Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Most pregnant women restrict traveling during their pregnancy, fearing that it may not be safe for either the baby or themselves during this time.
But in a normal pregnancy without any complications, it is perfectly safe to travel.
If you are planning a trip, weeks 14 -28 will be the safest and most comfortable for you. By the 14th week, you would have recovered from the morning sickness and fatigue common in early pregnancy. And by the 28th week, when you move into the third trimester, the chances of premature labour are much more. It will also be less comfortable to travel when your abdomen becomes as large as it usually does by late pregnancy.
Some commercial airlines also have a rule against allowing air travel beyond 28 weeks.
Safety Tips for Travelling in Pregnancy
If you do plan to travel however, the following tips will help to make your trips safer and more comfortable.
If you plan to travel for a long distance, it is always better to go by plane or by train so that you can get up and walk about from time to time. This will keep the blood in your legs circulating properly and prevent swelling of the ankles and feet. It will also prevent the formation of blood clots in the veins of your legs - a potentially high risk health hazard,
If you are traveling by car, stop every two hours. Walk for a while and stretch your legs. Stop near a toilet so that you can use it and do not have to hold on to your urine for a long time.
If traveling by car, always use a seat belt.
Try to take along a small footstool so that you can put up your legs whenever you want.
Take along a small, soft cushion to place at the small of your back while sitting. This back support cushion will prevent excessive movement of your body and also prevent backpain.
Take along dry crackers to nibble on and keep your nausea and vomiting under control.
Take along plenty of water and juices to prevent dehydration.
Take small, frequent meals during the journey, instead of one or two large ones.
Wear long elastic support stockings available in the market. These support stockings will prevent pooling of the blood at your ankles and feet, reduce swelling and prevent formation of varicose veins.
Wear comfortable clothes that are loose and do not restrict you in any way.
Take along a copy of your pregnancy medical records including a list of all the medicines that you are taking.
If you think that you may require medicines to prevent vomiting or for motion sickness, talk to your doctor about it. Do not take any medicines unless your doctor recommends it.
If you are considering travel abroad to foreign countries, discuss with your doctor if it will be safe to do so. The greatest risk with international travel with their long flight schedules is the development of complications while aboard the plane with no facilities available for the treatment of the condition. You will also need to discuss any vaccination that may be required.
In later pregnancy as you approach your due date, it is always wiser to avoid long trips and stay close at home. This way, you will be able to make sure that your baby is born where you planned.
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