Travel During Pregnancy

There are few concerns associated with traveling while you are pregnant; however, the information below is provided to help make your trip the safest and most comfortable it can be.

Is it okay to travel during your entire pregnancy?

As long as there are no identified complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is generally safe to travel at all times during your pregnancy.

The ideal time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester. In most cases you are past the morning sickness of the first trimester and several weeks from the third stage of pregnancy when you are more easily fatigued.

What about travel on land while you are pregnant?

Whether you are traveling by car, bus, or train, it is generally safe to travel while you are pregnant; however, there are some things to consider that could make your trip safer and more comfortable.

  • It is essential to buckle-up every time you ride in a car. Make sure that you use both the lap and shoulder belts for the best protection of you and your baby.
  • Keep the air bags turned on. The safety benefits of the air bag outweigh any potential risk to you and your baby.
  • Buses tend to have narrow aisles and small bathrooms. This mode of transportation can be more challenging. The safest thing is to remain seated while the bus is moving. If you must use the restroom, make sure to hold on to the rail or seats to keep your balance.
  • Trains usually have more room to navigate and walk. The bathrooms are usually small making the restroom more uncomfortable. It is essential to hold on to rails or seat backs while the train is moving.
  • Try to limit the amount of time you are cooped up in the car, bus or train. Keep travel time around five to six hours.
  • Travel during pregnancy is all about making wise choices.Use rest stops to take short walks and to do stretches to keep the blood circulating.

What about travel by air while you are pregnant?

Traveling by air is considered safe for women while they are pregnant; however, the following ideas might make your trip safer and more comfortable.

  • Most airlines allow pregnant women to travel through their eighth month. Traveling during the ninth month is usually allowed if there is permission from your healthcare provider.
  • Most airlines have narrow aisles and smaller bathrooms, which makes it more challenging to walk and more uncomfortable when using the restroom. Because of potential turbulence that could shake the plane, make sure you are holding on to the seat backs while navigating the aisle.
  • You may want to choose an aisle seat which will allow you to get up easier to reach the restroom or just to stretch your legs and back.
  • Keep your air travels on major airlines with pressurized cabins and avoid smaller private planes.

What about travel by sea while you are pregnant?

Traveling by sea is generally safe for women while they are pregnant; the motion of the boat may accentuate any morning sickness or make you feel nauseous all over again. There are a few considerations to make your trip safer and more comfortable.

  • Check with the cruise line to ensure that there is a healthcare provider on board in case there are any complications.
  • Review the route and port-of-calls to identify if there is access to any medical facilities if needed.
  • Make sure any medications for seasickness are approved for women who are pregnant and that there is no risk to the developing baby.
  • Seasickness bands use acupressure to help prevent upset stomach and may be a good alternative to medication.

What about foreign travel while you are pregnant?

Traveling overseas has the same considerations that local or domestic travel has, but it also has additional concerns that you need to know about before making an international trip. The information below is provided to help you assess whether an international trip is good for you at this time.

  • It is important to talk with your health care provider before you take a trip internationally to discuss safety factors for you and your baby.
  • Discuss immunizations with your health care provider and carry a copy of your health records with you.
  • With international travel, you may be exposed to a disease that is rare here in the United States, but is common in the country you visit.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (800) 311-3435 or visit their website at www.cdc.gov to receive safety information along with immunization facts related to your travels.
  • Diarrhea is a common concern when traveling overseas because you are not used to the germs and organisms found in the food and water of other countries. This can lead to a problem of dehydration. Here are some tips to avoid diarrhea and help keep you safe:
    • Drink plenty of bottled water
    • Used canned juices or soft drinks as alternatives
    • Make sure the milk is pasteurized
    • Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or can be peeled (such as an orange or a banana)
    • Make certain that all meat and fish has been cooked completely; if you are unsure, do not eat it

How to make the best of your travels during pregnancy?

  • Dress comfortably in loose cotton clothing and wear comfortable shoes
  • Take your favorite pillow
  • Plan for plenty of rest stops, bathroom breaks and stretches
  • Carry snack foods with you
  • If you are traveling any distance, make sure to carry a copy of your prenatal records
  • Wear your seatbelt and take other safety measures
  • Enjoy the trip
Last Updated: 09/2008

Compiled using information from the following sources:

Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 5.

William’s Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.

American Pregnancy Association, http://www.americanpregnancy.org

Leave a Reply