Childbirth, also called delivery is the end of pregnancy where one or more fetus (baby-to-be, that forms after 8 weeks of conception) leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina (normal delivery) or by Caesarean or C-section (when the doctor makes a cut through your uterus and removes the fetus). 

Pregnancy is a beautiful and life-changing experience. Taking precautions right from the day you conceive (to be pregnant) until the day of childbirth (the end of pregnancy where one or more babies are born) is essential. While most women take care of their posture, exercises, diet, sleep, and stress management, traveling during pregnancy and after childbirth is another important criterion to be mindful of. In this article, we will understand if it is safe to travel immediately after childbirth or not.

Travel after Childbirth

We completely understand that you are in a haste to cruise out of your house since your movement has been restricted ever since you have conceived. Of course, you can travel but only a short distance after you have crossed the threshold of a minimum of two weeks in case of normal delivery. However, it is not in the best of your interest to move out immediately after childbirth.  

Generally, your obstetrician (a doctor who specializes in pregnancy, and childbirth) will advise against strenuous travel right after your delivery. You need to give yourself time to recuperate (recover from the exertion of delivering a baby) and allow some rest. Your body is not yet prepared to take the strain of traveling long distances. 

Mothers who had a caesarean section (C-section) or had a complicated pregnancy or high-risk pregnancy (a pregnancy that poses a potential threat from serious disorders to you, your baby, or to both) must pay heed to this medical advice for the next three to four weeks. Mothers who gave normal vaginal delivery must stay put for around two weeks. This precautionary period is due to several medical reasons.

4 Reasons Why You Should Not Travel Immediately After Childbirth

1. Increased risk of infections. Your newborn has not built his/her immunity (complex biological processes that defend your body from harmful, foreign substances) so far. It takes about 2 to 3 months for newborns to start developing their immunity. Travelling will expose your baby to the potential danger of infections. The first four to eight weeks of your baby’s life needs extra caution. 

Some airlines may not permit newborns to board the flight. After childbirth, even your body is more vulnerable to infections. Your body is weak and can catch an infection rather easily. At this point in time, you are at high risk of blood clots (gel-like clumps of blood) too. Unless there is no urgency, it is best to wait before you take the plunge.

2. Caesarean (C-section) delivery has various complications. If you just had a cesarean delivery, you might as well hold your horses before thinking about galloping away on a vacation. Doctors caution that C-section complications can include bleeding, swelling, infections in the stitches, blood clots, the opening of your stitches, etc. You are advised not to carry heavy luggage or walk briskly. To prevent inflammation, you should keep your legs elevated at most times. 

Mothers with C-section need six weeks to recover from surgery before they plan to travel.

3. Missing your doctor’s appointment is not advisable. You and your baby need to see the doctor after delivery too. Your newborn needs to get his/her immunization (vaccination) done on schedule. Your newborn’s wellness check-up should be done after short intervals to stay on the safer side. 

Your obstetrician/gynaecologist would schedule follow-up visits with you to check if everything is fine. You would not be able to attend a doctor’s appointment if you fly out and missing these crucial appointments is not advisable.

4. Fatigue. Labour and delivery are usually exhausting. Travelling will only aggravate your condition. Rest is the best remedy for recuperating after the delivery of your baby. Traveling long distances entails jet lags which might lead to a sleep disorder. Lack of sleep could lead to irritability, depression, fatigue, and poor quality of life. It is very important to get enough rest before you get back on your feet. 

The bottom line is that rest is compulsory for a few weeks after giving birth to your baby. Unless and until there is a compelling requirement to fly with your baby, you can fly away as early as four to eight weeks after delivery. If you need to urgently go somewhere, you must consult your pediatrician/obstetrician before your travel.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.