“Danger: Due to the influence of pregnancy hormones, I could either burst into tears or kill you within the next five minutes. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.” Mom-to-be
As if traveling weren’t stressful enough, we are now going to introduce traveling while pregnant. Did you plan to wear that certain bikini to the beaches in Greece? Scratch that thought. Unfortunately, I had to. How about enjoying the margaritas poolside at that Caribbean resort? Yeah, you can forget that too. However, It doesn’t all have to be crossed off the list. You can still take a nice vacation while pregnant, it just may be a bit different than initially planned. It is generally considered safe to travel at all times during the pregnancy as long as there are no prenatal complications, but the best time to travel is the second trimester, weeks 14-27, post the morning sickness and before the era of fatigue sets in during the third trimester. Always get the Ok from your doctor before traveling.
Despite the amount of rules that are about to follow regarding traveling while pregnant, this is actually one of the best times to get away and relax. You need not be reminded that your world is about to change drastically, and that within a short amount of time, traveling will include huge diaper bags, car seats, strollers, and pack n plays, so planning a trip, and getting some quality time in with your partner or older siblings is a great thing.
Here are some tips to make your travels easy, comfortable, safe, and relaxing during your pregnancy. We’ve focused on travel by flight.
1. First and foremost, get a note from your doctor that you have clearance to fly. Some airlines require this, and if yours does not, it’s best to be prepared incase inclement weather or delays get you stranded and bumped to another airlines that does. Make sure the note states your due date. Bring along copies of your prenatal records and any relevant ultrasounds. Make sure you have your obstetrician’s number in your cell phone, and it’s always recommend to get a phone number of a local doctor at the destination you are traveling to.
2. Before boarding the flight, refrain from gas-producing foods and carbonated beverages. Cabin pressure can increase the already uncomfortable feelings associated with gas and bloating. And well, you just don’t want that.
3. Dress comfortably in loose cotton clothing and wear comfortable shoes that don’t get uncomfortable with a bit of inflammation. Ditch the strappy sexy sandals you had in mind. A dress or leggings is a great choice.
4. Carry snack foods with you. Eating frequent small meals will keep you from feeling nauseous and becoming hypoglycemic. Despite the craving, avoid the salt during the flight, as you are already battling dehydrating circumstances as it is. Air travel tends to be dehydrating, therefore it’s extremely important to drink non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages before, during, and after air travel while pregnant. Extra fluids will help in eliminating Braxton-Hicks “false labor” pains, as well as assist in fighting blood clots. For help with your water intake, check out the EmbraceHer Health free pregnancy companion mobile app. It allows you to track hydration, check drug safety, ask pregnancy-related questions, and follow the baby’s daily growth through video and images.
5. Supposedly, there is not a lot of radiation coming from the airport security check, but if you are uncertain and question it, you always have the option of requesting a pat-down instead. If you are concerned with the risk of cosmic radiation, experts have concluded that for infrequent air travelers, the risk is negligible. Although, for frequent flyers and crew members, the risk goes up. Many countries reassign pregnant flight attendants to low altitude flights, or give them jobs on the ground during their pregnancies.
6. Wear your seatbelt and take all recommended safety measures given. The seat belt can go over the breasts, and under the belly for the most comfort.
7. It is suggested that you keep your prenatal vitamins and all other medications you may need in your purse in case you get separated from luggage.
8. Remove all jewelry before flying to avoid swelling around your rings. Some women wear their rings around their neck during pregnancy.
9. Know in advance that you will need many breaks and stretches during the flight. It is extremely important for pregnant women to walk around every once in a while in the air. Blood-clotting factors increase during pregnancy, to protect the woman from hemorrhaging at the end of the pregnancy during labor and delivery. Pregnancy in itself can cause circulation problems, and flying increases the problems of developing potentially fatal blood clots. Moving will keep the blood flowing, and aid in the prevention of blood clot formulation. Calf exercises, ankle circles, and toe wiggles are great ways to keep the blood moving while sitting. If you are traveling a far distance, you may want to invest in a pair of compression socks. The socks stop blood from pooling in your legs and feet, along with the added benefit of limiting bloating. Elevate your feet on a piece of carry-on luggage in front of you.
10. Remember the days you sought out that awesome view from the window seat? Well, not this trip, I’m sorry! You’ll want to choose an aisle seat so that you can get up and down for the frequent bathroom trips that you’ll be taking. You can eliminate the burden of climbing over seatmates, that’s difficult as it is without being pregnant.
11. For physical ease and mobility, use suitcases with wheels and always ask for help in placing and retrieving your luggage from the overhead compartment or baggage carrousel.
12. Once you arrive at your destination, there are still a few things to remember. As the saying goes “ Even more important than where you go is what you do when you get there.” Avoid sleeping at altitudes higher than 12,000 feet. Refrain from scuba diving, and other high risk activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and skydiving. You may feel great, and physically apt to do all these, but they pose a danger for your unborn baby. With all that said, hopefully there wasn’t fear instilled within you, but an understanding of the precautionary measures to be taken to ensure your safety while traveling with a bun in the oven.