some air travel safety advice you should review before you get on board an aircraft.
Each airline has specific rules as it relates to air travel during pregnancy, so check with the carrier beforehand. Some airlines require a letter from your doctor stating how many weeks pregnant you are at the time of your trip.
Beware! Second or third trimester vaginal bleeding, premature labor, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, Type 1 or type 2 diabetes, sickle cell anemia (or trait), and multiple gestation are some reasons that air flight might not be permitted.
But for healthy moms-to-be, here are my common sense tips:
- Always use your seat belt below your belly when seated.
- If you get nauseous when flying, driving or at sea, anti-nausea medications are suggested. They are safe to take during pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of fluids before you leave, and throughout your trip. Do not drink lots of carbonated beverages, as this can increase the chance of nausea.
- Wear thigh-high support stockings. This will reduce the risk of fluid accumulation in your legs and feet, and reduce the risk of blood clots forming in the legs.
Most important, get up and walk around once every hour. Relax and enjoy yourself because once the baby comes and you're flying with her, the inflight experience will never be the same.
Thanks to Dr. Charles Hux of Monmouth Medical Center, author at American Journal of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Prenatal Diagnosis, New England Journal of Medicine and Genetics, for his advice on this topic.
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