pregnant person and partner in a car
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Travel while pregnant

Since pregnancy is likely to last 40 weeks (or more), most people will have some sort of trip or adventure while pregnant. You may be wondering how to stay healthy while traveling, and if so, you’ve come to the right place.

Before you go

Always check with your OB provider before traveling away from home. They may have specific precautions for you related to your unique health and risk factors. It’s important to heed their advice, even if it seems conservative. 

If you’re traveling away from home, it’s important to have an easily accessible copy of your pregnancy medical records. No one plans to need medical care while traveling, but it can certainly happen! If you can’t access an online patient portal, be sure to get a written copy before you go.

It’s also important to know where, or if, you can access the care you need while pregnant at your destination. Levels of care vary widely—even within the US. For example, if you travel around 30 weeks, is the local hospital equipped with a Labor and delivery unit and a neonatal intensive care unit? We sometimes take it for granted that everywhere will have what we need, but unfortunately, many areas lack meaningful medical services for pregnant people and babies.

It is so helpful to check the CDC travel advisory for your destination. There, you can find any travel warnings specific to pregnancy and links to information about necessary vaccinations or malaria prophylaxis. 

While you’re on the road

First things first, buckle up in your regular seatbelt! Seatbelt adjusters or additional cushions sold for use in pregnancy are NOT necessary or safe. Plan to stop every two hours to empty your bladder (you know we’re going to recommend staying hydrated) and stretch your legs to help prevent blood clots. If you are prone to swelling in your legs and feet, consider compression socks too!

Taking to the friendly skies? Check out our article all about flying while pregnant here.

Cruises

Cruising is a really specific type of travel, and most cruise lines do not allow any pregnant parents onboard after 23 weeks. You may need a letter confirming your due date, and please do not attempt to bend this rule. These guidelines exist because medical facilities are extremely limited on board. It can take a very long time to access emergency care for you and your baby from a cruise, depending on where your ship is when it happens (hours to days). The closest physical hospital may not be in a location where you’d feel comfortable getting care, or that has adequate facilities for pregnant people. In addition to this, cruises are frequent locations for disease outbreaks because of the close quarters of so many people. Pregnancy is a time when your immune system is suppressed (low), so you may be at higher risk of catching a virus. There is quite a bit to research to make sure this is an okay option for you!

Packing

Bring what you need to be comfortable! This isn’t the time to skimp, as we all know it can take a little extra to feel good during pregnancy. Giant pillow? Check. Tons of your favorite snacks? Check. You deserve to feel great during travel, and this may mean a slightly larger bag than usual. While everyone’s needs are unique, we hope we’ve given you some useful pointers as you prepare to enjoy a getaway!

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