Traveling while pregnant? Is it safe? Can you fly? Where do you put my belly? These questions and more, answered right here. By your very own Peanut cabin crew.
There are so many reasons why traveling while pregnant may be necessary.
You might need to go to another city for work.
Or it could be Aunt Maud’s Thanksgiving extravaganza.
Or maybe you’re heading off on that relaxing babymoon with your partner.
Whatever the reason, we’ve got the dos and don’ts from the experts — plus some top tips for staying comfy.
So make sure your tray table is secured in the upright position, and let’s settle in for a safe journey.
In this article: 📝
- Is it OK to travel while pregnant?
- Trains, planes, and automobiles
- Top tips for traveling while pregnant
- Why should traveling be avoided during pregnancy?
- General tips for traveling while pregnant
Is it OK to travel while pregnant?
We’ve got good news — travel during pregnancy can be perfectly safe.
It’s often best done between 14 and 28 weeks as the first and third trimesters on either side of this tend to be more demanding.
By 14 weeks, your pregnancy nausea should (hopefully) have passed, you will likely be feeling that fab second trimester surge of energy, and you’re probably still able to get around easily.
(Read: you don’t have a beach ball belly yet.)
Trains, planes, and automobiles
Let’s take a look at how you might plan on getting around:
So first question — when can you NOT fly while pregnant?
36 weeks is generally considered the cut-off for domestic flights.
Traveling internationally while pregnant should probably stop somewhere between 28 and 35 weeks.
Longer flights can bring more risks the later they are in your pregnancy.
And of course, depending on your birth preferences, you may want to stick close to your preferred midwife or doctor at this stage.
Stretching your legs and getting some movement in while flying is important to avoid DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).
This is when a blood clot forms in one of your veins. It can be serious — and being pregnant and sitting for long periods are both risk factors.
The CDC recommends doing exercises like extending your legs straight out and flexing your ankles.
You may also want to try pulling each knee up towards your chest.
In later pregnancy, try not to drive for longer than four hours at a time.
And make sure to take breaks to stretch your legs.
But there’s no real cut-off time of when to stop traveling by car while pregnant.
After all, you’ve got to get to the labor ward at some point, right?!
Travel by sea
When it comes to the open ocean, pregnant travelers, depending on the cruise liner, may be restricted from travel somewhere between 24 to 28 weeks.
So make sure to double-check before you head off into the sunset.
Some cruises and flights will require a doctor’s note that states that you are fit to travel and provides your estimated delivery date.
And now, to make it all a little bit more comfortable.
Top tips for traveling while pregnant
- Make sure to get an aisle seat. For the sake of you and your bladder!
- Wear comfy loose clothing.
- Make sure to get up and walk around during the flight. Stretch those legs every hour by moving around the plane or doing a few leg exercises in your seat.
- Wear your seatbelt at all times when seated, just in case of turbulence. Wear it low on your pelvis under your belly.
- As much as you may enjoy soda drinks, this is not the time for them. As the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says, the bubbles will expand at high altitudes, and you will end up feeling super uncomfortable and bloated. It may help to stick to water or fruit juice instead.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Hence that aisle seat 😉. The dryer air and lower O2 levels when flying can dehydrate you.
- Again, comfy clothing is a must.
- Try not to drive for periods longer than four hours.
- Take regular breaks to stretch and or exercise your legs.
- Keep that seatbelt on, and worn low under your belly, the cross strap between your breasts.
- Keep hydrated 🥤. A great excuse to make regular stops for stretching those legs😜.
- Snacks. No real medical reason. Just because of deliciousness.
- Check in with your doctor on what to do should you become seasick.
- Make sure there are qualified medical professionals on board should you need them. And that your stops include places where proper medical care can be provided.
- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer to avoid getting sick.
- Check out this handy tool from the CDC to make sure your cruise liner has passed a health and safety check.
Why should traveling be avoided during pregnancy?
There are a few times when traveling during pregnancy is not recommended.
Even if you have experienced a smooth pregnancy so far, it’s always a good idea to check in with your midwife or OB-GYN before traveling too far from home.
The CDC recommends that you should avoid traveling while pregnant if you have any, or a history of any, of the following conditions:
- Placental complications
- Early cervical dilation
- Risks of premature labor
- Premature amniotic sac release
- Any pregnancy bleeding
- A history of pregnancy loss
In the following instances, travel may be ok, but it’s important to check in with your doctor first:
- Irregular positioning of the baby
- Fetal growth restriction
- A history of reproductive challenges
- Placenta previa
- 35+ pregnancy (Psst. Head here for our Renaming Revolution. We’re all about changing the outdated, harmful terminology that offers more hurt than care. Let’s rename and reframe!)
This may all sound very scary, we know.
But don’t worry — it’s just about being extra cautious so that you and your baby stay safe.
General tips for traveling while pregnant
Whether you’re visiting Aunt Maude or cruising the Nile, here are our top tips for making the journey safe and comfortable:
- Speak to your doctor about where you’re going and ask if there are any particular considerations for you and your baby. If necessary, take along a medical file with any important information.
- Ask your doctor what extra vaccinations are required or recommended for the particular place you’re going to.
- Make sure you have adequate travel insurance should you need medical help while away.
- Find out the location of the closest medical center at your destination, just in case you need emergency help.
- Stick to bottled water and pay special attention to food hygiene while away. Food poisoning while pregnant can be quite serious.
- Remember to pack your prenatal vitamins!
- Finally — and this tip is very important — have an amazing time.
The question of when to stop traveling when pregnant is really one best answered by you and your doctor.
You know your body.
And even if you’ve got the all-clear and it’s during the magic 14 to 28-week window, if you don’t feel up to it the day you leave, that’s ok.
You have full license to change your mind
Doesn’t matter if you’re going to miss out on Aunt Maude’s Thanksgiving extravaganza this year.
You take the rest and the space you need to prepare for the most important journey of your life — mamahood.
Have a great trip. 🧳💖
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