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Surviving Pregnancy: Pregnancy and Travel

It's that time of year again!

Vacations, long holiday weekends. But— you're pregnant! Relax, traveling during pregnancy can be fun and comfortable.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the safest time for a pregnant woman to travel is during the second trimester when she is usually feeling the best and is in the least amount of danger or experiencing a miscarriage or premature labor. Also, traveling with at least one companion is wise while pregnant. If you plan to travel by car- no matter the distance- use your seat belt every time. Position the lap portion of the belt snugly under your abdomen and across your upper thighs. The seat belt should not cross your abdomen. Make sure to pull over at least every 2 hours at a rest stop to stretch your legs and move around. You'll more than likely need to stop and use the restroom by that time anyway. Traveling by air should be fine if you are in good health and you're more than 6 weeks away from your due date. Ask your airline to find out if a note from your care-provider verifying the date that your baby is due is required. Many airlines don't allow pregnant women on board if they are more than 35 to 36 weeks along. And if you are expecting twins, triplets, or more- air travel may not be advisable.

Metal detectors, which all passengers must pass through before boarding a plane, won't harm your unborn baby.

Changes in air pressure on a high-altitude flight should present no unusual problems for you or your baby. You and your baby will each have less oxygen in your blood than you would at sea level, but your bodies will adjust, and everything should be just fine. If possible, periodically get up and move around, especially during lengthy flights. Blood can pool in your legs if you sit for extended periods of time, leading to blood clots. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before you board and during your flight. The humidity aboard the aircraft is generally low, and extra fluids can help prevent dehydration, which can lead to nausea.

A Few Pro Tips:

  1. Wear loose, layered clothing and comfortable low-heeled shoes.

  2. Remember your body temperature is higher than those around you. Drink at least 1 liter of water for every 2-3 hours in flight to avoid dehydration.

  3. Carry your own nutritious snacks.

  4. Walk around every two hours to avoid swelling.

  5. Place a small pillow under your back to avoid strain.

  6. Give your body time to adjust to your new temperature, climate and altitude.

  7. Avoid drinking the local water in foreign countries.

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