The second trimester is a good time to take a vacation "with baby" as long as you've checked in with your health care provider and gotten the go ahead. Below are some recommendations that may help you plan for your trip.
Traveling is generally considered safe during pregnancy. The key is to take steps to be comfortable and as safe as possible. Be sure to tell your provider of your travel plans and ask if there is anything specific you should or should not do. Whether you are traveling by plane, car, or train, it is important to do the following:
- Continue to eat regularly.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Get up and walk around every hour or so to help your circulation and to keep the swelling down. Your provider may recommend wearing compression stockings to help with circulation.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that are not binding.
- Take crackers and water or juice with you to help prevent nausea.
According to the CDC and the World Health Organization, pregnant women should not travel to areas where the Zika virus occurs at any time during their pregnancy. These areas can be found on the CDC "Zika Travel Information" web page. If you live in or must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and practice safe sex. Talk to your doctor immediately after you return from an area where Zika occurs, whether or not you develop any symptoms of fever, rash, headache, joint pain, red eyes, or muscle pain.
DO NOT take over the counter medicines or any non-prescribed medications without checking with your provider. This includes medicines for motion sickness or bowel problems related to traveling. Foreign travel: If you are planning a trip out of the country, discuss your trip with your provider. Plan ahead to allow time for any shots or medicines you may need, and take a copy of your prenatal record with you.
Traveling to high altitudes may cause problems during pregnancy, as your body and your fetus adjust to the lower air pressure and lower levels of oxygen. It's generally best to let your body adjust to moderate altitudes -- 6,000 to 8,000 feet -- for a few days before going above 8,000 feet. Women with complicated pregnancies may want to avoid mountain-top trips completely.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends the following when traveling by land, air, or sea.
- No more than 5 to 6 hours a day. Always wear your seatbelt. Place the lap belt under your abdomen and across your upper thighs so that it fits snugly and comfortably. Put the shoulder strap between your breasts and across your shoulder. ALWAYS wear the lap shoulder strap when traveling while pregnant. Take frequent breaks and get out and walk for a few minutes. This helps the circulation in your legs and prevents blood clots from forming.
- The fluid-filled sac inside the uterus cushions the baby. Unless the mother has a serious injury in an accident, the baby will likely not be harmed. However, if you are in an accident, always check with your provider to make sure you and your baby are fine.
- Flying during pregnancy is generally safe. In the United States, pregnant women are allowed to fly up to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Consider getting an aisle seat for more room and so you can walk around and get to the bathroom. Wear layered clothing so you can have some control when there are temperature changes. Be sure to get up and walk at least once an hour, and drink plenty of fluids. This can help reduce the risk of blood clots forming in your legs.
- If you have medical or obstetrical complications, you may not be able to travel. Discuss your travel plans with your provider. Women with complicated pregnancies -- those with high risk of preterm delivery, pre-eclampsia, or signs of poor fetal growth -- may need supplemental oxygen when flying. Talk to your provider before you travel to see if you need additional oxygen.
- If you have never been on a cruise, now may not be the best time to take one. When traveling by sea, the motion can upset your stomach (even without being pregnant) and may be more likely if you are pregnant. If you do decide to go on a cruise, check what medical care will be available to you and always inform your physician of your plans before departing.