Even though a pregnancy without complications is not considered a medical condition,it is sensible to ensure the safety of both you and your unborn child before and during travel. Not only can it feel more uncomfortable to travel with a baby ‘on board’, but it can also heighten certain risks, so how can travelling be made easier for pregnant women? Aside from booking a visit to the doctor to look at any potential complications, such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, here are some other points to consider before your journey.
Pre-Travel Preparation is a Must
Stress while pregnant, and most crucially in the early stages, is important to avoid. It raises the levels of certain potentially harmful hormones which can bring on contractions, and a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1999 showed that very severe stress early on in the pregnancy could lead to premature delivery. For some people, travel might cause no concern whatsoever, whereas, for others, the very idea of travel can bring about waves of anxiety. As such,it is important to consider how you feel about your up and coming trip and assess how much preparation you need to take, whether that means going with the flow or finalizing down to the finest detail.
All in the Detail
Whether travelling by car, boat, train or plane, organizing and booking your travel arrangements in advance, from your front door right through to your destination, can help to keep you feeling calm, so that even if there is an issue somewhere along the route, you will be able to keep your cool knowing that everything else is all in hand. For example:
• Check your train times or roads before you leave.
• Book all tickets well in advance.
• Book any transfer journeys you will need rather than waiting until you arrive to grab a taxi.
• If necessary, depending on how far into the pregnancy you are, or how far away your terminal is, call ahead to the airport and let them know that you will require a buggy to take you across the airport.
• Remember, there is nothing worse for a growing sense of anxiety and panic than feeling like you are rushing so leave early!
Physical Comfort while Travelling
Physical discomfort during your journey can often be the worst aspect of travelling while pregnant. Trains can leave you feeling claustrophobic or nauseous, and feeling unable to stretch your legs in a car can give you cramp or a bad back.
Planes can give you a sense of being cooped up as you squeeze your bump and body into the seat, down the aisles or into the toilet cubicle, all of which can lead to a very uneasy travelling experience. To make this easier there are a few things you can consider when flying:
• Book an aisle or extra leg room seat in advance so you can stretch your legs during the flight, as well as get to the bathroom with more ease, or take a walk as and when necessary.
• Bring your own food and drinks to keep yourself fed and hydrated without having to wait for the snack cart.
• Unsteadiness during pregnancy is common due to the change in weight at the front of the body, so when walking down the aisle, be sure to hold on to the headrests as you go to avoid slipping during about of turbulence.
• Bring something to relax you such as music or an audiobook, plus earplugs, a blanket and an eye mask.
• For comfort, dress in loose-fitting clothes, use a neck rest pillow and bring a small, extra cushion to support your lower back during the flight.
• Wear DVT socks to help avoid blood clots and if you have any questions or concerns, you can speak to the experts at Click Pharmacy on the phone or Skype to get some additional advice before you travel.
Factoring In Safety
Your chosen destination can also alter the impact of travelling upon a pregnant woman. If you are journeying to a country which requires immunizations then it is crucial to discuss safety factors for both you and your unborn child with your doctor early on so you can decide whether or not it is advisable to travel at that point in the pregnancy, or at all. If it is deemed safe to travel,then you must carry a copy of your health records with you, preferably translated into the language of the country you are visiting in case you require a trip to the local doctor.
Knowing When To Travel
When it comes to deciding when it is best to travel, most airlines are comfortable for women to fly up to their 8th month of pregnancy, and even into their 9th month if they can provide permission from their doctor, though the NHS do not recommend travelling from 37 weeks (or 32 weeks for twins), if possible. As such, and for your ease and comfort, the optimum time is during the second trimester, between the 13th and 28th week. You are usually past nausea and fatigued aspect of the pregnancy but not yet into the stage for potential labor, and, as such, there is a feeling of being able to unwind and enjoy the pre-baby break, along with lower health risks to both mum and baby, as well as more ease when travelling
If in any doubt, and if it is feasible, then defer your trip until after you have had the baby. It may not be as simple to pack up and go once you have a travel cot, pram and a week’s worth of diapers to take with you, but when it comes to you and your baby’s health, then it is certainly worth the wait. Perhaps look to travel within your own country if you can use so that you can take the car or train rather than a plane. That way you can take a break on the motorway services, or hop off the train at one of the stops if you feel ill. You are also not so far from home or a native speaking hospital, should you begin to feel unwell.
Though the impact of pregnancy can lead to discomfort during travelling, there are many ways to create an easier journey and experience but if in any doubt then contact your doctor or the experts at Click Pharmacy to discuss your concerns.