A hundred years ago, the issue of travel during pregnancy was probably not even considered. Most people did not go far from home, especially pregnant women. But in today's mobile society, many of us venture a considerable distance from our homes at some point each year. And if you do so when you're pregnant, you'll need to know what's safe, what isn't, and which precautions to take before, during, and after your trip.
There are several factors that will affect your travel during your pregnancy: the trimester of the pregnancy when a trip is planned, whether there have been any complications during the pregnancy, the type of travel being considered, and the distance that the travel will take you from home. Each of these factors will be discussed separately.
Travel during the first and second trimesters is usually considered to be safe, although it may be more fatiguing than usual. The first trimester may pose a few challenges for traveling if you're experiencing nausea or fatigue. And the risk of bleeding or miscarriage is the greatest during these months. The second trimester, the months in your pregnancy when you probably feel the best and have the most energy, is a great time for a trip. In fact, vacationing with your partner during this period might be an ideal chance to spend some fun time alone together before the baby arrives!
Travel in the third trimester may be uncomfortable and can be risky, since you could go into preterm labor many miles away from your own health care providers and hospital. Some airlines will not allow women in their ninth month of pregnancy to fly without a physician's letter of permission, and sometimes that letter must be written within 72 hours of flight time. And most health care providers would probably not be willing to give permission because of these risks. So if you do have business or vacation travel plans, try to complete them in the first six months of your pregnancy and stay closer to home in the last three months.
If your pregnancy has been normal, you can probably feel very confident about traveling. However, if your pregnancy has been labeled high risk because of complications such as preterm contractions, bleeding, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), or gestational diabetes, it would be wise to postpone prolonged travel or travel that's far from home. Short trips within close proximity to home are probably quite safe and can be just as much fun.
Types of Travel
Travel by car is likely to be the most comfortable means of travel during pregnancy. You're better able to control the periods of travel and can stop to rest when fatigued. When driving or riding in a car, stop every hour or two and walk around to stretch your legs -- this will promote good circulation. Be sure to empty your bladder whenever you stop to prevent a urinary tract infection from developing as a result of a too-full bladder. Take a pillow to promote comfort in your seat. Always remember to fasten your seat belt. Place the lap belt portion under your abdomen and position the shoulder harness between your breasts.