Healthy And Safe Travels During Pregnancy

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Providing you undertake proper planning and advice, travel during pregnancy is not a problem.  To ensure that you and your baby remain healthy during travel, you need to consider the stage of your pregnancy, your current physical condition, and any restrictions or problems you and your doctor have discussed.

Ensure you don’t miss any important physician visits or tests while away by scheduling them before you go.  These can include Rh immunoglobulin injections (for Rh negative blood types), ultrasounds, glucose screening tests and regular prenatal, physician visits. So, you’ve performed the above, your doctor says you can go, you need to compile a list of phone numbers and contacts to bring with you.  Using this list other travelers or health care professionals can be guided should you encounter any pregnancy related health problems.

 This information should include:

Your name, age and blood type, and any medications you are taking, as well as your health care insurance information.  Also include your due date, the date of your most recent doctor appointment, any allergies you may have to medication or foods, and any immunizations you may have had before travel.

 -  Your doctor’s name and contact information 

- Names and telephone numbers for a family emergency contact 

- Any doctor’s name and phone number you may be using while you are away from home

 

Take adequate pregnancy vitamins, medications (prescription or otherwise) so you are covered for the duration of your trip.  Make certain that your health insurance policy covers pregnancy, delivery and other complications during travel and be sure to double check any restrictions that may apply to travel in foreign countries. 

 

Check the availability of travel insurance on your airline, or other carrier, to be sure that you are covered if you have to miss part of, or your entire, trip because of pregnancy related health problems or if you incur emergency expenses during your trip.  Ask if this insurance covers complications from pregnancy and emergency transport. Carry a cell phone, especially if you're traveling alone, and be sure that your cell phone will function in any foreign country to which you may be traveling. 

 

Make sure you incorporate plenty of rest in your day whilst traveling as you are more likely to become fatigued while pregnant and engaging in normal activities.  Take advantage of the facilities and relax on the beach, get room service or watch a pay per view movie in your room.  Anticipate culinary and schedule disruptions so carry healthy snacks such as nuts, crackers, dried fruit with you.  Flying, traveling and pregnancy coupled with different climates will dehydrate so drink lots of water. 

Toileting is an important factor to consider.  As an expectant mother, you are likely to need to use the bathroom often.  Try to plan trips and activities that are close to bathrooms.  And plan extra time for ‘pit stops’ if you are traveling by car.  Plane travel means long periods of sitting so feet and legs will probably swell.  Wear comfortable, expandable shoes and socks and elevate your feet whenever possible.  Grab every opportunity to get up and walk around and use any pit stops to get some exercise in.

If you are traveling to a foreign country, you and your doctor will have to consider any vaccines you will require to determine whether they are safe to administer during pregnancy.   Avoid live vaccines like varicella for chicken pox, measles, mumps, and rubella. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report no fetal damage from live vaccines, but they admit that their information is limited, so these vaccines should still be considered risky.  Vaccines for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, and tetanus, are safe and recommended for pregnant women at risk of getting these diseases.

There may be challenges obtaining quality water, food and healthcare in some developing countries.  When pregnant you should try to avoid traveling to such regions.  Yeast infections can be brought on in hot, humid areas so avoid same by wearing cotton undergarments and loose, lightweight clothes.  Wet swimming suits should be removed as soon as possible and it might be an idea to suggest bringing some anti-fungal cream to your doctor. 

Avoid risky activities, especially late in pregnancy:  snow skiing, water skiing, surfing, horseback riding, parasailing, scuba diving, water slides and some more extreme amusement park rides.  You don’t want your body temperature elevated when pregnant so give hot tubs and saunas a wide berth.  You can walk and hike at low altitudes, swim in calm waters (not in heavy surf or rapids), ride a stationary or regular bike, exercise in the hotel gym (if you have been used to exercising before and during your pregnancy) and jog if you jogged before pregnancy.  Always discuss your plans for exercise with your doctor first. Be smart!  Don’t be afraid to take a rest if you feel you are overdoing it and feel dizzy, tired or overheated.  Travel, especially to other time zones, can throw your eating schedule off and cause more problems with bloating, and indigestion.  Eat little and often.  Don’t eat close to bedtime (allow 2-3 hours to digest your food).  Prop yourself up on pillows in bed.  Avoid alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine, chocolate, acidic foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar), and spicy foods.  Keeping active will help keep things moving in your digestive region and fill up on high fiber foods to alleviate constipation etc.

Be smart!  If you start to feel tired, overheated, dizzy or uncomfortable, slow down, rest, take a break or stop what you are doing.  Travel, especially to other time zones, can throw your eating schedule off and cause more problems with bloating, and indigestion.  Try eating several small meals during the day.  Don’t eat close to bedtime (allow 2-3 hours to digest your food).  Sleep with your upper body propped on pillows.  Avoid alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine, chocolate, acidic foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar), and spicy foods.  Try to eat high-fiber foods to avoid constipation and bloat, and stay active to keep your digestive tract moving.

Sitting in the front of the car and keeping the window open for fresh air will help with motion sickness.  If traveling on a ship try to stay on deck focusing on the horizon and sit over the wing on an airplane.  Acupuncture, pressure point bracelets are available to be worn on the wrist.  Motion sickness and pregnancy morning sickness can be alleviated by these devices.

If you follow these suggestions, you should have a pleasant and healthy trip. Listen to your doctor and if they recommend that you don’t travel..don’t.  It is best to put off the trip for another time after the baby is born, rather than to risk your health and the health of your unborn child!

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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