Traveling while pregnant
Tips expectant mothers should keep in mind before booking a flight.
Even though you’re not yet counting a diaper bag among your carry-on luggage, expectant moms still have other parental duties to ensure their “plus one” travel companion is considered. Whether planning one last kid-free getaway or an unavoidable work trip, here are a few need-to-know items.
When is the best time to travel?
If you have a healthy pregnancy, it’s usually safe to travel well into your third trimester. The best time, however, depends on how you feel. Many women like to travel in the middle of their pregnancy when their energy has returned, morning sickness is usually gone and it’s still easy to get around.
Airlines also have a say when it comes to flying expectant mothers. Some domestic airlines restrict travel completely or require a medical certificate during the last month of pregnancy. The cutoff point can be even earlier for international flights, sometimes as early as 28 weeks. And if you’re pregnant with multiples, it’s best to consult the airline, as travel restrictions can vary. Even if an airline does not impose limitations on flying for pregnant women, ticket change fees and penalties often cannot be waived for pregnancy.
Comfort and peace of mind
Listen to your body and schedule an appointment with your ob-gyn to ensure it’s safe to travel. Also discuss when to seek medical care when away from home and locate the nearest hospital or medical clinic in case of an emergency. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers a “Find an Ob-Gyn” tool on its website to locate a provider anywhere in the country. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., check your health insurance policy to see if you are covered internationally. If not, you may be able to purchase additional coverage for international travel.
Once your bump has made it on board, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and snag an aisle seat to stretch your legs every two hours. (Your neighbor will thank you when you get up to use the restroom every five minutes.)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues notices on its website to inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues related to specific international destinations. Zika – a virus that can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus – continues to be a problem in many parts of the world. The CDC recommends that pregnant women and couples planning to conceive within a few months of travel consult with a health care provider before traveling to an at-risk country. Consult your doctor before making plans and use the CDC’s website as a guide.
With a little advance planning and research, moms-to-be can drop their reservations about making travel reservations.