What you should know about traveling during pregnancy – Cleveland Clinic | Tech US News

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If you’re supposed to be traveling for work or you’re hoping to go on a honeymoon before you give birth, you probably have more than a few questions about traveling during pregnancy.

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It’s safe? Is flying out of the question? What if you go into labor while you’re away from home?

Before booking your next trips, there are a few factors to consider. OB/GYN Kristen Ekman, MD, shares what to think before you hit the road (or the skies or the seas or… you get the picture).

Can you travel while pregnant?

It’s generally safe to travel during pregnancy, but you should always talk to your doctor beforehand and make sure you have a plan in case of a medical emergency.

“For the most part, the closer you are to your due date, the closer you should stay to home,” advises Dr. Ekman. “Most airlines restrict pregnant passengers from boarding planes in the last month of pregnancy.”

Things that can prevent you from traveling during pregnancy

As with so many other aspects of pregnancy, you’ll need to plan ahead before heading out. Dr. Ekman shares some things to consider before traveling.

how far are you

There is actually an ideal time to travel during pregnancy: the second trimester. This is usually when people feel better during pregnancy.

Your risk of complications is lower during the second trimester, and by then the nausea from the early months of pregnancy is probably gone. Remember, of course, that anything can happen at any time, but since you’re not close enough to your due date, you don’t always need to be very close to home.

“For many people, the first trimester is dominated by morning sickness and discomfort as your body adjusts to pregnancy,” explains Dr. Ekman. “The third trimester is generally more uncomfortable, so it’s a good idea to stay close to your doctor as your due date approaches.”

Medical conditions

Before you travel, you should talk to your doctor and discuss any medical conditions you may have. You may need to adjust your travel plans if you have a medical condition such as:

If you have pre-existing conditions, it’s especially important to take your medical records with you or make sure you can access them remotely.

Whether you take several

Your risk of early labor increases if you’re carrying twins, triplets or other multiples, so talk to your doctor about the best time to travel. “Your provider may suggest that you stay closer to home,” says Dr. Ekman.

Outbreaks of illness or disease at your destination

Before you take off, check your destination to see if it is home to diseases that are actively spreading, such as Zika and COVID-19, which can harm both you and your fetus if you become infected during pregnancy.

“The Zika virus can be spread by the direct bite of a mosquito, as well as through sex,” says Dr. Ekman. “It’s a serious condition that has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly, which can shorten your child’s life expectancy.”

If you need to travel somewhere that is experiencing an outbreak, be sure to talk to your doctor about how to avoid getting sick. And take extra care to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent and keeping your skin covered.

Vaccines for travel during pregnancy

Some vaccines are not recommended for pregnant people, including live vaccines such as the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. Others, such as flu and COVID-19 vaccines, are generally considered safe during pregnancy.

If you are traveling to an area where you would normally receive vaccinations to protect against disease, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated during pregnancy.

“Sometimes the risk of getting sick is greater than any side effects of the vaccine,” says Dr. Ekman.

Flying during pregnancy

Most people can travel safely by plane during pregnancy, but talk to your doctor ahead of time to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions that could cause complications during your flight.

“On longer flights, you may need to stand up to stretch your legs and avoid blood clots,” notes Dr. Ekman.

When should you stop traveling when pregnant?

Remember that your due date is an estimate. The end of pregnancy can be unpredictable and you can go into labor at any time in the last few weeks.

“Most health care providers recommend that you stay closer to home in the third trimester, and especially in the last month of pregnancy,” says Dr. Ekman. “If you need to travel late in your pregnancy, you’ll definitely want to plan ahead and learn the locations of hospitals and medical centers near your destination.”

You may need to stop traveling earlier if there is a complication during your pregnancy that needs to be closely monitored by your provider, such as preeclampsia, placenta previa, or a history of preterm birth.

When can you no longer fly on a plane?

When you should avoid air travel depends largely on the airline you’re flying with and whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally.

Each airline has its own policy on when you can no longer fly while pregnant, so be sure to check your particular airline’s guidelines before booking. You can also call ahead to make sure you will be able to fly.

In general, most airlines will not allow you to fly in your last month of pregnancy, although some limit travel to 28 or 29 weeks of pregnancy. And international flights tend to cut off earlier for pregnant passengers than domestic flights too.

Now airlines don’t usually reimburse medical restrictions, so if you’re planning to fly during your pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to consider purchasing travel insurance.

Tips for traveling during pregnancy

When traveling during pregnancy, you should always be prepared for a medical emergency. Dr. Ekman shares some safety precautions you should follow in case something happens.

1. Stretch your legs

Getting up and moving around while traveling can help prevent the development of a condition called deep vein thrombosis. It happens when blood clots form and travel throughout the body, and the risk is greater during pregnancy.

“This could mean stopping the car to stretch and walk for a few minutes,” says Dr. Ekman, “or it could be getting out of your seat on a plane or train. In those cases, try to reserve an aisle seat to make it easier for you get up.”

2. Follow general safety guidelines

These common sense travel tips will help you stay healthy and safe when you travel.

  • Look at the water quality at your travel destination. Contaminated water can cause serious illness, so in some places it’s best to drink bottled water to avoid getting sick, and remember not to add ice to your drinks.
  • Follow the nutrition guidelines. You may not be able to take part in all the culinary adventures you would like if you weren’t pregnant. Do not eat raw fish and be careful when eating food from street vendors.
  • Always wear your seat belt. It must be fastened at the hips (under the belly) and the shoulder belt must cross the body and between the breasts.

3. Contact your health insurance

Before you travel, check with your health insurance company to find out what kind of coverage you have in the destination. In some cases, such as international travel, you may need to purchase insurance just for your trip.

4. Bring your medical history with you

“It’s always a good idea to carry a copy or have access to your records through your hospital’s electronic medical record, of your medical records with you, in case you need treatment while you’re away,” said Dr. says Ekman. “If you’re at high risk or have other conditions, it’s especially important.”

If you have a medical emergency or need treatment of any kind while away from home, these records will ensure that you receive the proper care. Your entire pregnancy history and any pre-existing conditions you may have will be included in these documents.

If they don’t have your records, an outside hospital will usually contact your doctor directly and get your medical information. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have your doctor’s phone number within easy reach.

It’s also smart to research medical centers and hospitals near your destination in case you need it in an emergency. Remember that not all hospitals or medical centers have obstetric units.

5. Know where to go for care

No matter how you travel or where you go, it’s important to know where you can get care if you need it. Before you go:

  • Identify the nearest medical center or hospital near your vacation destination.
  • If you are on a cruise, ask about medical care on board and what is available in the ports where your ship will call. The same goes for traveling by train. Cruise ships often have some restrictions on pregnancy travel, so be sure to research them before booking.
  • If you’re traveling by car, find out which hospitals or medical centers are along your route.

“This kind of advance planning can make all the difference if you experience an emergency and need to seek care in a hurry,” says Dr. Ekman.

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