Can You Travel While You’re Heavily Pregnant? 6 Important Things to Know

If you’re pregnant and thinking about traveling, numerous questions may pop into your head. The good news is that, with planning and precautions, travel during pregnancy can be both safe and enjoyable, so long as you follow your doctor’s orders and travel to the right places.

Whether it’s a long vacation or an unexpected trip, this article is your guide to navigating travel during pregnancy. We’ll explore five vital things to know about traveling while pregnant.

6 Things to Know About Traveling When Heavily Pregnant 

Navigating travel when heavily pregnant can be filled with uncertainties. To help simplify your journey, here are five key aspects to be aware of while considering your travel plans.

It’s Generally Safe to Travel Before 36 Weeks of Pregnancy 

Air travel is usually safe before 36 weeks of pregnancy unless otherwise stated by your doctor. If your doctor hasn’t found any medical complications that could affect your travel experience, then you’re likely safe to fly. After 36 weeks, your doctor will probably advise you against flying. 

Most commercial flights allow women up to 36 weeks to fly. However, some might require a letter from your doctor authorizing the trip, or they may need to see proof of gestational age. 

There are also airlines that may have international flight restrictions. According to experts, the safest time to fly is during the second trimester, which lasts between week 14 and week 27. At this stage, mothers-to-be are less likely to experience a pregnancy emergency. 

Knowing your approximate due date can help. While it’s uncommon for pregnant people not to know how far along they are, it can sometimes be confusing to know exactly your due date. 

Mothers-to-be can use Flo’s EDD calculator to know their approximate due date. Don’t forget to check with your healthcare provider if it’s all good to travel at any point during your pregnancy.

There Are Many Things That Can Prevent Travel When Pregnant

Besides your due date, there are many other things that could prevent travel. We briefly discussed medical conditions, but not all of them will stop you from flying.

However, if you’re at any risk of premature birth, anemia, high blood pressure, or gestational diabetes, your risk for complications is greater, and therefore, you might not be able to travel.    

The Complications of Flying While Pregnant Can be Severe 

We can’t stress enough the importance of speaking to your doctor before traveling. If you have a pre-existing health condition or your doctor stated you shouldn’t fly for any reason, don’t call their bluff. Going against your doctor’s orders could put you and your baby’s life at risk. 

Mothers Can Travel Safely by Being Prepared

Mothers should always be prepared in the event of a medical emergency. If you take a few doctor-approved safety precautions, you’ll be able to travel more safely by aircraft.  

These precautions include but aren’t limited to:

  • Stretching your legs as much as you can to avoid blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.
  • Wearing compression socks during your flight to help with circulation and leg swelling 
  • Making sure your travel location has clean water and access to adequate nutrition
  • Wearing a seatbelt across your hips (not over your belly)
  • Speaking to your health insurance provider about travel coverage
  • Taking your prenatal documents with you on the trip
  • Knowing what to do and where to go if there’s a medical emergency by locating a local hospital with an obstetric structure you can visit if needed
  • Make sure not to forget any prescribed medications and vitamins you need to take.

Many of These Suggestions Also Apply to Other Types of Travel

If you’re traveling by car, train, or ferry, many of our suggestions above still apply. Just keep in mind that, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the best time to travel is mid pregnancy (14 to 28 weeks) because you can still get around easily.

We recommend against ferry travel and long car and train rides if you have a pre-existing health condition that could interfere with your pregnancy, as it may be harder for you to find help. Don’t travel to extremely remote areas where medical care is difficult to find in an emergency.

Since you’ll be able to move more easily in cars, trains, and ferries, take advantage of that and walk around often. Remember to stay hydrated.

Pregnant women should drink 8 to 12 cups (or 64 to 96 ounces) of water each day to ensure healthy digestion, nutrient circulation, and amniotic fluid formation. Try to avoid bumpy roads and tracks and harsh waters.

In Conclusion… 

Now that you’re aware of the precautions and considerations, there’s no reason to put off those adventures you’ve been yearning for during your pregnancy unless travel isn’t safe. 

Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider, plan ahead for your comfort and safety, and remain vigilant about possible risks. Every journey is an opportunity for memories, even when pregnant. Go forth and experience the world! Your baby may be joining you soon enough.

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