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Travel During Pregnancy



In Preparation For Travel Overseas, Are There Any Vaccines That Might Be Required?

You need to check with your local health department to find out which vaccines are needed for certain countries, and discuss with your doctor whether or not it is safe for you to receive these vaccines during your pregnancy.

When Traveling On An Airplane Are There Any Difficulties or Hazards That I Should Be Aware Of?

Air travel is safe up to 36 weeks and most airlines will allow you to travel until you are about nine months along (international airlines may not let you travel after 35 weeks). Policies may be different among the airlines so check with them before making definite travel plans. If you have any of the following, check with your medical provider since they may tell you not to travel by airplane at all:

  • A higher chance of premature delivery, history of preterm delivery
  • Diabetes that is not well controlled
  • Placental abnormalities (which may be found on an ultrasound test)

Because of the low humidity in the airplane cabin, pregnant women can get dehydrated during a long trip. It is important to drink fluids frequently during your flight.

Also long periods of sitting can lead to an increased risk of blood clots developing in the veins of the legs. Therefore, it is important to get up and walk for approximately 15 minutes out of every hour during a flight. An aisle seat would be ideal.

Your seatbelt should be worn low on the pelvis.

If you are flying in a small private plane, avoid non-pressurized cabins above 10,000 feet during the last three months of your pregnancy, as this may cause low levels of oxygen for your baby.

Is There Any Risk To My Baby With Airline Trips During Pregnancy

Radiation exposure does occur during airline flights. However, it is small and there is no proven risk of increased abnormalities for your baby if you are traveling on commercial flights. Women crew members that are or might be pregnant will not receive radiation doses that go over the recommended pregnancy limit, unless they are flying long-distance, high-altitude flights for more than two months during the pregnancy.

Are The Security Checks At Airports Safe For A Pregnant Woman?

The normal security detectors at airports are considered safe for the pregnant woman.

Are There Any Problems With Vacations At High Altitudes?

Vacationing at altitudes above 7,000 feet is generally not recommended while you are pregnant unless you already live at that elevation. Exposure to these high altitudes may increase the chances of having babies with lower than normal birth weights.

Even if a pregnant woman is used to these altitudes, mountain or backcountry hiking should be done with caution, especially in regards to the need for urgent medical care should any pregnancy problem develop.

If you have certain blood problems such as severe anemia, sickle cell anemia, or if you have any other difficulties during your pregnancy such as high blood pressure, it would be wise to avoid high altitudes.

What Precautions Should I Take If I'm Going To A Third World Country Where Hygiene May Be A Problem?

You should be very careful about the food you eat and the fluids you drink. Drink only bottled water or bottled beverages. Avoid ice unless you can be assured that it comes from bottled water. Avoid open salads and fruits. Fruits that can be peeled such as bananas are generally safe. Avoid foods sold at street-side stands.

Do not use Iodides for water purification. These chemicals can pass to your baby and lead to problems with the baby’s thyroid gland.

Diarrhea can often be a problem when traveling to a third world area. Pregnant women should avoid preventative antibiotics and diarrhea medicines such as Lomotil that contain medications that can be harmful to the baby. Kaolin-Pectin combinations (e.g., Kaopectate) are helpful and safe during pregnancy.

Will My Health Insurance Be A Problem Overseas?
The only way to be certain that you will not run into problems should you need to be hospitalized or deliver overseas is to check with your health insurance company. If possible, before you depart, have your medical provider help you identify a good doctor in the places you will be visiting. Bring along a copy of your medical records.
If I Already Have Complications With My Pregnancy Should I Avoid Traveling Overseas?
This should be carefully discussed with your physician. However, women with certain high-risk conditions should seriously consider avoiding overseas or long travel. Examples of some of these problems are twins, previous premature delivery, diabetes that is not well controlled, high blood pressure, or bleeding problems.


Copyright 1990, 2002, 2006 Advanced Medical Systems
Updated IV, 12, 06

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