Many women either choose to travel or need to travel during the course of their pregnancy. I have outlined below a few general points about travel in pregnancy. In general terms if you are considering taking a nice vacation before baby arrives (great idea) the early second trimester (say 15-25weeks)is a great time to travel. It is usually a time during pregnancy when you will be feeling really good.
Domestic air travel
Domestic air travel does not pose any specific concerns during pregnancy. You will generally be able to travel up to 34weeks gestation without any special measures (check with individual airline policy). If you are travelling close to or after 34weeks gestation you will need to carry a letter confirming your EDC and stating that you are medically fit for air travel. My staff are happy to provide this.
In an uncomplicated single pregnancy there is generally no concern with domestic air travel up to 37 weeks gestation. For twins probably up 32 weeks is fine if the pregnancy has been progressing smoothly.
Once you are visibly pregnant it is worthwhile carrying a letter confirming your gestation (EDC letter) and stating that you are medically fit for air travel (again – please check individual airline policy as they can vary widely). My staff are happy to provide this.
On anything other than short international flights (under 4 hours) it is a good idea to wear full length (thigh high) support stockings. These help to reduce the risk of DVT (blood clots in leg veins). Additional routine measures such as regular mobilisation and maintaining adequate hydration during the flight are also recommended.
It is generally recommended to have completed international travel by about 34weeks gestation. Although there is some flexibility around this.
Other travel issues
Eating and drinking
The same recommendations apply when travelling as at other times in pregnancy. Vomiting and diarrhoea type illnesses can be quite common whilst travelling and generally do not pose any significant risk to the health of your pregnancy. The best advice is to ensure adequate hydration and maintain a fairly bland diet until the symptoms resolve. If you reach a point where you are unable to keep fluids down you will need to seek medical advice as you may be at risk of dehydration. Anti-diarrhoeal medications (such as Imodium) can be safely used in pregnancy if necessary.
Body scanners: do not pose any risk in pregnancy.
You should ensure that you have travel insurance cover that is appropriate for your stage of pregnancy. This can be particularly important if you are travelling after 24 weeks gestation.
There are a number of vaccinations which are not recommended in pregnancy. If you are going to an area where vaccination is required, I suggest that you seek specific advice.
What to do in case of a problem whilst away
Always travel with your antenatal card (record) just in case of a problem. All the information that would be required if there were an unexpected event is contained here. My email address is also on the card, so if you not sure what to drop me an email.
Please note that all the above advice is of a general nature only and you should seek specific advice regarding the circumstances of your pregnancy.