Is it safe to travel during pregnancy? An expert shares tips

Whether it’s a babymoon or just a change of scene, women have reasons enough to desire travel during pregnancy. An expert gives handy tips.

The world has been under lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic for almost two years now. But as things are getting back to normal, so is travel. People are more keen to travel now due to the frustration of being stranded at home due to the pandemic. Women also want to travel during pregnancy, and why not?

Traveling during pregnancy is the most common query among women who are expecting. And the good news is that pregnant women can travel but with few restrictions and only if there are no high risk factors.

Safe travel during pregnancy

The safest time to travel is mid-pregnancy, which is between 14 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. During this time, your morning sickness is relieved, energy levels are back to normal.

In the first quarter of your pregnancy, morning sickness is at its peak and due to jerks there are increased chances of abortion. The pregnancy in the first three months is at a very critical stage. On the other hand, during the last three months, the weight of the pregnancy, and the swelling and pain in the foot, makes you uncomfortable to move about. Also, due to the jerks, you might set into early labor.

The most important thing is to visit your gynecologist before your travel plan. Your gynecologist will evaluate if there are any contraindications to your travel and will also update your vaccination status. Learn from the expert about the symptoms you need to watch during travel.

Whether you are traveling by air or by car, it is very important to understand the symptoms you need to watch. These will raise the alarm for you to take local hospital support.

travel during pregnancy
Take due safety precautions against possible infections. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Symptoms to watch out for while you travel during pregnancy:

  • Pain in abdomen which radiates to the back and legs
  • Sudden vaginal bleeding
  • Leaking of water
  • Constant and nagging headache
  • Blurring of vision or black spots in front of eyes. This can signal increased blood pressure
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Sudden pain, swelling or redness in one leg. This could be a sign of clot formation in legs. Sudden clot formation in the legs is a complication of long travel when you do not move about and sit for a long time. Not every pregnant woman is prone to it, but the chances are more if you are obese, have hypertension or diabetes, have multiple pregnancies, or have had a history of clot formation.

This complication can be prevented by keeping yourself hydrated, moving about for 5 minutes after every hour, wearing loose fitting clothes along with knee length stockings which can prevent the stagnation of blood in the legs. If you are at a higher risk of clot formation, your doctor may prescribe you heparin injections before and after travel.

travel during pregnancy
Watch out for any signs that may need medical intervention. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Vaccinations that you must get before you travel during pregnancy:

  • You should have taken 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccination irrespective of the destination
  • Flu vaccine should also be taken if you are traveling to a destination where weather can induce flu
  • If you are not immunised with yellow fever vaccine, avoid traveling to South East Asia and African countries
  • Avoid traveling to areas prone to malaria, dengue or Zika virus. If you cannot avoid travel to these areas, wear full clothing and use EPA-registered bug spray with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol.

Also Read: Traveling? Before you step out, run an immunity check using these tips

Air travel during pregnancy

  • You can travel safely by air domestically upto 32 weeks and internationally upto 28 weeks. These recommendations may vary from flight to flight.
  • Usually the decreased air pressure in the cabin might decrease the oxygen level in the blood, but the body gets adjusted.
  • To make travel more comfortable, book an aisle seat so that you can get up and walk and stretch more easily.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks as they expand as the pressure decreases and might cause discomfort.
  • Wear the seat belt at all times below your belly and low on your hip bone.
  • Keep moving toes and fingers.
  • Keep a pillow for a back support.
travel during vaccine
Ensure that you are properly vaccinated. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Car travel during pregnancy

  • Try to take as brief routes as possible
  • Avoid jerky roads
  • Wear your seatbelt at all times below your belly
  • Take frequent stops every hour
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Stop at clean washrooms to prevent the chances of urinary tract infections
  • Wear layers of clothes which can be adjusted according to the temperature changes
  • Eat regular small meals

Food while you travel during pregnancy

When pregnant, you are more prone to diarrhea. So, it is important to follow certain food hygiene practices. Here’s what to remember:

  • Avoid under-cooked or raw foods
  • Drink mineral water or boiled water
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, or milk products.

Follow these tips and have a happy and safe trip! Don’t forget to inform even the slightest detail about your travel to your medical expert.

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