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Traveling While Pregnant

traveling-pregnant-1Having a baby will add new demands to your life. Before the baby arrives, you may want to reconnect with family abroad or just have a relaxing time. In this article we talk about the risks and precautions of traveling pregnant.

The second trimester is considered the best time to travel. Get cancellation insurance in case complications occur before you leave, and check your health insurance to make sure that it will cover you and your child if you deliver while traveling.

Pregnant women should consider vaccination. If you are pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with your travel health care provider. Also, discuss how to manager travel- related risks with alternative preventative treatments. Take it easy. This is not the time for an extreme adventure tour! Don’t participate in strenuous activities like skydiving, mountain climbing or scuba diving. Walking and snorkeling may be fine but speak to your travel health care provider. Don’t push yourself to do more than what feels comfortable.


Pre-travel evaluation

It is very important for a pregnant traveler to have a pre-travel evaluation. The evaluation should start with a careful medical and obstetric history. There should be a strong focus on gestational age and evaluation for high-risk conditions.

It is crucial to schedule an appointment with an obstetrician as part of the pre-travel assessment. This assessment should include an ultrasound, and evaluation of the mother’s blood type and RH status. It is important to check the immunity to infectious diseases so that the pregnant traveler knows what vaccine they may need before the trip.

As a pregnant traveler, preparation is crucial. It is important to review the pregnant woman’s travel itinerary, including destinations types of accommodation and planned activities. It is important to book an appointment with a travel health professional so that they can educate the pregnant woman about travel- associated risks, the management of minor pregnancy discomforts and recognition of serious complications.


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Travel Vaccines for Pregnant Women

It is beneficial for a woman to be up-to-date on routine vaccinations before she becomes pregnant. In order to protect the infant against many diseases is for the mother to be immunized especially from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. These vaccines should be given during each pregnancy. An annual influenza vaccine is strongly recommended throughout any trimester for all women who are or will be pregnant during influenza season. For women traveling, the vaccination is recommended 2 weeks before departing.

Vaccines like MPSV, hepatitis A and B that are considered safe during pregnancy may be indicated based on risk.  Live virus vaccines like measles-mumps-rubella vaccine are contraindicated during pregnancy.

In comparison, pregnancy is considered a precaution by Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices when it comes to the yellow fever vaccine. A pregnant woman should be vaccinated if travel is unavoidable and the risks of yellow fever virus exposure are higher than the risks of vaccination. Pregnant women should be issued a medical waiver to fulfill health regulations if the risks for vaccination are felt to outweigh the risks for yellow fever virus exposure.


Transpiration Considerations

It is crucial for pregnant women to wear seatbelts on all forms of transport including airplanes, cars, and buses. A diagonal shoulder strap with a lap belt is the most protective form of the seat belt. For the best protection, the shoulder belt should be worn between the breasts and the lap belt low across the upper thighs. If a lap belt is the only option – it should be worn low, between the abdomen and the pelvis.


Air Travel while Pregnant

It is common for most airlines to allow pregnant travelers to fly until 36 weeks. Airlines may require documentation of gestational age, some will also limit international travel earlier in pregnancy. In order to have a smooth experience at the airport – travelers should check with the airline to find out specific requirements when it comes to traveling while pregnant.

The risk of air travel for pregnant women includes immobility, the potential exposure to diseases and abdominal distention.  Women should consider wearing loose clothing with comfortable shoes. Not only this but the pregnant traveler can benefit from an upgrade in airline seating and should consider convenient accommodations (being close to the toilet) and aisle seating so that she can get up and walk around easily.


Cruise Tours for Pregnant Women

It is common for cruise lines to restrict travel over 28 weeks. It is important to check with the cruise line to find out their recommendations. Pregnant travelers may be required to carry a doctor’s note showcasing the estimated date of delivery and stating if they are fit to travel.


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