6 Tips for Pregnant Travelers
Planning a vacation while pregnant? Make sure your primary care provider for the pregnancy is aware that you are planning to travel. It is important to make sure that there are no risk factors such as ectopic pregnancy, bleeding, etc. Ideally, one should not travel when pregnant; but if you plan to anyway, try not to go too far off the beaten track. Do some research, and consider these tips before you leave the country:
1. Pre-travel health (vaccines) and health insurance.
Of course the VCH Travel Clinic would remind you to get your routine and travel-specific vaccines up to date. Here’s how to get started. Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), travel-specific, and flu vaccines are all very important during pregnancy. Certain travel vaccines and prescriptions will help prevent traveler’s diarrhea. Book an appointment 4-6 weeks before departure to get the assessment and vaccines taken care of in one appointment.
Since you are pregnant and going overseas, you have to consider how you may access care if you need it. Look into a travel health insurance plan that will cover health care costs, transportation to facilities, as well as coverage for the baby.
2. Be a picky eater.
Appreciate the food, but do take precaution. Do not eat undercooked or raw meat. Eat fruits and vegetables if they can be peeled and/or washed. Only eat fresh-served food and avoid food that has been sitting at room temperature. Stay hydrated by drinking beverages that are bottled and sealed, while avoiding drinks served with ice. These precautions along with vaccinations will help prevent diseases caused by food and water contamination.
From when you can fly to when you want to fly… Timing is important. Most airlines will let you fly until 36 weeks into your pregnancy. Symptoms of nausea, discomfort, and fatigue are also a factor. The best time to travel would be 20 to 30 weeks in — between the (hopeful) demise of morning sickness, but before the introduction of fatigue. Avoid traveling after 36 weeks of pregnancy.
4. Bring a copy of your medical records.
We mentioned health insurance plans earlier in tip #1, but make sure you also bring a copy of your prenatal records and medical notes. Should you need treatment, having these records and knowing your options for treatment facilities will better prepare you for anything.
5. Try not to go too far off the beaten track.
Choose a destination where the flight is no longer than two to three hours long (preferably a direct flight). Ideally, a pregnant woman should not travel to areas where yellow fever and malaria occur.
6. Sensible packing list:
- Comfortable clothing and shoes
- Healthy snack(s)
- Hand sanitizer
- A bottle of water
- Travel insurance documents
- Medical and maternity notes
- A list of important contacts