Whether you are travelling as part of your job or are trying to sneak in one last getaway before the baby arrives, it’s important to do everything you can to make your trip safe, fun, and comfortable.
Timing your travel plans
The timing of travel when you are pregnant is important. While most people are aware that you should try to avoid travel after the 8-month mark, the safest time to travel is between the 18th and 24th weeks of pregnancy, during the second trimester. Most common issues and emergencies occur during the first and third trimesters.
You should consult your family doctor before you decide to travel. Tell your doctor when you plan on travelling, where you will be going, and how long you will be away. Being aware of the potential medical issues will set your mind at ease. Depending on your current health, your doctor may recommend that you refrain from travelling, regardless of how far you are in your pregnancy.
If you are travelling by air, you can safely fly up to 36 weeks into your pregnancy. Most airlines have travel restrictions for travellers who are pregnant, and you may need to provide a doctor’s note stating that you are healthy enough to travel by air. Check with the airline to ensure you meet its requirements.
If you travel when you’re pregnant, you are exposed to additional risks that you might not usually think twice about, which is why talking with your doctor is important. The Government of Canada outlines a number of risks and things to consider before travelling, including:
- Blood clots: You are more prone to getting blood clots. You can lessen the odds of this occurring by moving around regularly and wearing loose clothing.
- Food- and water-borne illnesses: Food- and water-borne illnesses can be more severe during pregnancy and can be a risk to your baby. It’s important to take extra precaution with the foods you eat, the water you drink, and making sure to wash your hands frequently.
- Vaccines: It is commonly recommended that women avoid live vaccines. Inactive vaccines are considered safe. Talk with your health-care provider about your vaccination options.
How to make travelling more comfortable
Staying comfortable is paramount when travelling while pregnant. Here are some ways to make your next trip more comfortable:
- Eat well: Eating well during your trip can make a huge difference in your energy level and how you feel. Make sure you pack some healthy snacks in case you get delayed. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Dress for comfort: Wearing comfortable clothing and footwear is one of the key factors in staying comfortable. Dress in layers so that you can add or remove clothing based on the temperature of your environment. You can also bring extra clothing with you in your carry-on bag.
- Give yourself time: Feeling stressed while travelling is not an ideal situation. No one wants to race against time, especially on the way to catch a flight. Schedule some buffer time into your travel plans to ensure you can travel at a comfortable pace.
- Make frequent stops: If you are driving, you have more control over how often you can stop to use the washroom or stretch your legs. If you are flying, try to get an aisle seat for easier access to the washroom and more space to stretch.
- Bring a pillow: Sitting for long periods can get uncomfortable no matter how you are travelling. Bring a pillow so that you can adjust your position to remain comfortable.
The importance of travel insurance
Travel insurance is intended for unexpected medical emergencies. If you’ve had no complications during your pregnancy and your doctor provides written confirmation that your pregnancy is stable, go ahead and make your travel plans, and be sure to purchase travel insurance in case an unexpected emergency occurs. If you’ve had any issues during your pregnancy or your doctor advises you not to travel for any reason, you should stay home.