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 :)
Other posts you may enjoy:
- Preventing & Treating Stretch Marks
- Green Smoothie Recipes
- Sleeping Well During Pregnancy