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How to: Travel when pregnant

Pregnancy

Travelling for two or more is, like everything about pregnancy, both a challenge and an adventure. But done right it's the best way to make your pregnancy a memorable time. Follow our tips and you can travel safe in the knowledge that your baby-to-be (and your ankles) won't take any strain.

  • Do

    1. Consult your doctor before committing to any plans. It is imperative that you visit your doctor before making travel plans as there are certain medical conditions that may preclude you from travelling at all. Discuss your holiday activities and compile a list of supplies for your first aid kit during your consultation as well.

    2. Travel in your second trimester. The second trimester (13 to 27 weeks) is the best time to take a trip - unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Morning sickness usually subsides around the 12th week making it the perfect time to really enjoy your pregnancy. Make sure that travel plans that begin in your second trimester don't creep into your third trimester and cause problems - like not being allowed on the flight back home by your airline. Preferably your entire holiday should be contained within the second trimester.

    3. Choose your destination carefully. There are three types of destinations to avoid when picking a holiday destination:

      - Avoid travelling to areas that will require vaccination - especially malaria-prone areas. The risk of unnecessary complication that comes with taking vaccines, which is often the weakened virus or bacteria, is not one worth taking.

      - Avoid destinations at high altitudes over 4000m.

      - Avoid areas that have poor access to clean water, sanitation and health services.

    4. Pick the aisle seat on your flight. Before boarding your flight it's a good idea to visit the loo, because sometimes planes get stuck on the runway for awhile. Picking the aisle seat ensures that you don't disturb your fellow passengers for those times when you'll require frequent bathroom breaks.

    5. Plan a relaxed holiday. For the pregnant traveller feet up time is a priority. Rather choose leisurely activities like museum and art gallery tours or more mundane pleasures like a relaxing bath over physical activities. Make sure that there are places to sit wherever you go and keep yourself well hydrated in hot destinations.

    6. Pack a partner. Travelling alone is normally no fun, but even less so when you're pregnant. Having someone to run around arranging things is the best way to lessen your load and allow you to relax.

    7. Enjoy the experience. You may get a lot of friendly attention during your holiday - especially if you visit the Mediterranean. Enjoy all the perks of being pregnant while you can and pack a camera - those pics will be a great memento for years to come.

  • Don't

    1. Fly during your first trimester. Unfortunately pregnancy means that travel opportunities can be limited by health considerations. The stage of your pregnancy is a big part of deciding whether you should travel or not.

      Travelling in the first trimester (less than 12 weeks) of your pregnancy is generally not advised. Dealing with nausea and exhaustion while trying to enjoy your holiday is no holiday at all. Additionally this period is particularly sensitive from a medical perspective: ectopic pregnancies (when the foetus develops outside the uterus) and miscarriages happen most often in this period.

    2. Fly in your third trimester. The final trimester (after week 27) is not an advisable time to travel due to the possibility of going into early labour. Many airlines actively refuse passengers who are in late term pregnancy. If you cannot avoid travelling during this time, check with your airline what documents they may need to allow you onto the flight - most require clearance from your doctor.

    3. Engage in activities that involve speed, heat and falling. There are certain activities that you will not be able to do on your holiday. Any activities that involve falling, collisions, extreme temperatures or place stress on the joints are to be avoided. Activities like skiing, snowboarding, skating, hiking, sauna, hot (and cold) tubs are not advised.

Last Updated: November 2014



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