Whether you’re planning a trip upstate to admire the changing fall colors in the Adirondacks, headed to the Bahamas for a babymoon, or planning for a work trip, travel during pregnancy is common. Even if you’re excited about your trip, traveling while pregnant can bring up many questions and concerns.
In this guide, our team at OBGYN Westside, PLLC, on the Upper West Side of New York City, provides you with seven general tips and insights to make your journey as smooth and comfortable as possible.
1. Talk to us
Before embarking on any travel adventure during pregnancy, your first step should always be a conversation with your OBGYN Westside provider. During your routine prenatal appointments, we’re more than happy to talk about your travel plans with you.
We can give you personalized advice based on your trimester and any pregnancy-related complications you may have. This includes guidance on whether or not you need to wear compression stockings during your flight. They aren’t pretty, but they can certainly help reduce your risk of swelling and blood clots!
2. Choose the right destination and timing
Consider destinations with access to quality health care facilities and check the weather conditions for your travel dates. If your dates are flexible, try to plan your trip during your second trimester. Many women experience a boost in energy and have fewer pregnancy-related discomforts during this trimester, and it makes for an enjoyable babymoon.
3. Pack smartly
Packing for a trip during pregnancy requires some extra thought. Make sure to bring:
- Comfortable clothing, especially for long flights or road trips
- Supportive shoes
- Support bands (if you use them)
- Medications and prenatal vitamins
- Prenatal medical records in case of emergency
- Ginger candy or other anti-nausea candy
Pack light (if possible) and use a suitcase with rolling wheels. This will prevent you from having to lift heavy suitcases.
4. Stay hydrated and snack smart
Hydration is important for everyone while traveling, but it’s even more important for pregnant women since dehydration can trigger Braxton Hicks contractions.
Bring a refillable water bottle with you so you’ll always have water on hand. Stock your carry-on bag with granola bars, date bars, dried fruit, nuts, dried seaweed snacks, and whole wheat crackers.
Healthy snacks like these can help you maintain your energy levels, regulate your blood sugar levels, and avoid getting too hungry. And since these items are shelf-stable, you don’t have to worry about them spoiling on your journey.
5. Take breaks and stretch often
Movement is key to preventing swelling and stiffness! If you're traveling by car, plan regular breaks to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and take short walks to prevent blood clots. On long flights, take advantage of in-flight exercises to keep your circulation flowing.
6. Understand travel restrictions
Check the travel restrictions and guidelines of your destination, especially if you plan to fly internationally. Some countries may have specific requirements for pregnant travelers, including how late in your pregnancy you can fly commercially.
Many airlines limit flight to 36 weeks, and you’ll need a doctor’s note to confirm your due date. You may also want to check with your health insurance to see if you’re covered internationally.
Travel restrictions don’t just apply to flights. You may also need to check any excursions you plan to enjoy. Snorkeling, for example, is safe during pregnancy, but other excursions like horseback riding, ziplining, and scuba diving are off-limits.
Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers unexpected events and cancellations. While this isn’t fun to think about, it can save you a headache if you need to cancel your trip or postpone it until after your baby is born.
7. Don’t take risks when it comes to food
Trying new foods is a fun way to experience local culture, but be sure to avoid raw or undercooked foods (that includes raw cheese) to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Believe it or not, this also includes avoiding soft serve ice cream (if the machines aren’t cleaned properly).
Refer to guidebooks, eat at reputable restaurants, and if you’re in doubt, take a pass. The same goes for food trucks and street vendors. Food trucks should display their permits, and if you can’t see a permit on a food truck, skip it and find another place to eat.
Travel during pregnancy can be a great experience
Vacationing when you’re expecting won’t be a fast-paced get-away, but it can be very enjoyable. Take this time to slow down and appreciate the smaller details of your destination. Just be sure to listen to your body and rest when needed.
Thinking about your next trip? We’re here to answer your questions and help you plan for a safe (and fun!) trip. Give us a call or book your next prenatal appointment online today.