Travel During Pregnancy
I'm planning to spend some time traveling this summer. I'll be about seven months pregnant by then. Any advice?
Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your doctor or midwife. If you're experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or your due date is fast approaching, your caregiver may want you to stay relatively close to home (e.g. within a three hour drive) in case some complications arise or your baby decides to make an unscheduled early arrival. Even if your caregiver gives you the go-ahead to venture a little farther a-field, she may want you to take a copy of your prenatal record with you. That way, if you unexpectedly run into complications while you're traveling, the doctor on call at whatever hospital or clinic you end up visiting will have the lowdown on your medical and obstetrical history.
Here are some additional tips:
- Make sure that your health coverage is adequate if you will be traveling out of state or province. Most health insurance policies for travelers do not apply to women who are more than seven months pregnant, so be sure to let your travel agent know about your pregnancy when you're purchasing such coverage.
- Dress in layers of comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. As your prenatal instructor no doubt told you, the hormonal changes of pregnancy cause your body temperature to shoot up while you're pregnant. If you make the mistake of hopping on board an airplane wearing a long-sleeved wool dress, you won't have the option of removing a layer or two if you become overheated (unless, of course, you intend to carry your entire maternity wardrobe in your carry-on luggage or you're willing to pull a Demi Moore at 20,000 feet).
- Pack some healthy snacks to enjoy while you're on the road. Rather than having to rely on French fries and other fast foods while you're traveling -- not exactly the most stomach-friendly cuisine if your world is being rocked by morning sickness! -- you may prefer to eat fresh fruit, granola bars, and healthier (and less nauseating) foods instead. And don't forget to tote along a purse-sized bottle of water if you're going to be traveling by plane: you'll want to have your own ready supply of water on hand to counter the dehydrating effects of air travel just in case the beverage cart doesn't make it down the aisle as quickly as you might like.
- Make sure you're clear about airline policies concerning pregnant travelers before you book your flight. Policies vary from airline to airline, but most carriers require some sort of doctor's certificate from any pregnant woman who is traveling during the mid- to late third trimester.
- Bring a small pillow or rolled-up towel with you. Placing it in the small of your back will help to reduce the amount of back discomfort you experience as a result of sitting in one position for prolonged periods of time.
Have a great trip!
- Ann Douglas
This question was answered by Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, The Mother of All Pregnancy Organizers, and The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby (2nd Edition).