Traveling during pregnancy

by Kaiser Permanente |
Parent packing overnight bag for hospital stay.

Don’t put off that trip of a lifetime, or even that short visit to family members. In most cases, it’s perfectly safe to travel until you are closer to the end of your pregnancy. But keep a few things in mind.

Planning your trip

Let your clinician know where you’re planning to travel, especially if you’re going abroad. That way you can get any necessary vaccines or booster shots. It’s also a good idea to carry your clinician’s contact information with you.

You might want to avoid destinations at high altitudes, which have less oxygen and might cause discomfort or fatigue. Always know about your destination’s water quality and the availability of fresh foods.

If you take any medications, be sure to have an ample supply to take with you. Make sure to bring along a copy of your electronic health record summary. This can be very helpful if you need health care in another state or country.

What to do while traveling

If you’re taking a long road trip or getting on an airplane, try to do some stretching at least every two hours. Pregnancy increases your risk for blood clots, but moving around helps keep your blood flowing normally. If you’re on a plane, compression stockings can help keep blood from pooling in your legs.

Make sure you add plenty of down time to your schedule. You may find yourself tiring out quicker than usual. It’s a good idea to snack on something healthy every few hours. This can help you avoid low blood sugar.

When you’re in a car, position the seatbelt below your baby and not directly across your belly.

What to know about Zika virus

Many parts of the world still have problems with the Zika virus. Spread mainly by mosquitos, it’s been linked to several types of birth defects.

Be sure to use mosquito repellant and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants while you vacation in areas that have had Zika outbreaks. Zika can also be spread by sexual contact, so don’t have unprotected sex during your trip or if your partner has traveled to a location with Zika outbreaks. Check in with your clinician after returning.

What to know about COVID-19

Staying safe in the COVID-19 era means getting your vaccination and booster shot. Research suggests that pregnant people are more likely to get seriously ill if they’re infected. COVID-19 might also increase your risk of preterm labor. Getting vaccinated helps protect you and can pass along helpful antibodies to your developing baby.

If you have any questions about traveling while pregnant, your clinician can help you.

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.