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Pregnant? You Can Still Travel
Factors Affecting the Decision to Travel
- Preterm labor and delivery while travelling
- False premature labor
- Third trimester bleeding
- Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus
- Phlebitis—inflammation of veins, often in the legs
- High blood pressure and pre-eclampsia
- Vaginal discharge or bleeding
- Leg cramps
Guidelines for Traveling
- Make sure that your health insurance is valid and that the policy covers a newborn in case you deliver during the trip. Also, a supplemental travel insurance policy and a prepaid medical evacuation insurance policy should be obtained, though most might not cover pregnancy-related problems.
- Check medical facilities at your destination. If you're in the last trimester, medical facilities should be able to manage complications of pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, and cesarean sections.
- Determine if prenatal care will be required abroad and, if so, who will provide it. Also, make sure prenatal visits requiring specific timing are not missed. Either bring records about your prenatal care or be familiar with the information.
- Find out if blood is screened for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B at your destination. And be sure you know your own blood type as well as those of your companions.
- Talk to your doctor about getting vaccines appropriate for the time of year and location of travel.
- If you will be at risk of contracting tuberculosis at your destination, receive skin testing before and after travel.
- Get advice from your doctor on how to avoid potentially contaminated water and food.
- Be aware of any other disease that you may be at high risk of getting at the destination, such as malaria. If you need preventitive medications, make sure you tell your doctor you are pregnant.
Traveling by Car
- Walk every half hour during a smooth flight.
- Flex and extend your ankles frequently.
- Keep the safety belt fastened at the pelvic level at all times when you are sitting.
- Do not drink carbonated drinks or eat foods that cause gas before your flight.
- Drink plenty of fluids; the low humidity in the aircraft cabin can cause dehydration.
- Talk to your doctor about anti-nausea medication if you are you are prone to nausea.
When You Need a Doctor
- Passing tissue or clots
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Ruptured membranes or a leakage of fluid from the vagina
- Excessive leg swelling
- Visual problems
The Travel Health Kit During Pregnancy
- Oral rehydration salt (ORS) packets
- Prenatal vitamins
- Insect repellent containing a low percentage of DEET
- Sunscreen an SPF of at least 15
American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Women's Health—Office on Women's Health http://www.womenshealth.gov
The Canadian Women's Health Network http://www.cwhn.ca
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
ACOG Committee Opinion. Air travel during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/Resources%5FAnd%5FPublications/Committee%5FOpinions/Committee%5Fon%5FObstetric%5FPractice/Air%5FTravel%5FDuring%5FPregnancy. Published December 2009. Accessed March 7, 2014.
Frequently asked questions: Travel during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq055.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120702T1621385290. Updated August 2011. Accessed March 7, 2014.
Sutton, M. Pregnant Travelers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2012/chapter-8-advising-travelers-with-specific-needs/pregnant-travelers.htm. Updated August 1, 2013. Accessed March 7, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 03/07/2014