For most pregnancies; yes it is safe to travel and fly when pregnant, however there are several factors you need to consider.
Life can not just stop when we become pregnant - many women still have to work which can mean interstate or international travel is required, and also many women like to have a 'babymoon getaway' with their partner to enjoy some together time before the new baby is born. These can still occur, as long as it's done in a healthy manner.
Most women choose to travel during the first and second trimesters, and then slow down and build the baby's 'nest' during the third trimester. Make sure you check with your Doctor before you embark on any travel no matter how far along your pregnancy is.
When is the best time to travel?
Usually around 14-28 weeks. By this time you can read your body and your pregnancy confidently but you're also feeling better (morning sickness usually subsides during this timeframe) and your energy levels are increasing. If you're pregnancy so far has been uncomplicated and your Doctor is happy with your baby's development, there is no real reason why you can't enjoy a small getaway during this time.
Be Mindful of:
- A lot of airlines are not comfortable with allowing pregnant women flying with them after 28 weeks. This is in case of premature labour or emergency situations. Be sure to research (online or phone the airline) before you book the flights to ensure you will be able to travel on the desired dates.
- Most travel insurers will not cover your pregnancy after 24 weeks. This means you are travelling at your own risk and will not have protection if you go into early labour or have complications while travelling. This is another factor you need to consider and look into before jetsetting off.
- How long will you be sitting/standing/without sleep? Too much sitting or standing during pregnancy can cause swelling, fluid retention, varicose veins and back aches. When planning travel - think about the toll it will have on your body if you will be on a plane/car/train/bus etc for long periods of time. Ensure you are putting you, your baby and your health above all other plans.
- Invest in some compression Flight Socks for long travel periods. I wore these when flying to the USA from Australia during my 3rd pregnancy.
- Do you get motion/travel sickness? (check what medications or natural alternates are available that are safe to take during pregnancy.) We also recommend these travel-sickness wrist bands.
- Will you have easy, safe and reliable access to doctors, hospitals and/or medical staff at your travel destination?
- A clearance letter from your Doctor is a good idea - this is to state that he's happy with your pregnancy and gives the all-clear for you to be travelling. Keep this letter to show airlines/hotel staff etc.
- Food. What food options are available during the travel period? Is it nutritious and safe to eat during pregnancy or do you need to bring your own snacks or source other food options?
- Avoid heavy lifting of suitcases etc. Travel with a partner, colleague or friend who can help you carry and lift the travel luggage and trolleys.
- Consider traveling somewhere closer to home if possible, instead of embarking on hugely taxing long-distances, especially after the 2nd trimester.
When is it NOT safe to travel?
- If your pregnancy has been very complicated.
- If you've had a history of miscarriage/pre-term labour/pregnancy problems.
- After 30 weeks (unless you've been given medical clearance and/or travelling locally)
- You are pregnant with twins (or more) and have been advised not to travel.
Always check with your Doctor before planning, booking or heading off on any type of travel.
Enjoy life during pregnancy though, and make the most of not having to travel with prams, cots, car seats and multitudes of baby essentials. That will have to be touched on, in a whole other post :)
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- Preventing & Treating Stretch Marks
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As we all know pregnancy isn't always a simple science and can come with risks and complications. Ectopic Pregnancy is something that we very limited control over avoiding, as there is no preventable cause of this type of pregnancy. I was lucky that my first pregnancy was 'normal', healthy and fairly uncomplicated. So when we started trying to conceive for our second child, I assumed it would be much the same. Unfortunately, my second pregnancy was quite the opposite and I ended up in hospital very unwell and in emergency surgery, as we discovered the pregnancy was ectopic.
What is Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that develops outside of the female's uterus - usually in one of the fallopian tubes. In most cases the embryo can not survive as the blood supply and space inside the fallopian tube is limited. In a small percentage of cases, the fertilised egg positions itself to the cervical wall, ovary or abdominal cavities - however this is very rare. If left in the tube, rupture can occur which is a medical emergency and must not be ignored. Internal bleeding, infection, shock and severe pain results of this internal rupture and need urgent medical assistance and surgery.
Symptoms can vary from woman to woman. For me, I had period-like bleeding & cramping which lead me to believe I was having a normal monthly period. This continued for 2-3 days. It was when the bleeding became very heavy and inconsistent, and teamed with severe pains down low on my left side that made me realise my symptoms were not typical. Several work colleagues commented on how pale I was and asked if I was feeling ok. As the day progressed and I was unable to stand up straight due to the crippling pain, I realised all was not well. I left work at midday and took myself to the emergency ward. Lucky I did, because on arrival I fainted.
Other symptoms can be:
- sometimes an ectopic pregnancy can begin like a normal pregnancy with the same typical pregnancy symptoms (a positive pregnancy test, nausea, a missed period, tender breasts)
- stomach cramping
- lower back pain
- pelvic pain
- feeling light headed
- vaginal bleeding or spotting
- severe sudden pain
Diagnosis of an Ectopic Pregnancy:
Diagnosis usually occurs because symptoms are severe (and usually when the fallopian tube has ruptured) and the female has sought medical assistance. A diagnosis is made through all or either of these procedures:
- blood tests
- ultrasound (external and/or internal)
- keyhole surgery (laparoscopic)
- pelvic examination
Risks and Treatments:
An ectopic pregnancy can not be ignored. Once the fallopian tube has ruptured, urgent surgery (and sometimes a blood transfusion) is needed. The surgery is done through small incisions (I had 3 - one on each side of my lower pelvis and one into my belly button) called laparoscopic surgery. The embryo is removed and all attempts are made to repair the fallopian tube. If it can not be repaired the tube is removed or left disconnected. This is an overwhelming experience for a female - especially those who wish to have more children in the future. Take peace in knowing that in most cases; you can still have future pregnancies even with only one working tube remaining.
I fell pregnant again 6 months later and had a lot of early tests to ensure that this pregnancy was in the uterus and growing at a steady rate. Nine months later I gave birth to a thriving, healthy baby boy.
If you have had an ectopic pregnancy, your risk of having another is higher. So, ensure you talk to your doctors and health care providers about this so they can monitor your pregnancy/future pregnancies carefully.
Call 000, go to a hospital or talk to your doctor/obstetrician if you have any severe symptoms or concerns. Talk to Dr Chong about all of your pregnancy needs.
Causes & Preventions:
There is no one reason why an ectopic pregnancy occurs, and not one way to prevent them from occurring. You can however, strive to keep your reproductive system in good health through a good nutritious diet, sufficient sleep and an active healthy lifestyle. Ensure you get regular pap smears and pelvic/cervical check ups and always prevent and quickly treat any sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STD's / STI's)
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