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Traveling Safely During Pregnancy

by Teresa Shaw | March 24, 2008
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Traveling Safely During Pregnancy

If you have to travel for work or for other reasons during your pregnancy, don't fret. While there are safety issues to consider, traveling during pregnancy is generally safe for both you and baby. Following are some precautions you can take to make sure you and baby stay safe and comfortable during your travels.

Talk to your doctor. Be sure to bring it up at your next visit, or make a special appointment to discuss your trip. Your doctor may have a good reason to keep you home, such as risks of preterm labor, or will clear you to travel. He or she may also have good advice for traveling while pregnant.

Get Prepared. While you're in the office, obtain a copy of your medical records, and—if you are traveling in the second half of your third trimester —a doctor's note approving your travel. Some airlines won't allow pregnant women past 34 weeks; if you are flying, be sure to check with your airline prior to your travels to make sure you can go.

Consider the timing. Traveling in your first or second trimester is generally the easiest and most comfortable for pregnant women. You're not as large as in the third trimester and any morning sickness you might have experienced has probably eased up. If you have a choice, try to arrange your trip toward the end of your first trimester or during your second trimester.

Pack smart. Don't pack everything, especially if you are traveling alone and need to be able to manage your own luggage. Use easy to carry luggage such as wheeled suitcases, and check your bags if possible. Pack snacks as well—dried or fresh fruit, peanut butter and whole grain crackers, and pasteurized cheese are healthy and energizing choices.

Dress Comfortably. Forego the high-heeled shoes for more comfortable flats. If you're in your second or third trimester, you might not be able to see your feet when you look down anyway! Wear clothes that are not binding around the waist and a supportive bra. Don't hesitate to buy maternity clothes, especially before you truly look pregnant—you'll feel pregnant, and there's no good reason to wait to be more comfortable.

Stay hydrated. One of the most important things you can do is to stay hydrated. Dehydration can bring on preterm labor, so drink up. Bring a bottle of water or juice with you and drink plenty of fluids throughout your trip.

Move around. Whether you are traveling by air, car or train, be sure to get up every hour or so to take a short walk and stretch your legs. Use the restroom whenever the need strikes.

Rest. Put your feet up when you can to avoid swelling, and take off your shoes if possible.

Be aware. Pay attention to your body. If you start to feel contractions, sit down, put your feet up and drink some water. Rest, and start timing your contractions. If they seem painful, are coming close together or are uncomfortable, seek medical attention. Don't be embarrassed or afraid—be safe.

Carry a cell phone. Make sure that important emergency numbers are programmed in as well—phone numbers for family, your doctor, hospital, and the local hospital at your destination.

Be prepared. Call your health insurance provider prior to your trip to make sure you are covered, or to find out which hospitals accept your insurance. Write down the name, address and phone number of the hospital, and program the phone number into your cell phone.

Sometimes travel is unavoidable, but there are precautions you can take prior to your trip to make sure that you and baby stay safe and healthy.

Teresa Shaw is a professional editor and freelance writer with a degree in English and journalism. She writes about motherhood, travel, and cooking, among other topics, for a variety of print and online markets. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, two cats, and dog.

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