10 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant
Alt Title: 10 Important Tips If You’re Traveling While Pregnant
Traveling while pregnant can be both difficult and stressful, but there are some situations you won’t be able to avoid—or won’t want to resist. For example, you may need to travel cross-country for an important job interview, or fly home to respond to a family emergency. You might also be interested in getting in one last vacation before the baby comes.
Whatever your motivation, there are a few important tips you’ll want to follow if you’re traveling while pregnant—and they have the power to make your life much easier.
Tips for Traveling While Pregnant
Follow these strategies if you want your travel experience while pregnant to be more enjoyable (or at least tolerable).
- Understand the legal restrictions. First, you should know there are some legal restrictions in place that may restrict your ability to travel while pregnant. For example, in 2020, the U.S. Department of State (Bureau of Consular Affairs) issued new rules that allow officials to turn away visa applications for pregnant women if they believe the woman is attempting to give birth in the United States as a form of “birth tourism.” Certain airlines and other travel companies may also have restrictions in place to reduce exposure to risk. For example, most airlines will allow women to travel up through the 36th week of pregnancy, but beyond this cutoff, you may be barred from travel completely.
- Try to travel during your second trimester. If you travel too early, you’ll be at higher risk of miscarriage, and you may be experiencing symptoms like morning sickness at the highest possible rate. But if you travel too late, in your third trimester, you may be exceptionally uncomfortable and/or more likely to have the baby. Try to travel during your second trimester if you’re planning a trip in advance.
- Choose your destination carefully. Next, consider your destination carefully. You won’t always get to choose where you go, but if you have a choice, you’ll want to evaluate the risks and rewards of each potential area. Does this country have good medical standards? Is it relatively safe?
- Learn more about hospitals in your area. No matter when you’re traveling or where you’re going, it’s a good idea to spend time learning about hospitals in the area. Where would you be able to go if you faced a medical emergency? It’s much better to have a few options ready to go than to be forced to improvise in a high-stakes situation.
- Bring your medical records. Before leaving, get a copy of your medical records and bring them with you. If you need medical treatment, these records will help local doctors take proper care of you.
- Make comfort a priority. Traveling while pregnant can be extremely uncomfortable, especially if you’re trapped in cramped quarters for extended periods of time. You can make yourself more comfortable with the right investments. For example, you can pay extra for a heated neck pillow so you’re more likely to relax and nap on the plane, or you can get a back-supporting pillow to offset the discomfort of traditional seats.
- Dress in layers. Similarly, it’s a good idea to dress in layers. While pregnant, many women are more sensitive to temperature changes, and may find their temperature preference fluctuating more than usual. Dressing in layers gives you multiple options, so you can put things on or take them off as needed to reach your optimal personal temperature.
- Take healthy snacks. While you’re at it, pack extra healthy snacks to take with you, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. While you’re on a plane or getting from point A to point B, it may be hard to find snacks that indulge your hunger that aren’t unhealthy or expensive. Pack your own goods to avoid this dilemma entirely.
- Get travel insurance. It’s a good idea to invest in travel insurance, even if you have a good health insurance policy. This way, if you have the baby while traveling, or if you’re involved in an accident in another country or during travel, you’ll be protected. Be sure you understand the coverage, terms, and conditions before purchasing.
- Prepare for security. Finally, prepare for the discomfort of going through security. You may opt for an alternate security check, or sign up for expedited security. Otherwise, dress and pack to make security as fast and discomfort-free as possible.
Discovering What Works
Different women will have very different experiences while pregnant—and very different opinions about travel. Be honest with yourself and your preferences, and try not to extend yourself too far beyond your comfort zone. If you’re going to travel multiple times during your pregnancy, learn from your earlier experiences to make your subsequent travels even more comfortable.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
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