Just because you are pregnant does not mean that you have to remain
within the sight of your house for the duration. Travelling and
holidays are quite safe for most women while they are expecting.
This article gives you information on how to keep healthy while
you are away but enjoy yourself at the same time.
Travel during pregnancy is safe for most women provided there are
no obvious complications. However, whatever your travel plans are,
it is wise to discuss them first with your doctor or midwife. Travel
to certain countries may not be recommended whilst you are pregnant,
as certain immunisations and medications are harmful to the developing
It is generally considered that the safest and most comfortable
time for you to travel is during the second trimester. Morning sickness
is usually over and, after the first three months, the risk of miscarriage
is significantly lower. During the third trimester you may feel
less comfortable because of your size, plus you run the risk of
going into early labour.
Most airlines and insurance companies have regulations dictating
that a pregnant woman should not fly after weeks 35/36 in case she
goes into labour. So you should ensure that any travel plans are
concluded by this time. Also, it is important that you check that
you are adequately insured for prenatal emergencies or delivery
in a foreign country. Some travel firms even recommend evacuation
insurance for travel to remote areas.
Follow commonsense guidelines, not only while you are travelling,
but also for the duration of your stay.
Some countries require that people be vaccinated against certain
diseases before they travel there. Requirements for immunisation
vary, so it is important to find out which ones are needed for the
countries you plan to visit. There are many high-risk areas in the
world that pregnant women should simply avoid as some of the normal
preventative measures are not recommended during pregnancy. Some
vaccines can be given safely to pregnant women, although live vaccines
should be avoided as they can cause disease in your developing baby.
You need to discuss your requirements with your doctor.
Malaria during pregnancy is especially dangerous to both mother
and child as it produces anaemia and flu-like symptoms and can result
in miscarriage, stillbirth, small babies and other problems. Most
authorities recommend that pregnant women avoid non-essential travel
to affected areas during pregnancy as no drug treatment fully protects
against Malaria. However, a drug called Chloroquine can help to
prevent and treat the disease and is safe to use in pregnancy. You
must start taking it before you travel and keep taking it for a
few weeks after retuning home.
All travellers abroad should take precautions and care to avoid
illness, but it is particularly important when you are pregnant.
This does not mean that you should spend all of your time lying
in the shade drinking bottled water, but extra care will be required
for the health of yourself and your baby.
- Arrange to have an antenatal check-up before you go.
- Take a copy of your maternity records with you.
- Drink only bottled water or soft drinks. Iodine used to purify
water may not be safe for the foetus.
- Do not have ice in your drinks.
Avoid fresh fruits and vegetable unless they have been cooked or
- Avoid things like pate and soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert.
This will protect you from Listerosis, a disease, which causes a
minor feverish illness in the mother, but can be fatal to the developing
- Do not eat raw or undercooked meat. It can contain organisms that
cause toxoplasmosis, a disease that can harm the foetus.
- Ensure that any milk you drink is pasteurised.
- If you get diarrhoea, drink plenty of bottled water. Do not take
any medication without consulting a doctor.
- Do not take any medicine without consulting a doctor first.
Whatever form of transport you use it is important that you are
as comfortable as possible, particularly on long journeys. By following
a few simple tips you can help yourself to make your trip a pleasure
rather than a pain.
- Maintain an appropriate sitting position by putting a pillow
in the small of your back; rest your feet on something so that your
thighs are off the seat and avoid crossing your legs as it interferes
with circulation and puts uneven strain on other parts of the body.
- Walk around at least every hour or so. This will decrease swelling
and help make you more comfortable.
- Try to get an aisle seat so that you can have more space and can
get to the bathroom easily.
- Wear comfortable shoes and loose, cotton clothing.
- Take some crackers or snacks with you to help prevent nausea.
- The air in a plane is very drying and a glass of liquid every
hour will help maintain your body fluids. Avoid fizzy drinks as
cabin air pressure goes down; any gas in your stomach will expand
by as much as 20% making you feel bloated.
Sitting in a car or coach for hours on end is wearing even when
you are not pregnant. It is best to aim for no more than five or
six hours travel per day, with a stop every hour or so to stretch
Many women are concerned that a seat belt will harm their unborn
baby in the event of the car stopping quickly or being involved
in a collision. However, it is always safer for both you and your
baby, to wear a seat belt than not to wear one. If you are safe,
then so is your baby. Unless you are unlucky enough to be seriously
injured, it is unlikely that your baby will be harmed. The foetus
is cushioned in a fluid filled sac inside the uterus, which is further
protected by muscles, organs and bones. However, if you are involved
in even a minor accident it is vital that you get properly checked
over by a doctor.
For the best protection you should wear a lap-shoulder seat belt
every time you travel in a car. Place the lap belt under your abdomen
and across your upper thighs so that it fits as comfortably as possible.
Put the shoulder strap between your breasts and, if necessary, across
your seat to prevent it rubbing your neck. A seat belt worn too
loose or too high on the abdomen can cause broken ribs or injury
to the stomach in the event of an accident. Air bags are not an
alternative to seat belts but provide additional protection. You
should still wear a seat belt. The gas used to inflate the bags
Staying active during your pregnancy can help you stay healthy so
still enjoy some of the activities available to you while you are
on holiday, while being sensible about what you do. Walking is one
of the best exercises for pregnant women and sightseeing usually
means plenty of this. Wear low-heeled, comfortable shoes and walk
as much as you like, until you tire. Swimming provides all over
exercise, which is great for pregnant women as the buoyancy of the
water gives plenty of support. However, there are some activities
that are potentially very harmful to you and your baby. Apart from
the obvious activities, such as bungee jumping and paracending,
other not so obviously dangerous sports should definitely be avoided.
Scuba diving can cause decompression sickness in the foetus and
water skiing can force water into the cervix. Many doctors also
think that skiing on snow is too risky. Even saunas and hot tubs
should not be used as they raise the core body temperature too much.
Despite all the extra care you should take while you are on holiday
remember, you are there to relax and enjoy yourself. It will also
probably be the last break you have as a couple for many years,
so make the most of it.
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