Should You Travel At All during Pregnancy ?
Travelling during pregnancy is challenging, whatever may be mode of travel air, road, or train or boat.
Two things can solve problem:
1) Common sense
Saying “NO” to travel during pregnancy will be wrong. Individualization of every case is necessary. Same rule cannot be applied to all the cases.
Discuss with your doctor. If doctor expresses concern, then think whether It is really necessary to travel.
RISK OF TRAVELLING AFTER 32 WEEKS:
You may deliver at a completely new situation with new doctor. Ideal time to travel during pregnancy is SECOND TRIMESTER.
- Concern in first trimester: Morning Sickness
- Concern in third trimester: Easy fatigue
ADVICE BEFORE YOU TRAVEL IN PREGNANCY:
- Schedule a checkup and get a green signal from your doctor before your journey.
- Keep copy of all your personal records, laboratory investigations and USG reports.
- Take necessary medications with you.
- Keep contact number of your obstetrician with you & person accompanying you
- Get phone number of local doctor.
- The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The International Air Travel Association recommended that expecting mother in an uncomplicated pregnancy avoid travel from the 37th week of pregnancy to birth.
- Dress comfortably. Loose cotton clothing & comfortable shoes.
- Take plenty of rest stops & stretches.
- Use seat belts and other safety measures.
- Take your favorite pillows.
- Drink plenty of water and healthy diet.
- Don’t travel to places where access to medical help is not good.
TRAVEL BY AIR DURING PREGNANCY:
OK: Women with uncomplicated pregnancy until a month before their due date.
Don’t Fly: Women with complicated pregnancy like hypertensive diseases, twins, placenta previa, preterm labour & other pregnancy related complications.
- It is important for pregnant women to get up & walk around every hour, so that blood circulation is moving & prevents formation of blood clot.
- Special kind of stockings can be worn to make it less likely for blood clots to develop.
- Choose a seat from where getting up & down is easy.
- Metal detectors are not a big concern. There is not a lot of radiation from these detectors.
- Don’t lift heavy weighted luggage. Use porters.
- Drink lot of fluids to minimize risk of dehydration. Drink non alcoholic, non caffeinated drinks.
- Eat frequent & safe meals.
- If you feel contractions or pain, inform airline crew as soon as possible.
- Travel preferably on major airlines with pressurized cabins & avoid smaller private planes. In smaller planes, avoid attitude above 7000 feet.
PREGNANCY TRAVEL BY BUS AND TRAIN:
Same precautions as travelling by air:
- Keep airbags turned on.
- Be seated while bus is moving.
- Hold on to rail or seat to keep balance.
- Trains usually have more room to navigate & walk.
- While travelling long distances, get out & walk every few hours.
- Calf exercises keep blood flowing.
- Wear both shoulder & lap seat belt.
- Position of belt between breasts & off to side of young belly.
PREGNANCY TRAVEL BY BOAT:
- Pregnant women tend to get nausea & sea sickness.
- Risk of stomach virus infection.
- Dehydration & electrolyte imbalance is risk.
- Drink plenty of fluids.