Babymoons have become increasingly popular to relax and celebrate the final days before the arrival of a baby, but it is important to take precautions when traveling while pregnant.
“When planning your babymoon, think potential complications, such as preterm labor or going into labor and being hospitalized,” said Dr. Matthew Carroll, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.
While most airlines prohibit pregnant people from flying past 36 weeks, Carroll encourages his patients to avoid flying after 32 weeks since the chances of preterm labor and other complications increase around that time. There is no increased risk of traveling early in pregnancy, but the spontaneous miscarriage rate is not inconsequential – up to one in four pregnancies can end in miscarriage.
Whether you travel by plane or automobile, make sure you stand up and walk around every two hours to make sure blood flow is circulating through the legs. Pregnant people are at risk for blood clots in the legs that can travel to the lungs, which is dangerous during pregnancy. Some people wear compression stockings to encourage circulation in the legs throughout travel. Depending on your hunger level and stomach symptoms you experience in pregnancy, also plan to have a reliable snack for the flight or drive.
When traveling after 24 weeks of pregnancy, be mindful of the following symptoms:
- Fetal movement
- Contractions or constant pelvic pressure
- Change in vaginal discharge
- Leaking of fluid
After a long travel day, pregnant people might experience cramping, fatigue or that the baby is not moving. With a period of rest, hydration and a snack, they often find the baby is moving and the cramps resolve. If you experience symptoms that persist past that rest period, contact your OB/GYN.
You should generally refrain from doing anything on vacation that will put you at an increased risk for falls, such as skiing or boating, and avoid scuba diving altogether. Safely swim, take walks or go on non-rigorous hikes if you are not at risk for dehydration and overexertion.
“It’s all about not overexerting yourself. Lie by the pool with appropriate access to shade and water, use sunblock and be careful around slippery areas,” Carroll said.
Pregnant people are always at risk for communicable diseases, so keep hand hygiene and mask use at the forefront. While there has been a tremendous decrease in Zika transmission recently, it is still something to consider. If you plan to hike, wear long sleeves and bug spray to combat mosquitos and other insect-borne illnesses.
“With decrease in mask use, we’re seeing a lot of flu, other respiratory viruses and gastroenteritis. The last thing you want to do on these trips is get sick and feel unwell the whole time, so take precautions to protect yourself,” Carroll said.
By Homa Shalchi