Travel during pregnancy frequently comes up as a topic of conversation in my office. I once had a patient that was 24 weeks pregnant ask me if she could travel to Vegas for a few days, followed by Paris for a week and then spend a week in NYC prior to returning home to Florida, I said of course, but only if you take me with you! Other patients want to get in a Babymoon prior to delivery. Traveling during pregnancy, in general, is considered safe. However, there are some precautions to consider that you may not otherwise think about. If you are traveling while pregnant here are some suggestions to consider before leaving on your trip and while traveling:
- Avoid travel after 36 weeks (9 months). As your due-date nears, you want to stay close to your doctor and hospital because the onset of labor can be unpredictable.
- Get a copy of your prenatal records from your doctor before you leave. This will ensure that if an emergency arises and you need to be seen by another physician, he/she will be able to review your records and make better decisions about your care.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. This includes the plane, the car, the train, or the bus. If you are sitting for over 2 hours, then you need to get up and walk around for 5-10 minutes. Both pregnancy and sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk for developing clots in your legs (deep vein thrombosis or “DVT”). Walking around every 2 hours while traveling gets the blood in your legs moving and helps to prevent clots from forming.
- Drink plenty of water. It is very easy to get dehydrated during long trips, especially on a plane. Dehydration can cause uterine irritability and contractions. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink frequently.
- Consult with your doctor before leaving, if you plan on traveling out of the country. There may be additional recommendations to consider depending on the location you plan on traveling to.
- Women with complicated or “high risk” pregnancies should ALWAYS consult with their physician before making any travel plans.