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Travel When Pregnant - Preparation & Check List

Updated on October 13, 2021
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After working as an engineer, I enjoy reading and writing to help others get more out of their time in their pursuit of personal development

Traveling during pregnancy is generally safe if you have a healthy pregnancy.
Traveling during pregnancy is generally safe if you have a healthy pregnancy.

Is it Safe to Travel When Pregnant?

Traveling when you are pregnant is generally safe if you have a healthy pregnancy. However, each pregnancy can be different, and if there is a history of complications be extra careful before traveling, especially for a long journey.

Ideal Time to Travel During Pregnancy

The ideal time for any long-distance travel or for any overseas travel is during the second trimester. In most cases, most people will pass the morning sickness stage of the first trimester. The third trimester or the later stages of pregnancy is best spent closer to home, in case of any emergency.

Preparation and Check List for Travel While Pregnant

The following guidelines on the preparation and check list for travel when pregnant are suggestions only. Before making your traveling plan, please seek advice from your doctor. Also, check if there is any prenatal test that needs to be scheduled in case it falls within your traveling time.

Plan Your Travel to Make Your Travel Less Stressful

  • Plan Ahead

If you plan everything all in advance, the travel experience will be less stressful. These include any prearranged meet-up in the airport, car rental, hotel reservation, selection of aisle seats, and any specific meal arrangement for the flight. Don't forget to reconfirm any other bookings that you have already made.

Give yourself extra time to get to the train or bus station, airport or even when traveling by car. This will at least overcome any stressful situation if caught in a traffic jam.

Plan for bathroom breaks along the journey and take your own supply of toilet papers and sanitary pads. Remember that traveling during pregnancy can be stressful. If it is your first pregnancy, be prepared for all things that you will need along the journey.

  • Records and Information on Your Pregnancy

Bring a copy of your prenatal chart and medical records. Also, include all the essential contacts and phone numbers including mobile and home phone numbers, and keep them in your handbag for easier retrieval. Get an extra copy for your partner. Do not forget to include your hotel and airline phone number on your travel destination.

  • Travel Insurance

It is always a good practice to buy travel insurance even if the person is not pregnant. It will cover any missed flights, lost baggage, and stolen items. Make sure the policy includes pregnancy complications as traveling during pregnancy can be unpredictable. Also, check your health insurance policy for any exclusion for travel when pregnant. If in doubt consult your insurance agent.

  • Travel During the Third Trimester

If you have to fly during the third trimester, check with the airline policy on traveling issues when pregnant. Bring your doctor’s letter that states his support for your travel.

  • Is Vaccination Safe When Pregnant?

It is best not to take unnecessary medication and vaccination when pregnant. If you may have to do this since your travel destination requires it, then consult your doctor. Pregnant women should avoid live vaccines such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination.

  • Take Extra Precaution

Anything can happen while traveling, so make sure there is a mobile phone (and charger!). If currently not an auto club member, either join one or have phone numbers of car towing companies in case of any breakdown. Traveling when pregnant can be unpredictable, so you always want to be within reach.

  • Pack Sufficient Supply of Medicine

Pack a sufficient supply of your medicine in case it is not available at your travel destination. These will include your prescription medication, over-the-counter medication (for diarrhea, travel sickness, etc.), and prenatal vitamins.

  • Travel Light

Pregnant women should pack only the necessary items, especially when traveling alone. Consider the worst-case scenario where there is no one to help and you have to do everything yourself. A handy carry-on bag on wheels will be the best bet for travel when pregnant. This may be trivial but is an important part of your preparation & checklist for travel when pregnant.

  • Have Regular Meals

Always have meals at regular intervals. However, meal schedules tend to get disrupted when you are traveling. So, take any healthy snacks; sandwiches, fruits, nuts, and bottled water with you. This will come in handy if the traveling time takes longer than expected or if you have a problem with local food. Snacks will help keep nausea at bay.

Travel, as well as pregnancy, can make you thirsty. Do not forget to drink plenty of water as dehydration can lead to early labor. Take at least eight-ounce glasses a day.

Pregnant women MUST avoid drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.

  • Give Yourself Time to Relax

Traveling is always hectic and puts additional stress on pregnant women. Give yourself sufficient time to take a break. Stretch yourself or go for a short walk. Put your feet up whenever possible and wear comfortable shoes. Take a nap.

Additional Points to Consider When Traveling by Car, Bus or Train

  • Pregnant women must always buckle up when traveling in a car. Ensure the use of both lap and shoulder belts for protection.
  • When traveling on a bus remain seated when the bus is moving. The narrow aisle and small bathrooms can be difficult for pregnant women.
  • Trains have more legroom but hold on to rails if there is a need to move around.
  • If you have to travel alone with a baby, click on this link to read more.

When Traveling by Plane

  • Airport screening machines are safe even for pregnant women. If one is uncomfortable when going through this machine, inform the airport security personnel of your pregnancy. Ask for an alternative such as a physical "pat down" search instead.
  • Drink plenty of water especially on long flights.
  • Wear the seat belt all the time. Potential air turbulence can make you uncomfortable.
  • Find time to stretch your leg.

When Traveling by Sea

  • Some cruise line has a doctor on board. If in doubt, check with the company in case of complications during the journey. Check if the port of call has immediate access to the medical center.
  • Make sure seasickness medication is suitable for pregnant women.

Go through all the preparation & checklist for travel when pregnant again, in case you missed a few items or have yet to complete them.

Don't Forget to Enjoy Yourself

When you are on vacation or have to travel on business, there are so many things that you want to do. However, pregnant women tend to tire easily. The different time zone and eating meals that you are not accustomed to can add to your fatigue. So use your common sense and slow down when needed.

Another reminder: Have you gone through the preparation & checklist for travel when pregnant, again?

Finally, do not forget to enjoy yourself and have a pleasant journey of motherhood.

Pregnancy Tips : How to Travel During Pregnancy

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Razlan Awal


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