Tips for Traveling Moms-to-Be
Today’s society is increasingly mobile, and the demands of career and family often
require travel during a woman’s pregnancy. Here are some tips and guidance for safe
travels while you’re pregnant.
Be sure to consider many factors when making your travel decisions, including the
distance, travel time to your destination, and stress involved. A 5-hour trip by car
with several stops may turn out to be shorter and less stressful than a 2-hour plane
trip with long waits and luggage delays.
Is it OK to travel while pregnant?
Modern transportation makes traveling safe during pregnancy. But many women find that
travel during the second trimester is the easiest. By this time, morning sickness
of the first trimester is usually over, and the physical demands of late pregnancy
haven’t yet arrived. Always check with your healthcare provider before traveling,
but the likelihood is low for pregnancy emergencies during this time.
Should I avoid certain modes of travel?
Most modes of travel are safe for pregnant women, with a few exceptions. But no matter
how you travel, it’s important to get up and move around often. This can decrease
the chances for deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis is when blood clots form
in the legs or other parts of the body. This condition is more likely for pregnant
When traveling by car, be sure to wear your seat belt correctly. Studies have found
the best way to protect you and your unborn baby is to:
Move your seat back as far as possible, with at least 10 inches between your breastbone
and the steering wheel or dashboard.
Adjust the lap belt so that it is low, across your hips and below your belly.
Place the shoulder belt across your chest between your breasts and away from your
neck. You should never push the shoulder belt behind your back or under your arm.
Always leave the air bag switch turned on. The air bag works with your seat belt for
the maximum protection.
Air travel is generally safe, but women with certain medical conditions and those
with a high-risk pregnancy may be advised not to fly. Many airlines recommend that
pregnant women not travel during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
Also, frequent fliers have some risk of increased radiation. Be sure to talk with
your healthcare provider if you need to travel often by air. When you do fly, drink
plenty of water to reduce the drying effects of airplane cabin air. And as with car
travel, wear your seat belt low across your hips while seated.
What if I have to travel internationally?
International travel is an issue during pregnancy because of the length of the trip,
the risks of contracting diseases, and the potential for pregnancy complications while
away from your obstetric care provider. If you have to travel internationally, be
sure to discuss your trip with your healthcare provider. And plan to carry a copy
of your medical records with you.
If your plans include travel during pregnancy, and you aren’t having any pregnancy
problems, with proper planning, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.