Whether you’re traveling abroad while pregnant for business or pleasure, you should take steps to ensure your health and that of your unborn baby—before you ever set foot on the plane.
When to Travel
Your second trimester is the best time to travel, according to Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, medical director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University Hospital-St. Paul, which is part of the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. “In the first trimester many women are not feeling well due to nausea or fatigue,” explains Dr. Horsager-Boehrer, while “the third trimester brings along the risk of preterm delivery.”
In fact many airlines won't let you fly past 36 weeks, says Dr. Bob Wheeler, MD, an emergency medicine specialist, a cruise ship medical consultant, and the medical director for On Call International, a company that provides medical insurance for over seven million travelers. “After all, you don’t want to be having a baby at 45,000 feet.”
Where Should You Go?
You’re much more likely to get sick in a developing or newly-industrialized country, such as Mexico, India, Brazil, or the Philippines, which may not adequately treat its water and food, versus countries like Canada or Europe. According to Dr. G. Richard Olds, a travel-disease specialist and chairman of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, 35 percent of travelers will get sick during a standard two-week stay in a developing country. Some studies, reports Dr. Olds, put the rate much higher at 85 percent.