Why Travelling is Not Safe During Pregnancy

During Pregnancy

Travelling during pregnancy poses several health risks and challenges for expecting mothers. Between battling infections, managing discomfort, accessing quality care, and dealing with emergencies far from home, it is often best for pregnant women to avoid non-essential travel, especially in the third trimester.

Health Risks of Travel During Pregnancy

When traveling while pregnant, women face increased susceptibility to illnesses and other threats that can lead to poor maternal or fetal health outcomes.

Greater susceptibility to infections

Pregnant travellers have weakened immune systems, making it easier to catch illnesses abroad. Many destinations have diseases like malaria, Zika virus, and foodborne pathogens that could severely impact pregnancy.

Risk of blood clots

Sitting for long periods in planes, cars, or trains can cause blood to pool and increase clotting risks. Clots become more likely as pregnancy progresses.

Dehydration and nutritional deficits

Travelling often disrupts eating and forces reliance on unfamiliar foods. Dehydration also occurs frequently, depriving the mother and baby of vital fluids and nutrients.

Fatigue and physical discomfort

Between morning sickness, back pain, cramped seats, and disrupted sleep, traveling while pregnant leads to substantial discomfort and exhaustion for many women.

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Why Travelling is Not Safe During Pregnancy 1

Limited Access to Quality Medical Care While Traveling

If pregnant travellers face complications or emergencies abroad, they likely will not have access to their preferred doctors or the highest-quality care.

Difficulty finding an obstetrician

Few foreign hospitals have obstetricians that pregnant travellers will be comfortable with, especially if there are language or cultural barriers.

Language barriers

Navigating an unfamiliar medical system is already challenging – not speaking the local language makes getting quality pregnancy care abroad even harder.

Unfamiliar facilities and treatments

Even routine tests and treatments may be dramatically different than what expectant mothers are accustomed to at home. This causes stress.

Physical Demands and Discomforts of Travel

Beyond health considerations, the physical rigors and discomforts of travel also pose challenges during pregnancy.

Sitting in cramped spaces

Between cars, planes, buses, and trains, travelling often requires sitting tightly packed in with strangers for hours on end. This can be miserable while pregnant.

Nausea and motion sickness

Common pregnancy side effects like nausea and vomiting are aggravated by travel sickness and turbulence aboard planes, boats, buses, etc.

Disrupted sleep schedules

Frequent time zone changes and unfamiliar sleeping accommodations prevent pregnant travellers from getting the ample, high-quality rest they need.

Temperature regulation challenges

Hormonal changes make temperature regulation difficult during pregnancy, whether battling heat waves abroad or chilly airplane cabins.

Particularly Risky Types of Travel During Pregnancy

While all travel poses some hazards, certain modes and destinations deserve extra precautions.

Air travel

Low humidity, cosmic radiation, and decreased oxygenation in airplane cabins create unique risks for pregnant passengers. Long-haul flights also increase dangers from dehydration, blood clots, and infections.

International destinations

Traveling outside one’s home country means navigating different diseases, foods, environmental factors, and medical systems – a risky proposition while pregnant.

Remote areas with poor infrastructure

If complications emerge in rural, isolated, or less-developed regions, emergency obstetric care is less accessible, putting mothers and babies in danger.

Safe Alternatives for Expecting Mothers

Rather than avoid travel entirely while pregnant, women can take certain precautions to balance wanderlust and health.

Local travel

Staying closer to home allows quicker return if issues emerge and reduces likelihood of communicable disease exposure or problems finding obstetric support.

Staying close to your obstetrician

Even occasional non-local trips may be manageable if the patient remains near her regular pregnancy care provider the majority of the time.

Choosing accommodations wisely

Opting for family or friend housing instead of hotels provides more comfort, better nutrition, easier emergency response, and heightened emotional support while traveling pregnant.

Having a support person present

Traveling with one’s partner or another trusted person means extra help managing baggage, accessing care, avoiding risky foods and environments, etc.

Conclusion

While exotic destinations tempt, pregnant women must carefully weigh risks versus rewards when considering travel to protect their health and that of their unborn babies, especially in the third trimester. Staying local, hydrating diligently, packing supplements, and having contingency plans can help mothers-to-be travel more safely. Remember to always consult your obstetrician before finalizing travel plans while pregnant.

FAQs

Is it safe to travel while 2 months pregnant?

Travel in the first trimester is generally safe, though some nausea/vomiting risks exist. Discuss any travel during pregnancy with your OB-GYN.

Why traveling is not safe during pregnancy third trimester?

In the third trimester, risks of early labor, blood clots, and finding emergency obstetric care away from home increase substantially. Most providers recommend avoiding travel late in pregnancy.

Is it safe to travel during pregnancy by car?

Car travel is relatively safe during pregnancy if you take frequent breaks to prevent blood clots, remain well-hydrated and fed, and stay on familiar roads close to quality medical care.

Is it safe to travel during 7th month of pregnancy by car?

The 7th month is quite late so extensive car travel isn’t recommended. If essential, have contingency plans and keep trips short and local while getting obstetrician approval.

What are the risks of flying while pregnant?

Flying can increase risks for blood clots, radiation exposure, oxygen deprivation, dehydration, and infection exposure for pregnant passengers. Discuss risks/benefits with your pregnancy care provider before flying while expecting.

Can a 7-month pregnant woman fly?

Air travel in the 3rd trimester isn’t recommended. But occasional short flights may be approved by one’s obstetrician in extenuating circumstances if safety precautions are followed diligently before, during, and after trips.

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