Seeing the world while pregnant — Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of PixabayBeing pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t travel. It just means you need to do a little more just-in-case planning.
Most doctors and airlines discourage traveling after you’ve hit the eight month (32 weeks) mark. For the rest of the gestation period, it’s good to take a few extra precautions. Whether it’s a long car ride, a business trip or a babycation, here’s some advice from experts and OB-GYNs on how to make sure you and your baby arrive back home safely.
1. Get an aisle seat.
You’ll need to go to the bathroom and walk around more than usual. Since planes and trains are usually full, getting in and out of the window seat might be a tight squeeze. Also, on airplanes, experts advise you buckle your airplane seatbelt below your belly rather than across it, so an unexpected jolt wouldn’t cinch your middle.
2. Don’t sit for extended periods of time.
If you’re on a long trip, get out of your seat and walk around every two hours, even for just a few minutes. That’ll keep blood circulating to your legs, body, and the baby. If you’re in a car, sitting on a pillow might make the ride more comfortable.
3. Stay hydrated.
Water evaporates more readily from the skin when you’re pregnant, so it’s easier to get dehydrated. Avoid fluid loss by drinking as much water as possible. Becoming dehydrated will not only make you weak and sick, but it can affect amniotic fluid and blood flow to the baby.
4. For international travel, get a list of recommended doctors.
Check with your hotel, or the country’s U.S. Embassy, for a list of recommended English-speaking doctors and medical professionals. Just in case.
On a plane or train, you’re going to be sharing a lot of surfaces with your fellow travelers. Do what you can to avoid picking up germs and infections, such as extra hand washing, surface sanitizing, and, with your doctor’s permission, a flu shot (it can take 2 weeks for the vaccine to kick in, so plan accordingly).
6. Consult with your doctor, especially if you’re in your third trimester.
Ask your doctor for a copy of your prenatal chart. That way, in case of problems or early labor, the doctors treating you will have an idea of how the pregnancy has been going. You also could request pregnancy-safe prescriptions to bring along, like azithromycin (for diarrhea), or Scopolamine (behind-the-ear patches for nausea).
7. Don’t lay in the sun.
While a babycation to the Caribbean might sound good, laying in the sun isn’t. You don’t have to spend the entire time under a beach umbrella, but some doctors believe you should limit your sun time. Some doctors suggest no more than 20 minutes at a time. Pregnancy makes women more sensitive to the sun‘s rays, and can worsen skin discoloration pregnant women are prone to (called melasma). Plus, whether pregnant or not, too much sun can cause skin to wrinkle and age, and is a primary cause of skin cancer.