Since getting pregnant, you’ve probably wondered “Can I still ____?!” about soooo many things– from food, to physical activity, to travel. In this article, we are going to talk all about travel and pregnancy. (By the way, we love and recommend the book Expecting Better by economist Emily Oster if you’re interested in the data behind the answers to many pregnancy and birth related questions like these.)
Travel can be an important and valuable part of life– connecting you to family and friends and sometimes offering you time away from work and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. So, during pregnancy, you may want or need to travel. In short, YES, you can travel while pregnant, even up to or around your due date. In preparation for traveling, there are several things to consider to keep yourself as comfortable and safe as possible.
We are discussing travel in general, so please adapt this to the type of travel you are engaging in (car, air, train, etc.) and make adjustments for your family’s accessibility needs. Also, we encourage you to trust your gut and do what feels best to YOU. There is a ton of information out there, but you are the only one who knows what feels right and true to you.
We are publishing this blog in June 2021 during COVID-19, and we acknowledge that safety in these times may look different than it did before. Please continue to follow the CDCs recommendations for pregnant people and these travel-specific guidelines.
Additionally, please note that this blog is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment; Sweet Child O’ Mine is sharing general information about travel and pregnancy. As always, please consult with your medical provider with any questions you may have regarding this information and/or your medical condition.
Top 6 Considerations for Traveling While Pregnant
- Stay hydrated. Yes, this means drinking water. AND it means eating, too– we get lots of water from food, too. Bring a water bottle with you everywhere! We notice that when people forget their bottles, they forget to drink water. You might also like to use electrolyte mixes or make your own electrolyte drink to support your system before, during, and after travel.
- Plan your snacks and meals. Pack some of your go-to, high-nutrient snacks that are easy to travel with. (Think: nuts, fruit or dried fruit, granola, hummus and veggies, protein shakes. What else would you add to the list?!) If you’re traveling by car, you have more options with a cooler. Because there is always a chance of delays when traveling, you don’t want to get stuck somewhere without food on hand. Thus, we encourage all pregnant travelers to pack snacks and mini-meals generously when traveling. Additionally, it can be helpful to avoid overly salty food, since travel can already be dehydrating.
- Get up and move frequently. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein. In order to avoid blood clots, which pregnant people are more prone to, we suggest getting up and walking just about every hour. If you are traveling by car, plan these breaks into your travel time. You might also consider wearing compression socks while traveling.
- Avoid air travel after 36 weeks. Per ACOG (The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology), it is not recommended that pregnant people travel by air after 36 weeks. This is certainly something you can discuss with your care provider, as well. If you are experiencing pregnancy complications, contractions, have a history of delivering early, or are at risk for preterm labor, your care provider may recommend that you not fly in the later weeks of pregnancy. Additionally, if you are pregnant with multiples, you may choose not to travel by air in the later parts of pregnancy.
- Prioritize rest and sleep. This might mean NOT booking the 5am flight just because it’s the lowest price. It might also mean planning to rest as soon as you arrive at your destination. This could also mean not planning 5 activities for each day of your trip; instead, keep your agenda relaxed and spacious if you can. Be easy on yourself and rest as much and often as you need. If you are able, plan a buffer day upon your return home to give yourself the space to rest and reset.
- Take medical records with you. Especially if you are traveling far from home, it may give you peace of mind to travel with a copy of your pregnancy-related medical records in the case of an emergency.
If you’d like to read more, find a list of FAQs about travel and pregnancy from ACOG here.
Sweet Child O’ Mine Is Here For You
Your team of midwives is here to support you in processing the layers and decisions of pregnancy. Check in with your midwife if you have travel-related questions or feel uncertain about your travel plans. We are here for you!
If you are currently building your birth team, we would be honored to be a part of your team; reach out and let us know how we can support you!