Tips for travelling during pregnancy
Essential tips for the mum-to-be when she's out and about
Do pregnancy and vacationing go together? Of course they do! Being pregnant should not inhibit a you to fulfil the desire to travel. Many pregnant women enjoy a holiday, a babymoon or a business trip before the little one is in the picture. And, it isn’t difficult.
“As long as the pregnancy has no complications, then there’s no reason why pregnant women can’t travel safely,”says Dr Papia Goswami Mukherjee, consultant gynaecologist, Kumar Clinic, Mumbai.
But before you start packing your suitcase, make a note of certain precautions. Read through our list.
When is it safe
In the absence of any medical complications, the best time to travel is usually the period between 14 weeks and 28 weeks (second trimester). “Most common pregnancy emergencies usually happen in the first and third trimesters, so the second trimester is ideal time to travel,” confirms Dr Mukherjee.
During the first trimester, some women experience morning sickness and nausea, which may worsen during travel. There’s also a high risk of miscarriages during the first three months associated with or without travel.
After 28 weeks, it may be harder to move around or sit for a long time. Women also generally complain of fatigue. There also may be an added risk of going into early labour in the third trimester.
What are the most important precautions before you plan that holiday?
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Must dos while travelling during pregnancy
Before you embark on any travel, do keep the following in mind.
- Discuss your entire travel plan with the doctor to eliminate any potential risks.
- Find out what healthcare facilities are available at the destination, in case urgent medical attention is required.
- Take your medical records with you so you can give doctors at the holiday destination relevant information, if necessary.
- If you are planning to travel to an international destination, avoid visiting countries which require you to be vaccinated.
- Malaria could cause major health problems for a mother and her unborn baby. “A pregnant woman may want to consider avoiding travel to areas where malaria transmission occurs,” suggests Dr Mukherjee.
- Consider buying travel insurance. Check whether the insurance policy covers pregnancy and/or care for newborn, if you go into labour and deliver unexpectedly during domestic or overseas travel.
- Do not sit for long periods of time. Keep doing simple stretches periodically.
Click on Continue Reading to know what to pack.
Pregnancy travel bag essentials
Once you finish packing, double check for these items in your bag.
- Medications taken during pregnancy and anti-emetic (anti-nausea) pills
- Travel health kit (including medicines for diarrhea, dehydration, cold and cough that are OK to have during pregnancy: check these with your doctor)
- Adequate supply of bottled water and energy rich food like nuts
- Non-toxic mosquito repellent
- Medical file with reports and pregnancy notes
- Travel insurance policy documents
- Emergency helpline numbers
- Loose clothing
- Comfortable shoes.
- Elastic compression support stockings to be worn to prevent the risk of clots in the legs during air or long distance road travel.
Click on Continue Reading for smart eating tips on travel.
Dietary tips for the mum on-the-go
Eating right while you’re out and about is vitally important to safeguard your health during pregnancy. Dr Mukherjee suggests the following:
- Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks and drinks with you to nibble through the journey. Some good options are fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, bananas, oranges, dried fruits, nuts, and sandwiches.
- Keep drinking water (preferably bottled water) at regular intervals. Completely avoid alcohol and caffeine (from sources like coffee)
- Avoid gas-producing foods and fizzy drinks. Entrapped gas expands with altitude (in case of air travel or travel to hill stations) and can make the pregnant woman feel uncomfortable.
- When eating out, it’s best to stick to foods that are thoroughly cooked. Avoid raw foods such as salads and meats.
- Stay away from fresh fruit juices or lassi served by roadside vendors.
There are specific safety measures to be followed for different modes to travel.
Specific precautions are to be observed while travelling via different modes of transport
- Each airline has their own rules for the pregnant traveller. It is always advisable to check these with the airline while you book tickets. Know more about air travel during pregnancy.
- Travelling via road is considered convenient as the mum-to-be has the freedom to stop or go as and when required. Read about precautions to take on road trips.
- Sometimes, train journeys are preferred over car journeys as sudden jerks can be avoided. Observe these precautions when you travel via train.
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