Travel During Pregnancy: Care Instructions

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Overview

Travel during pregnancy generally is safe if you are healthy and not at risk for problems. The safest time to travel is between 14 and 28 weeks. This is the time when your risks for miscarriage and early labor are lowest. Also, it may be uncomfortable to travel later in your pregnancy. Some airlines do not allow you to fly if you are more than 35 weeks pregnant.

You should find a doctor, midwife, or other health professional in the place you travel to. Then, if you have a problem, you have someone to call for help. Some hotels also can supply names of local doctors.

It is very important that, while traveling, you carry copies of your medical records with you at all times. You should have these in case you need to be seen at a clinic or hospital that does not have your records. This could be very important, especially in emergencies.

If you plan to travel overseas, you should find out what vaccines you need to prevent illness. Some vaccines, such as measles, mumps, and rubella, are not safe to get during pregnancy. The safety of other vaccines, such as typhoid, is not known. Talk to your doctor if vaccines are recommended.

If you travel by plane often, talk to your doctor about whether it is safe. An occasional flight is not a risk.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Before planning a trip, ask your doctor if it is safe for you to fly. Some airlines ask to see a note from your doctor with your due date. Choose an aisle seat if possible. This will make it easier to move around in the plane.
  • Always wear your seat belt when you travel in a car, plane, or other vehicle that has seat belts. Strap the lower belt across your lower lap/upper thighs. Place the shoulder belt between your breasts and up over your shoulder, not over your belly. Remove any excess slack in the seat belt.
  • During long trips, take time to walk around at least every 2 hours to keep blood from settling in your legs. Being pregnant increases your chances of getting dangerous blood clots in your legs when you sit still for long periods of time. Walking helps prevent this problem. Ask your doctor if you can wear compression stockings.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • If you are sitting in front of an air bag, slide the seat as far back as you can. Tilt the seat back slightly to increase the distance between your chest and the air bag.
  • If you get motion sickness, make sure the medicine you use is safe during pregnancy.
  • If you plan to travel overseas, call the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1-877-394-8747) to get information on diseases in the area you will travel to. You can also go to wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx to find information.
  • Avoid travel to places where mosquito-borne illnesses are found. For example, malaria can cause serious illness during pregnancy and cannot always be prevented.
  • If you are not sure the tap water is safe, drink bottled or boiled water. Do not eat salads, and do not eat raw vegetables unless they are peeled.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.