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Travelling can be stressful for anyone. However, it can be doubly taxing and even frightening for pregnant women.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC state that travelling is safe for expecting mums. But the first step to experiencing this assurance is avoiding travel to high-risk places, including areas where the Zika and malaria viruses are widespread.
As long as there are no travel advisory and infectious disease outbreaks in your destination, and you perform adequate planning and preparation, you and your child can experience a safe, stress-free journey.
Best Travel Tips for Pregnant Women
Trusted providers of maternity services share below six doctor-approved travel tips for pregnant women:
Consult your doctor first
Whether you are at the peak of health or experiencing some pregnancy-related issues, you will do well to see your obstetrician first to inform them of your plans to travel.
While speaking with your specialist, run your destination past them. Your doctor may be able to share advice and tips specific to the country you are heading to.
For instance, countries with high elevations such as Andorra, Bhutan, and Chile can pose some health issues and aggravate some symptoms, including morning sickness, dizziness, and nausea. Your doctor can help you prepare for your trip and give you tips for managing these conditions once you arrive at your destination.
Your doctor is also the best person to advise and help you if you require some vaccinations for your trip.
During your visit to your doctor, ask for a referral for a hospital, clinic, or specialist in your destination, especially if you are staying there long. Doing so ensures you know where and who to get medical help from when you need it.
Choose your travel date smartly
Health experts agree that the second trimester, the 14th through 27th week, is the safest time for expecting mums to travel.
During the second trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significantly lower and for most expecting mums, their morning sickness has subsided at this time.
Expecting mums are more likely to feel nauseous and tired all the time to withstand long travels during the first trimester, and are thus unlikely to enjoy the trip.
Most health specialists do not recommend that pregnant women travel during their third trimester due to their ballooning, extra weight, which can cause discomfort. Additionally, long trips for expecting mums with pregnancy complications are not advisable due to the increased risk of preterm delivery.
But regardless of which trimester you are in, it is best to see your obstetrician first before pushing through with your travel plans to ensure you and your child are in excellent health and will remain safe and healthy during and after your trip.
Check the travel guidelines.
If you are travelling by land or air, you have to know that many airlines and cruise lines have special regulations regarding pregnant women, especially those in their third trimester.
In general, airlines require expecting mums between their 28th and 36th week to present a medical clearance from their doctor. Without this document, they will not be allowed to board the flight.
Cruise ships, on the other hand, have different requirements for how late into a pregnancy an expecting mum can sail. However, to be on the safe side, it is best to travel by no later than your 23rd week.
Again, regardless of how far along you are in your pregnancy, consult your doctor first and find out straight from the airline or cruise ship company if you will be allowed to board the plane or vessel.
When you’re pregnant, you tend to feel tired easily. Dragging and carrying heavy bags, therefore, is out of the question.
As such, pack as light as possible to avoid the trouble of dragging around heavy luggage and carry-ons. Choose lightweight clothes and footwear and bring only the items you are sure you will wear, even the extra ones.
A good trick to follow is to try on your outfits, swimwear, and footwear before deciding whether to pack them or not. If they don’t fit you, forget about bringing them.
This simple tip can help you avoid overpacking and ensure you have bags that you can carry or wheel around without too much effort.
Pack all pregnancy essentials
Packing light means bringing only the things you need for your travel.
But when you’re pregnant, you have to bring a few more things you need to stay comfortable and healthy throughout your trip.
Below are some of the pregnancy essentials you need to bring:
Refillable water bottle
Staying hydrated is crucial when you are travelling. A water bottle makes it easy for you to sip water frequently wherever you are.
Whether you are travelling by air, water, or land, there is no guarantee that you will have access to healthy meals and treats when you feel hungry. Because of this, pack dried fruits and vegetables, whole-grain toasts or crackers, and nuts and seeds in your carry-on so that you have something to munch on anytime.
Small first-aid kit
Ensure your first-aid kit has band-aids, gauze, medical tape, and the medicines that your doctor prescribed. These can include medications for heartburn, gas, nausea, and traveller’s diarrhoea.
Antibacterial hand gel and wipes
Travelling puts you at great risk of getting an infection and illness from various germs and viruses. Washing your hands often is the best way to avoid them. But if you don’t have access to water and soap, using a hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes can help you keep them at bay as well.
Plan to move often
Research shows that pregnant women are at higher risk of developing blood clots, which can be caused by sitting for long periods.
To minimise this risk if you are flying, ensure you stretch and move around as often as possible. You can do this by sitting in an aisle seat.
An aisle seat gives you a little more freedom to get up and move around. Moreover, since you will need to go to the bathroom often, this seating arrangement allows you faster access to the toilet without disturbing your fellow passengers too much.
If you are travelling by road, plan to have plenty of road stops so that you can get out of the vehicle and walk around for a few minutes. Also, stretch often when you are on the road.
As a final tip, wear a comfy, loose, and flowy outfit on the day of your travel. You will also do well to dress in layers so that you can regulate your body temperature easier by removing or putting on your sweater or scarf.
Also, wear compression socks or stockings since they boost circulation and prevent blood clots from forming.
When you follow these tips, you won’t have to wait until you deliver your child to have a safe, enjoyable trip, especially if you have an urgent reason to travel.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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