A positive pregnancy test usually means that in 9 months your life will be drastically different. This is even more the case if you are someone who likes to travel. Sure, you can still travel with children but it is a very different experience to travelling without them. As a result, so-called ‘babymoons’, trips that parents take before their baby is born, are increasing in popularity.
Before you go
Firstly get the go ahead from your doctor. Depending on the country you decide to go to, you might need specific vaccinations. Rather than relying on local pharmacies, pack enough of your essential medicines for the whole time you are away. Also pack a copy of your prenatal record, which should contain information about your blood type, due date, blood pressure and ultrasound results.1,2 Make sure your insurance still covers you when you are travelling and pregnant. Although the rules vary from policy to policy, most policies exclude coverage for pregnancy, complications of pregnancy or childbirth for women travelling overseas after the 28th week of their pregnancy.3
If you are pregnant with only one baby, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise you to plan your travel to fall somewhere between weeks 14 and 28 as the risk of complications is lower during the second trimester than the first (e.g. miscarriage) and third (e.g. preterm birth) trimesters. If you are carrying multiples some doctors even recommend stopping travelling after 20 weeks.1,2,4 Travelling in your second trimester also means that (hopefully) most of your early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue and nausea will have subsided.
Flying while pregnant
In general, flying is considered to be safe while pregnant as long as you are in good health and not suffering from complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
One health problem pregnant women are at a slightly increased risk of while flying is a blood clot developing in the leg on long flights. To counteract this risk, make sure you move around and keep the blood flowing. If you can, choose an aisle seat so that it is easy to get out to stretch your legs. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and avoid foods that can make you gassy.4,5
When you arrive
After you arrive at your destination, registering with your country’s consulate is a good idea as they may be helpful if you need to leave the country due to an emergency.4) If travelling to a less developed country, there are some precautions you should take regarding food and liquid intake:
- Only drink tap water that has been boiled for one minute or bottled water
- Do not put ice made from unboiled water in your drinks
- Do not consume undercooked or raw meat or fish
- Only eat fresh fruit and vegetables if you have peeled them yourself or if they have been cooked4
General tips for travelling around in any country include the following:
- Make sure you carry snack food with you
- Take comfortable shoes if you know you are going to be walking a lot
- Take your favorite pillow (and if travelling to somewhere like Japan where mattresses may be different to what you are used to invest in a good quality comfortable sleeping mat)
- Plan for plenty of restroom breaks, rest stops and stretches4,6
And of course one of the most important things is to enjoy your trip!