GPs usually agree to reasonable travel plans for their pregnant patients unless they are already considered at risk from hypertension, diabetes, bleeding, or have a history of miscarriage.
If you are not considered “high risk” it’s still a good idea to discuss your travel plans with your doctor or midwife. They may advise on the following precautions when travelling pregnant:
Air travel & DVTs
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a type of blood clot which can develop in a deep vein in the pelvis, but most commonly in the leg. They can develop from sitting too long in the same position without movement, and long haul flights are therefore particularly bad for not enabling adequate exercise or movement for hours on end.
DVTS are rare, but there is an increased risk of them developing during pregnancy so being pregnant and flying doubles the risk. These clots can be fatal if they reach the lungs.
Precautions when travelling while pregnant on a plane, long car, bus or train journey are: keep well-hydrated with water, wear flight socks, and get up and walk around at least every hour to boost your circulation. Practise clenching your calf muscles by flexing your feet up and down at least 10 times every hour to boost circulation.
Whether you have been travelling or not, if one leg or calf becomes sore or swollen see your GP immediately.
Air travel is usually allowed up to the 36th week of pregnancy, but after 28 weeks most airlines need a letter from your GP saying you are fit to fly.
Wearing a seatbelt
Everyone is legally obliged to wear a seat belt in a car in both the back and front seats – even if it is uncomfortable.
Don’t use a lap belt, which have been shown to injure unborn babies in accidents. Wear the car’s three point seat belt keeping the diagonal strap in-between your breasts, resting on your shoulder, breastbone and over your bump. Put the lap strap under your bump.
Avoid certain destinations
For example, avoiding areas where there is malaria. This includes India, Africa and parts of South America.
If you have to travel while pregnant to these regions ask your GP to prescribe an anti-malarial drug that’s safe for pregnancy.
Also try to avoid countries that you require vaccinations for. Some vaccines are safe in pregnancy after 12 weeks; live vaccines (such as oral polio) are not.
Your medical notes contain valuable information (including your blood group) that would be needed if you go into labour while on holiday.
Take care in the sun
To avoid dehydration in hot climates make sure you drink lots of water and keep your feet up to stop your ankles swelling. Wear a good sunscreen and keep out of the sun at the hottest times of the day.
Avoid mosquito repellents containing DEET
Natural alternatives such as citronella oil or nets should be used to protect yourself from pesky mosquitoes.
Debra Aspinall is an experienced journalist and the editor and leading writer for the Emma’s Diary website, one of the UKs foremost pregnancy and baby websites. She writes on pregnancy and conception advice, travelling pregnant, pregnancy tips and etc. If you are searching for free baby stuff, please visit us at Emmasdiary.co.uk.