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18 Essential Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

18 Essential Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

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Are you worried about traveling pregnant? You don’t have to be! Follow these tips for traveling during pregnancy to stay safe and comfortable!
This traveling while pregnant post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Traveling while pregnant comes with concerns, but it can also be a blast! There should be a bit of planning and preparation, but then you’re on your way.

Perhaps you’re celebrating your growing family, or you’re planning your babymoon. Maybe you will still need to travel for work, or you just can’t NOT travel.

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to let go the things you love, including seeing the world! It just means you’ll need to think about what travel during pregnancy mean s for you.

Yes, there are some things to think about and questions you may have. Depending on your mode of travel, there may be limitations or preparations to make ahead of time.

Below, I’ve laid out 18 questions covering all the technical aspects so you can just check them off your list. Then you can sit back (with those feet up), relax, and enjoy your travels.

My Experience with Travel During Pregnancy

When I was 12 weeks pregnant with my oldest, I flew from Seattle to Florence, Italy with my in-laws for a big family trip.

I was so nervous about the long flight!

So, being the over-researcher that I am, I scoured the internet for tips on how to manage flying while pregnant.

I was just crossing over from 1st trimester to 2nd trimester. And my nausea was still popping up at the most inconvenient times.

So, I made sure to pack lots of ginger chews and sit in a bulkhead seat, just in case I needed to race to the lavatory!

The flight ended up being a piece of cake and being Florence while pregnant was fantastic!

We took lots of breaks at museums and stopped at multiple cafes daily for freshly squeezed orange juice (it’s amazing in Italy!). We also took lengthy siestas each day back at our hotel.

Being pregnant slowed down my usual pace. It made me take my time and really enjoy being in Italy.

Let me tell you, it was one of the most relaxing weeks. I’m so happy that I decided to go!

I’ve also visited Hawaii, British Columbia, Washington, and Disneyland while pregnant.

Don’t let being pregnant stop you from traveling, just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

There are just a few extra precautions and extra preparations that you’ll need to make beforehand.

Your trip will be that much more enjoyable when you feel that you and baby are safe!

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First, 6 Universal Tips for Pregnancy and Traveling

1. Choose the Destination Carefully

If you’re considering international travel, do some research. In countries where the Zika virus and malaria outbreaks are occurring, travel isn’t recommended for pregnant women.

It’s also recommended that you don’t travel to anywhere that requires you to be vaccinated. And if you do go somewhere that you need vaccinations for, don’t just assume that your vaccinations are up to date.

If you’re unsure, you can always find a list of areas that pose a risk to pregnant women by visiting the CDC website.

And depending on where you’re visiting, your healthcare provider might recommend certain vaccinations and precautions you’ll need to take. You’ll have to decide if all of this is worth it.

Another aspect of choosing the right destination when pregnant is access to quality medical care. Many places just don’t have adequate healthcare facilities or specialized obstetric services readily available.

It’s important to check with your health insurance policy. While domestic travel is generally covered, out of the country benefits vary widely. 

Finally, if you’re traveling internationally, you should carefully review your travel health insurance policy.

Many travel insurance policies exclude pregnant women and limit coverage of prenatal care and emergency medical expenses related to pregnancy.

Find out my top Zika-free babymoon spots!

Check with the CDC to make sure your babymoon destination is zika-free.
Make sure you are in a Zika-free destination.

2. Timing is Everything

The general rule for traveling while pregnant is to do it during your second trimester. In your first trimester, you may experience morning sickness due to the increased hormones in your body.

If you don’t have much morning sickness, there’s no harm in traveling during pregnancy, as long as your doctor gives you the green light!

Plus, after the 4th month is that around this time, most pregnant women enjoy a surge of energy. It’s the ideal time to enjoy a fun vacation!

In the third trimester your baby has grown quite a bit, so your stomach is larger making it harder to get comfortable. You’re also in a higher risk category in your third trimester.

When you travel during your pregnancy will also depend on your mode of transportation:

If you plan on flying, check with the airline first. Most airlines will not let you travel after 36 weeks.

This will vary by the airline company and whether it’s an international flight. Also, ask the airline what restrictions they have when flying.

And if you’re traveling by train or taking a cruise, their cutoff times can be even earlier than airlines.

3. Check with Your Doctor First

While most providers don’t have any problems with traveling during pregnancy, it’s always best to check with them first.

If you’ve had any previous pregnancy complications or are considered high risk, they’ll probably say not to travel.

I had pregnancy complications with my first pregnancy, and we canceled our trip to Istanbul, just to be safe. You don’t want to blame yourself if something goes wrong!

Your doctor may also be able to give you nausea and gas remedies if you need them.

If you’re prone to motion sickness or experience this during your pregnancy, the nausea medicine will be a life saver during your flight.

And while you’re there, it might be worthwhile to get a file with copy important information from your doctor. This should include your prenatal chart, your medical history, and a letter of okay with your due date.

These will be important if any medical emergencies arise while you’re traveling.

Flying while pregnant is safe, as long as your doctor gives you the okay.
Always check with your doctor before making travel plans.

4. Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthy

Traveling during pregnancy can be exhausting, and it’s important that you prioritize drinking enough water and eating nourishing foods.

It’s much easier for a pregnant woman to become dehydrated, and your calorie intake increases when you’re expecting, too.

You can develop complications like kidney infections and premature labor when dehydrated. And eating nutritious food helps regulate blood sugar levels and provides essential nutrients for both of you and the baby.

Refillable water bottles will be your best friend during your trip! And if you plan ahead, you can pack snacks so you’re not relying on fast food or unhealthy options along the way.

Important note: You can take fresh fruits and veggies through TSA!

But you should definitely treat yourself! I mean, you can’t go to Italy and not eat gelato! I love to find out what dishes a country is known for (then I double check that I can have it). (cozumelparks.com)

It’s also essential that you be cautious of what you eat in countries where you’re not sure of the food and water conditions.

Contaminated food and water can pose a risk to healthy pregnancies. They can also increase the risk of foodborne illnesses, which can be harmful to pregnant people and developing babies.

If you’re unsure, drink bottled water and opt for prepackaged food and hot, freshly cooked meals from trusted sources.

5. Wear Comfortable Clothing

Whether you’re flying or riding in the car, be sure to wear comfortable clothing. You’ll want flowy, loose-fitting clothing that’s soft, and stretchy.

I always fly in a maternity maxi dress when I’m pregnant. There isn’t an uncomfortable waistband, and it makes me feel beautiful!

You’ll also want to wear comfortable shoes to keep your feet from hurting. Go with something flat that slips on and off easily.

Note: If you have TSA Pre-Check, you don’t have to take off your shoes at security. We have a Nexus pass, which gives us both Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check and it’s been a lifesaver!

Wearing comfortable clothing and shoes also encourages proper blood flow and reduces swelling.

And if you have a long flight or drive ahead of you, wearing compression stockings makes a huge difference. Doctors recommend them to reduce the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and prevent blood clots.

I love compression stockings like these ones because there’s no struggle to take them on and off.

Read more: Maternity Style While Traveling.

6. Plan Enough Time so You’re Not Rushing

Pregnancy places extra demands on your body, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to go. It’s crucial for both your health and for your baby!

Leave early so you don’t have to rush, whether it’s to the airport or that sightseeing tour you’ve been excited about. The last thing you want is to be nervous about missing your flight!

And if you’re driving, you’ll want to budget in rest stops and bathroom breaks so you can stretch your legs.

Stress from rushing can cause high blood pressure. Prolonged, this can lead to pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational hypertension.

Pacing yourself helps to reduce the risk of fatigue and promotes better circulation and heart health.

And remember, your baby needs a healthy and relaxed environment to grow. So, the best way to take care of both of you is to prioritize rest and giving yourself extra time.

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant by Plane

1. Review Your Airline’s Guidelines

Air travel during pregnancy can be a breeze! But when you’re pregnant, it’s important to know the specific policies of the airline you’ll be flying with.

This can include things like policies regarding requesting a specific seat on the plane, medical conditions, and gestational age limits (for most it’s 36 weeks).

Also, you can request not to go through the scanners and instead be patted down.

If an employee tries to argue with you about the policy, you can quickly bring it up on your phone. Unfortunately, it does happen, so if you’re prepared it will be less stressful for you.

2. Request Early Boarding

Airlines usually offer early boarding for those who are pregnant. Early boarding will give you time to get situated in your seat without tons of people around.

It’s really handy if you are traveling by yourself and need to put your carry-on in the overhead compartment.

This is also a great time to introduce yourself to the flight attendants, especially if it’s not obvious that you’re pregnant.

If they know, they’ll be more likely check on you and to assist you with any needs. And if you get up and down more for the bathroom, they’ll be more understanding!

Traveling While Pregnant: 21 Essentials to Pack featured by top US travel blogger, Marcie in Mommyland
Early boarding will give you time to get situated on your flight.

3. Request a Comfortable Seat on the Plane

Ah, the joy of that baby pushing down on your bladder. Suddenly you have the urge to go to the bathroom every hour!

Choosing an aisle seat can make it easier on you, and other passengers, when you need to get up and down.

Now you’ll have the option to get up periodically and walk around the cabin. You can stretch your legs and minimize swelling.

Especially on long flights, try to avoid sitting for prolonged periods.

Another good option is a bulkhead seat. These are great because you don’t have to squeeze into your seat.

You’ll a little extra room to stretch your legs or get into a more comfortable position. You could also use an inflatable footrest for even more comfort!

4. Bring Essentials in Your Carry-On

It’s always best to keep essential medications in your carry-on luggage instead of putting them in your checked bag. In case of any emergency, you know you’ll have enough for short term.

When you’re pregnant, you’ll want to add your prenatal vitamins to the list.

And while you can’t completely avoid germs when you’re traveling by plane, hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes are helpful at combating them!

Keep them handy so you can quickly clean your hands or wipe off any arm rests, trays, or door handles before use.

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant By Car (or Train)

5. Buckle up!

In a car, wearing a seat belt is essential for your safety and the safety of your child. But many people don’t know that there’s a right and very wrong way to wear your seat belt once you become pregnant:

  1. Place the lap belt low and snugly across your hips, below your belly.
  2. Ensure the lap belt fits securely without putting pressure directly on your abdomen.
  3. Position the shoulder belt across the center of your chest, between your breasts.
  4. Avoid wearing the seatbelt too loosely but avoid placing it too close to your neck.
  5. Double-check that the seatbelt is properly positioned before starting your journey.

NEVER wear the seatbelt across your belly or tucking it up under your belly.

6. Adjust Your Seat

The key to car travel during pregnancy is comfort while riding! Take the time to adjust your seat to a comfortable position that provides good back support.

You could bring pillows or cushions to support your back and make the seating more comfortable. Try out a lumber support pillow or a good neck pillow, or both!

7. Take Regular Breaks

While I already mentioned this above, it’s essential for your comfort and safety. Every 1-2 hours, stop the car to stretch, walk around, and use the restroom.

This might also be a good time to refill your water bottle or grab a healthy snack. Also think about taking a shorter trip so you don’t over tire.

If you’re on a train, walk through the car periodically to improve circulation and avoid blood clots.

8. Ask for Help with Your Luggage

If at all possible, avoid heavy lifting, like loading and unloading luggage.

Pregnancy already places extra strain on the body, particularly on the back and core muscles.

By lifting heavy bags, you’re risking muscle strains, back injuries, or even complications like preterm labor.

Try to ask for assistance or use luggage carts at the train station.

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant by Boat (or train)

9. Talk with Your Doctor About Going on a Cruise

There are a lot of risks that come with going on a cruise. If you’re considering a cruise, the first thing you should do is consult with your healthcare provider.

The biggest concern is seasickness, which can leave you nauseous, dizzy, and dehydrated. If it’s your first time on a cruise, you might want to wait till after you’ve had the baby.

Even if you don’t suffer from seasickness normally, that may not be the case when you’re pregnant!

A major concern doctors have with pregnant women going on cruise ships are germs. Viruses spread quickly and are common, but the risk of complications increase with pregnancy.

Every time you come back to your quarters or prepare to eat, wash your hands with soap and water. It’s also a good idea to keep hand sanitizer or wipes on you as well.

10. Confirm Medical Care on Board

When you’re pregnant and cruising (or riding a train), it’s essential to check out the medical care available on board and at your destinations.

Check that they have decent medical facilities that can handle any pregnancy-related emergencies that may come up.

Take a look at what medical services they offer, who’s on the medical staff, and how accessible they are.

Also, do a bit of research on the ports of call to find out if they have modern medical facilities in case you need specialized care.

It’s all about making sure you have the support you need, both on the ship and at the places you’ll be stopping along the way.

11. Check the Safety Record of the Cruise Line

Before booking, you can double check that your ship has gone through a health and safety inspection with the CDC.

Regular inspections are done on cruise ships through the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, and you can search their database online for your ship.

12. Check Your Cruise Line’s Policies

Most train companies and cruise lines have restrictions on how far along you can be in your pregnancy when you board.

They can be even more strict with their cut-off dates than airlines, usually as early as 28 weeks. Look into their guidelines and make sure you meet their requirements.

It’s better to know ahead of time if there are any restrictions or necessary documentation, like a doctor’s note.

Final Thoughts on Traveling While Pregnant

Before you go on any trip, whether traveling by car or plane, always speak with your OB-GYN first to make sure there are no complications to be concerned about. I can’t stress that enough!

It’s always best to be safe. By being prepared and knowing the policies, the travel process will be easier on both you and baby.

Doing a babymoon is a great way to celebrate your expanding family. I can’t recommend them enough!

Whether it’s an international trip, or a quick drive from your home, setting aside time to relax and be present is a great way to commemorate your pregnancy!

Looking for more resources for traveling while pregnant? Check out my posts about Hacks and Tips for Traveling While Pregnant and 21 Pregnancy Travel Items to Pack!

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Olivia

Monday 9th of September 2019

Thanks! I'm Belgian and pregnant with second baby. For the first we went to South Africa and Seychelles. Amazing! This time we choose shorter flight and are going to Sicily. I checked my travel insurance policy and they will not cover me after week 28. Good to know!!

marciecheung

Monday 9th of September 2019

It's so good that you checked! Every insurance company seems to be a little different. Same with airlines. Those are some amazing places!

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