In most cases, it’s totally safe for pregnant women to travel. They are, however, more vulnerable to certain ailments and diseases while flying and abroad. In addition, there are some logistical aspects to planning and accomplishing travel that may look different during pregnancy. By taking a few extra precautions, it’s possible to have a perfectly safe and comfortable travel experience when you’re expecting. 

Flying 

Flying is considered safe for women having low-risk pregnancies up until 36 weeks gestation. However, there are a few additional factors to consider to have a comfortable, healthy flight while pregnant. Before you fly, make sure you have a doctor’s note that approves you for air travel until a certain date. This can be required by the airline. It’s also important not to overpack your luggage beyond what you can comfortably lift into the overhead. 

Traveling towards the end of pregnancy can start to get uncomfortable. Combine that with the already cramped atmosphere onboard planes and it’s a recipe for an unpleasant experience. To help, consider booking an aisle seat to use the bathroom whenever needed and to get up and walk around often. Wear shoes that can handle a bit of swelling in your feet. And bring plenty of snacks!

Everyone is at an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on long flights but the risk increases even more during pregnancy. DVT is when blood clots form, usually in your legs, and can break off and travel to other parts of the body. If these clots travel to the lungs, they can be life-threatening. To decrease this risk, use compression socks and get up frequently to walk around and stretch your legs. 

  • Have a doctor’s note approving you to fly until a certain date
  • Don’t overpack your luggage
  • Use compression socks while flying
  • Book an aisle seat
  • Get up and walk around as often as you can
  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Bring snacks

Illnesses 

Be aware of things at your destination (like mosquito-borne illnesses) that can cause problems during pregnancy. The CDC is a great resource. Keep a particular lookout for the risk of dengue, Zika virus, chikungunya, Chagas disease, malaria and Lyme disease, all of which cause known complications when you’re pregnant. If you are traveling to a place that poses a risk, take special precautions. Use effective bug repellant and cover up as much skin as possible.

Pregnant women know that they need to be particularly careful about food safety. Even though you’re likely trying to eat healthy food, you’ll want to avoid salads or fresh produce in some countries. When the foods are rinsed in water, it’s a common cause of contamination. Only eat fruits or vegetables that can be peeled. It’s best to only eat cooked foods that are served piping hot. In addition, be more careful with dairy products like cheese. While these might be pasteurized back home, they often aren’t in other countries. 

Planning Ahead 

Before arriving at your destination, make sure you have all the required vaccinations to travel. You should also look up the nearest hospital to your accommodations that have the appropriate facilities for handling an emergency. Pin the address in your phone in case you need emergency care. 

While planning the trip, manage expectations about what you’ll be able to handle in a day. Don’t pack as much stuff into the trip as you would have pre-pregnancy—you’ll likely get tired and sore after fewer activities than you would before pregnancy. At your hotel, ask for extra pillows when you check in to help you sleep comfortably. 

 As always, making sure you have good travel insurance is important, but it’s especially important when traveling while pregnant. 

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About The Author

Danie is a full-time traveler and freelance travel writer. She’s been on-the-move since 2015 from Albania to Zambia (and 70+ others in between). She’s developed a very sophisticated algorithm that evaluates countries based on a thorough analysis of their wine, hot sauce, local friendliness, and how hard she happy-cries at their nature. You can find her portfolio at owentheglobe.com or her photos on Instagram @danieelizabeth

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