What to know if you take to the skies or open road while pregnant



The safest time to travel is between weeks 14 and 28 of your pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Nausea and other discomforts common to the first trimester can make traveling uncomfortable, and unexpected medical situations are more likely during the first and third trimesters.

What to know if you take to the skies or open road while pregnant

The safest time to travel is between weeks 14 and 28 of your pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Nausea and other discomforts common to the first trimester can make traveling uncomfortable, and unexpected medical situations are more likely during the first and third trimesters.

If you are leaving town for either work or pleasure during your pregnancy, follow these tips from the organization for a safe and comfortable trip.

 

Traveling by air

What to pack

Snacks! Since most airlines don’t provide food, pack some balanced mini-meals to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Try cheese and crackers, nuts or bags of fruit or veggies. Buy a bottle of water before boarding the plane to stay hydrated.

 

Need to know

Most airlines allow pregnant woman to fly until their 36th week, although that standard varies by airline, and with international travel. Flying during the final weeks may require permission from your doctor. If you travel internationally, discuss immunizations with your doctor and bring along copies of relevant health records.

Occasional travelers need not worry about air pressure changes or cosmic radiation at high altitudes, according to the ACOG. Frequent fliers should consult their doctors. No studies yet exist on how full-body scanners might affect a fetus. However, American Pregnancy Association president Brad Imler says the x-rays are so weak they are unlikely to cause problems. He suggests requesting a physical scan by a female security agent if you are concerned.

 

Bonus tips

Choose an aisle seat to make restroom trips easier. Remember that airplane lavatories are small, so wear comfortable, clothing. Stretch your legs periodically on longer flights, and remember to hold on to seat backs as you walk up and down the aisle. Unexpected turbulence creates a risk of falling.

 

 

Lengthy car travel

What to pack

A pillow to help you sleep or maintain comfortable positions while confined to the car.

 

Need to know

Never, ever skip your seat belt. Lap and shoulder belts are vital to protect both you and your baby. Lap belts should be worn below the belly, with the shoulder strap across the center of your chests and to the side of your stomach. Keep vehicle airbags turned on — the added safety benefits far outweigh any risks, according to the ACOG. If you are driving, tilt the steering wheel up, away from your stomach, and keep the seat as far back as possible while being able to reach the foot pedals.

 

Bonus tips

Try to keep travel time to six hours or less. Sitting for more than four hours doubles the risk of deep vein thrombosis, or dangerous blood clots, according to the ACOG. Being pregnant is an additional risk factor, so remember to stay hydrated and make frequent stops to stretch your legs.