Tips For Safe Travel During Pregnancy
Whether you’re taking a relaxing babymoon to spend some romantic time with your partner pre-birth, planning a big family vacation for the summer, or heading on a business trip, it’s likely that some sort of travel plans will come up during the 40 weeks you’re pregnant. Travelling while pregnant can certainly conjure up some questions, so we’re here to highlight a few key considerations to help make your trip as stress-free as possible!
When to plan your travel?
The safest time to travel is between 18 and 24 weeks of pregnancy so, if you can, try to coordinate your plans during this time. It’s also usually the time during which you’re feeling a renewed sense of energy as nausea and fatigue tend to improve from your first trimester.
When it comes to air travel, it’s generally safe until late in pregnancy, or about 36 weeks gestation, provided you have no underlying medical or pregnancy-related complications.
Where to plan your travel?
Be mindful of where you’re traveling while pregnant and try avoiding ‘riskier’ destinations until after your pregnancy, such as and if a tropical climates or other areas where the acquisition of infectious diseases (e.g. Zika, Malaria and Hepatitis E) is more likely. While some immunizations are safe during pregnancy, some may be contraindicated.
High altitudes can also present some risks in pregnancy—especially if you’re planning a snowy winter trip in the mountains. Generally, pregnant women should avoid altitudes above 12,000 feet, or above 8,200 feet in the later stages of pregnancy or if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
What to prepare for during your travel?
First, prepare to stand up and move around frequently—especially if you’re taking a plane or going on a long road trip! Due to the physiological changes that your body undergoes during pregnancy, there is an increased risk for blood clots. Make sure to also stay hydrated, wear support stockings, and avoid restrictive clothing.
If you’re travelling by air, make sure to review airline-specific requirements, such as whether a letter from your doctor is needed and how late in pregnancy they will permit travel.
When it comes to seatbelts, a diagonal shoulder strap should be placed above your growing belly and lap belts should be fastened at the pelvic area.
Finally, make sure to consider the availability of medical care, your insurance, and your healthcare coverage in the case of an emergency or a situation where you need to seek care.
Overall, travel is not contraindicated in women with uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies. But it is important to consider the necessary precautions and important factors when making travel decisions. Always make sure to discuss travel plans with your healthcare provider and address any of your questions or concerns before you go!
Jones, C.A., Chan, C (2014). Bon voyage: An update on safe travel in pregnancy. Journal of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, 36(12): 1101-1106. http://doi.org/10.1016/S1701-2163(15)30389-3
Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. (n.d.). Travel and Pregnancy. Pregnancy
Government of Canada. (2019). Travelling while pregnant. https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travelling-pregnant