Q&A: Is it safe for me to travel while I'm pregnant?
Is it safe for me to travel while I'm pregnant?
In today’s culture, travel is a part of normal life. We travel for work and for pleasure. Issues about travel in pregnancy can be divided into two groups: the travel itself, and being far away from your obstetrical team.
Mode of Travel
Long car or plane rides may lead to blood clots forming in the legs while you are inactive. Prevention includes walking around for 10 minutes every two to three hours, and not sitting with your legs crossed. If you have support hose, travelling is a good time to wear them. Drink lots of water, knowing that your bladder will remind you to get out of your car or seat periodically for a stretch as well. Plus, dehydration can lead to contractions in the second and third trimester. While this doesn’t usually lead to preterm birth, it can be scary and isn’t healthy.
Air travel presents a few specific issues. Security screening is safe for pregnant moms, but if you want, you can request a pat down and avoid the scanner. While flying, travelers are exposed to slightly increased levels of background cosmic radiation, but sporadic travelers are not at significantly increased risk—the amount of radiation is about what you normally experience at sea level in one day on earth—so the difference is that you get two days worth of background radiation that day.
If you are travelling to a place where hygienic medical services are available, complications of pregnancy can be managed through emergency care. Travel to war zones, regions with high maternal mortality, and other hazardous places for pregnant moms should be avoided, especially in the first trimester, due to the chance of needing care for miscarriage, and the third trimester, when complications of pregnancy are most likely.
Talk to your doctor or midwife before you travel, and consider carrying a copy of your records with you. Most travel is safe in pregnancy, with a few special precautions, and in fact may be easier than after the baby comes. The second trimester is a particularly good time, since complications are unlikely and most moms are feeling well. Bon voyage!