Tips on how to keep you and your baby safe when traveling
Everyday life doesn't stop once you are pregnant. Most healthy pregnant women are able to continue with their usual routine and activity level. That means going to work, running errands, and, for some, traveling away from home. To take care of yourself and help keep your baby safe, consider these points before taking a long trip or traveling far from home:
- Talk to your doctor before making any travel decisions that will take you far from home. Ask if any health conditions you might have makes travel during pregnancy unsafe. Also consider the destination. Is the food and water safe? Will you need immunizations before you go? Is there good medical care available in the event of an emergency? Will your health insurance cover medical care at your destination?
- Avoid sitting for long periods during car or air travel. Prolonged sitting can affect blood flow in your legs. Try to limit driving to no more than 5 or 6 hours each day. Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs. Stand up, and move your legs often during air travel. Wearing support pantyhose also can help blood flow.
- Occasional air travel is safe for most pregnant women, and most airlines will allow women to fly up to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Make sure to wear your seatbelt during the flight, and take steps to ease the discomforts of prolonged travel and sitting. Frequent air travel during pregnancy increases the risk of fetal exposure to cosmic radiation. If you are a pregnant pilot, aircrew member, or other frequent flier, check with your employer about flying restrictions.
- Bring a copy of your medical record and find out about medical care at your destination so you will be prepared in the event of an emergency.
- If you suspect a problem with your pregnancy during your trip, don't wait until you come home to see your doctor. Seek medical care right away.
Wearing a seatbelt during car and air travel is safe while pregnant. The lap strap should go under your belly, across your hips. The shoulder strap should go between your breasts and to the side of your belly. Make sure it fits snugly.
Source: WomensHealth.gov, Office of Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Content last updated Sept. 27, 2010.