Safe Travels during Pregnancy

For millions of Americans, Memorial Day means the start of the summer travel season. If you’re pregnant, here are a few tips for a safe trip:

*The middle of your pregnancy—weeks 14 through 28—is the best time to travel, but many women can travel safely until a few weeks before their due date. Talk to your doctor before traveling late in pregnancy.

*Air travel is almost always safe up to 36 weeks of gestation for women with low-risk pregnancies. Try to sit near the front of the plane, where the ride is smoother, and choose an aisle seat for easier access to the restrooms. On long flights, get up and walk around every hour or so to reduce the risk of leg swelling and blood clots.

*If you’re planning a road trip, try to spend no more than five or six hours driving each day, and take regular breaks so you can get out and stretch your legs. Keep airbags turned on and sit at least 10 inches back from the dashboard, if possible.

Use a lap/shoulder belt every time you get into a car. Wear the lap belt low on the hip bones, not across your belly. The shoulder belt should be worn across the center of the chest between your breasts (never under your arm), and the belt should be tightened to a snug fit.

*When traveling by bus or train, be sure to hold on to railings and seat backs when moving through small aisles and in bathrooms, and use caution when entering and exiting.

*Taking a cruise? Ask your doctor about safe medicines for calming seasickness. Make sure there is a staff doctor or nurse on board and that the ship will dock in areas with modern medical facilities.

*Before planning a trip abroad, check with your doctor to ensure that your destination is safe for pregnant women. Allow enough time to get any vaccinations you might need. Also, keep a copy of your medical records on hand.

*Drink extra fluids and eat regularly to maintain your energy. It’s a good idea to bring your own juice or water (avoid carbonated drinks, especially before flying) and healthy, high-fiber snacks. Wear comfortable shoes, support hose, and a few layers of light clothing.

*Finally, remember the reason you’re going away in the first place: rest and relaxation! Get plenty of sleep and don’t overdo it.

Enjoy your trip!