Travel Tips for Expectant Moms

by Melanie Edwards on August 17, 2010 · 5 comments

in Pregnancy

Pregnant on the Beach

In the past two weeks, I’ve taken two separate trips – one to New York City for the BlogHer 2010 conference and the other to Chicago for a brand event. I have a third trip coming up next week. With three trips requiring airplane travel in just one month, I was concerned a) that I wouldn’t be able to travel so much in one month and b) about how to maintain my energy. I, of course, asked my doctor who promptly approved all three trips and only mentioned getting up and walking during my flights. He also suggested that I not overdo things and basically take care of myself in the same manner that I do while at home.

Coincidentally, I received an email around the same time as my first trip with some tips for traveling while pregnant. I read over the tips and while many were similar to those my doctor mentioned, there were some good reminders as well that I probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.

For those of you that will be traveling when pregnant or planning a trip in the future, here is an excerpt from Travel Tips for Expectant Moms by Dr. Michele Hakakha and Dr. Ari Brown, that may help you prepare.

Is it safe for me to travel while pregnant? Are all forms of transportation safe?

We don’t recommend hot air balloons or camels, but most conventional modes of transportation are safe. If you have a “high risk” pregnancy or are carrying multiples, your doctor may have a different restriction date in mind, so ask him or her for recommendations tailored to your specific health profile. Here are some general guidelines:

  • You can travel by plane up to your 36th week — but check individual airline policies, which may vary.
  • When flying, get up and walk around frequently, stretch your legs and feet while in your seat, and wear Ted support hose to keep the blood circulation in your legs robust.
  • For cruises, the last acceptable time frame is 23-27 weeks, depending on the cruise line.
  • If you are going by bus, train, or driving, stay within 1 hour’s distance from a hospital. Camping in a remote area, for example, is not advisable. You can travel by car right up to the end of your delivery date, but try to stay within an hour’s drive from your doctor or delivery hospital.

How can I stay healthy while pregnant and traveling?

  • If you are going to the mountains, swimming in the ocean, or walking around a new city, watch for signs of getting short of breath. If you feel tired, stop!
  • If you’ll be out in the hot sun, drink extra water, stay out of the direct sun during peak hours, and pack plenty of sunblock, hat, and sunglasses.
  • Always keep a bottle of pure water with you. Avoid plastic bottles with #7 on the bottom — these may contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), which may have adverse effects on fetuses.
  • Avoid unpasteurized delicacies, raw fish or meat, and in international destinations, water and fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Keep a stash of healthy snacks with you on road, plane, and train trips so you can avoid getting famished and then seeking relief in convenience food, hotel snacks, and junk food binges. Healthy snacks might include: yogurt, small containers of unsweetened rice pudding, almonds and walnuts, apples, carrots, almond butter on whole grain bread, cheese and whole grain crackers, hummus and veggie dippers, and cherries, berries, and red grapes.
  • When ordering from restaurants, don’t be shy about “special ordering.” Pregnancy is one of the few times when waiters will give you a break. Keep your food choices healthy — grilled fish or poultry, whole grains such as rice, steamed vegetables, and salad will give you and baby exactly what you need to stay energized.
  • Take frequent pit stops for bathroom and leg stretching.
  • If you are driving and have room for an extra suitcase, bring one filled with favorite pillows — such as a body pillow designed for pregnancy back relief — so you’ll be comfortable no matter where you rest your head.
  • If you’re sightseeing, such as seeing art treasures in a museum, take advantage of couches and seats and appreciate the art from a sitting position from time to time. This will keep your back from aching later on.
  • Wear practical shoes and comfortable clothes.

Authors’ Info: Dr. Michele Hakakha is an award-winning obstetrician/gynecologist practicing in Beverly Hills, CA, and featured expert in the acclaimed documentary “Little Man.” Dr. Ari Brown, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician in Austin, TX, an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the children’s health expert for WebMD, and a medical advisor for Parents Magazine and ABC News. A past guest on Rachael Ray and NBC’s Today Show, Dr. Brown penned the best-selling Baby 411 and Toddler 411 book series before coauthoring the new title with Dr. Hakakha, Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy (Windsor Peak Press, 2010, www.expecting411.com)–the only pregnancy guide written by two MDs who are also moms.

Did you travel when pregnant? What other tips do you have for expecting moms?
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