Travel during a healthy pregnancy is safe and often provides a much needed distraction from the stress of preparing for a new baby. A few minutes of extra thought and preparation can make your journey relaxing and worry free.
If your itinerary will take you on the road, make sure to schedule a little extra time for bathroom breaks. Plan to stop at least every 90 minutes to stretch and move around. Be safe inside a car by wearing your seat belt low under your belly and sit as far back from the airbag as possible. If you are in an accident, even a small one, check with a doctor immediately. As a passenger, try stretching your legs, rotating your ankles and wiggling your toes to help aid in circulation. When traveling by bus or train by very careful when traversing the narrow aisles and corridors. Try to limit movement, if possible, to when the vehicle is stopped. Avoid trips that keep you on the road longer than 5 or 6 hours.
If your plans take you by air, check with the airline's policy on flying while pregnant. Most major airlines allow travel up to 36 weeks on domestic flights and 32 weeks on international flight. If you are visibly pregnant a doctor's note may be required stating your due date. Keep in mind the security requirements as you dress for travel and avoid wearing shoes that will require pregnant acrobatics to put on again.
For travel by sea, check with the specific cruise line for pregnancy guidelines. Most major cruise lines restrict third trimester travel. For long cruises make sure there is a medical staff available. Most boats carrying over 100 passengers will have medical personnel.
International travel planning should include checking with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website ( cdc.gov ) for disease warnings and vaccination information. Your doctor can help you determine which vaccines are safe for your stage of pregnancy and what diseases are particularly harmful. Prepare to heed warnings about local water supplies and check with your insurance company for instructions on seeking medical attention at your destination.
Regardless of your method of transportation, taking along a few extra items can make your journey more enjoyable.
-Always bring bottled water. If you are concerned about airport security, plan a little extra time and bring a few extra dollars to stop by an airport vendor and purchase some before boarding your flight. Being out of your daily routine can disrupt your normal water intake. Dehydration can cause many problems for a pregnant woman during travel but is very easy to avoid. Drink up!
-Pack some healthful snacks in the event that food is not available or is unappealing. A package of whole grain crackers, an energy bar or a low-fat cheese stick might make all the difference.
-Bring along ear plugs and eye covers to catch up on a little rest during the trip. A favorite pillow or travel-sized blanket can help you find more comfortable positions during a long drive or flight. Jetlag, time zone changes and fatigue can make anyone's vacation less enjoyable. Take advantage of your downtime and rest.
-Antacids, breath mints or gum, a toothbrush and toothpaste, moist wipes and a waterproof motion sickness bag can come in handy in the event that nausea is your unwelcome travel companion.
-Medical information can come in handy even on short trips. A list of the name of your doctor or midwife, your blood type, allergies, medical insurance cards and any other information your doctor recommends you carry with you can be stored in your purse just in case. Make sure your travel companion has access to this information in the event of an emergency.
-Other essentials for travel include doctor recommended medications and vitamins, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, a camera, lip balm, hand lotion and a bathing suit that fits your growing body.
If you have the luxury of choosing when you travel, try to aim for the second trimester. For many women this is the most comfortable time as morning sickness is often less intense and energy levels are higher.
Keep your schedule light, your bags well packed, your body fueled and well rested and most importantly, enjoy your journey.
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