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Traveling can be physically and mentally taxing on anyone, but it can often become difficult for expecting women. Even the easiest of transportation methods we often take for granted can become very complicated.

Successful travel while pregnant comes down to timing your trip just right. It is important for expecting mothers and their doctors to evaluate the necessity of any upcoming trips or vacations.

The majority of medical emergencies that affect pregnant women typically occur during their first and third trimesters. Therefore, it is usually ideal to plan trips and vacations during the second trimester, between the 14-36 week mark - during a time morning sickness and fatigue are not as prevalent. Always check with your doctor to make sure you are approved for travel.

Suggestions for Popular Methods of Transportation

  • Land Travel
    Road trips by car or bus should be limited to less than 8 hours in a vehicle. Stopping frequently to stretch and eat is also very important for remaining comfortable and alert behind the wheel.
  • Air Travel
    Flying can be both dehydrating and nauseating for pregnant women. Be sure to drink lots of water and eat a light snack to keep your energy up and your stomach calm. Look into the possibility of travel restrictions specific to your flight or destination, especially when flying out of the country.
  • Water Travel
    Boat and cruises can induce motion sickness that worsens feelings of nausea and morning sickness. Knowing exactly where to go to receive medical attention on your ship is critical. Before departing, inquire about the availability and safety of seasickness medications with both your doctor and cruise line.

Always check with your doctor first, followed by your travel agent, airline or cruise company for the green light that it is safe and suggested for you to travel.

Essential Items for Traveling While Pregnant

  • Trip Insurance
    In the event that your plans need to be cancelled or rescheduled, insurance can save you from cancellation expenses.
  • A Full Copy of Your Medical History
    While it may be obvious you are pregnant, if a medical emergency were to occur, your full medical history can be helpful, especially in a public place like an airport or train station.
  • The Name of a Local Obstetrician
    If you are late in your pregnancy and your delivery could possibly occur away from your local hospital, this information is essential to your peace of mind.
  • Prenatal Vitamins and Medications
    Not only should you make sure you have enough, keep necessary vitamins and medications on your person safely in case your luggage is lost.
  • Comfortable Shoes & Clothes
    Traveling for long hours throughout the day can be tiring, especially if you are wearing uncomfortable shoes or clothing.
  • Water & Light Snacks
    Traveling by air or by car can be dehydrating as well as nauseating for some. Keep water and light snacks in reserve to avoid hypoglycemia and an upset stomach.

Travel Pro Tip: Bring your favorite pillow or blanket to feel truly at home where ever you rest.

While the process of traveling may seem daunting for pregnant women, know that it can be done safely and stress-free if you follow these tips and suggestions. Do not be afraid to count on the sympathy of strangers as well as the customer service of any available staff to make your trip more comfortable and doable. Lastly, don't forget to enjoy your trip!

Rachel Swim, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic Indian Hills Women's Center

Dr. Rachel Swim is an obstetrician practicing in Omaha, Nebraska. She answers your questions and writes articles about a woman's well-being during pregnancy. Her goal is to be a friendly, trustful ear for her parents to lean on and confide in during some of life's most exciting and intimate moments. ...

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