Everything was ready for our tour of Israel. My husband and I had long planned the trip with some friends. The closer I got to leaving date, the more excited I became. Being twenty-six weeks pregnant, I was relieved to know that I could travel without putting myself or my baby at risk.
However, when we arrived in Israel, we were greeted by a heatwave. Between flying and travelling by bus, it comes by no surprise that my body retained water. I watched my ankles and knees disappear into my legs. Knowing basic tips to safe traveling went a long way to ensuring a great trip and putting my mind at ease. Fortunately, the amazing trip outweighed the water retention and we enjoyed exploring Israel.
Is it safe to travel when pregnant?
Yes. You can travel throughout most of your pregnancy. The best time to travel is in your second trimester when you are past the morning sickness that often accompanies it and a higher risk of miscarriage. While you can travel in the third trimester, you may find yourself getting tired quicker with an increased chance of discomfort. Another issue with travelling in the third trimester is the increased chance of triggering premature labor. Ideally, airline and boat trips should not be done from the 36th week of your pregnancy onward unless you have a doctor’s note stipulating their approval. Generally, most airlines are cautious about women flying in their third trimester
If you have any of the following conditions, it is advisable not to travel other than your daily commuting:
- Placenta previa
- Cervical problems
- High blood pressure
- Pregnancy of multiples
- Prior history of complications
- Prior history of premature labor or miscarriage
Other complications can also prevent travelling; thus, consulting your doctor is advisable before confirming your travel plans.
9 tips to safe travelling
Whatever mode of transportation you take, you can implement a few tips and tricks to ensure your travel experience remains mostly enjoyable.
1. Stretch those muscles: Whether you are on a plane or in a car, your muscles need to be exercised in order to keep blood circulating throughout your body. This will help prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis) which results in blood clotting that can be life-threatening. Take frequent breaks in your travel to walk about and stretch your legs. Calf raises and other light exercises will assist in keeping your blood circulating.
2. Travel kit: Pack a travel kit which includes the following:
- Prenatal vitamins
- Compression socks
- Hemorrhoid cream
- Medical information on you and your pregnancy, including your doctor’s name and contact details
- Healthy snacks
- General medication appropriate for use in pregnancy (headache tablets, indigestion medication, etc…)
- Hand sanitiser
3. Stay hydrated: Throughout your travel, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeinated drinks.
4. Receive assistance with your luggage: Where possible, request assistance with your luggage. Pregnant women should not be lifting heavy weights, thus seek help to lift your luggage. It is also good to invest in suitcases that have wheels on them since this will make it easier for you to move your luggage around.
5. Consult your doctor prior to travel: Ensure that your doctor knows about your travel plans. Discuss the areas that you are traveling too. This will help establish the medical precautions needed. Are you traveling to a rural area? Do you need inoculations? Are these inoculations safe for you and your baby? These are some of the questions you’d need to ask where applicable.
6. Be cautious with food and water: When traveling in foreign countries, be aware of food or water diseases. It is preferable to drink bottled water instead of tap water, drink pasteurised milk, and be sure that all your food is cooked properly. Where applicable, be weary of fresh fruit and vegetables by eating those that can be peeled.
7. Travel insurance: Make sure that your travel insurance covers your pregnancy and you in the event of early labor. Ensure that you will be covered for any potential medical bills.
8. Confirm your travel with the airline: Not all airlines permit pregnant women to fly after 36 weeks unless given a doctor’s note. Find out what the airline requires before making your booking. When possible, request an aisle seat near an exit so that you have extra leg room and space.
9. Take it easy: Whether you are going on a family vacation, a business trip, or one last overseas excursion before your baby arrives, take it easy. Don’t overexert yourself. Dress in comfortable, loose clothing and protect yourself from the sun by using sunblock and a hat. Listen to your body at all times.
Take photos and make memories
Throughout your journey, take photos of precious moments and memories. This is an adventure within an adventure. Enjoy every moment. Enjoy the cuisine, the scenery and the people around you.