Before I became pregnant, I thought my trips would only be affected after the birth when a baby was added to the trips. It is true that the biggest change would be traveling with a baby, but I found that during my pregnancy my trips were also greatly affected.
I decided to write a post with tips for traveling while pregnant, because I think it’s important to be aware of what to consider before flying and how to prepare for a proper trip. In addition, I asked two professionals, one is a certified midwife (asked to remain anonymous) and one is a massage therapy specialist and lecturer (Ronen Komemi) to get more tips from them as well. This post will mostly be addressing pregnant women 🙂
A few things you should know when booking a flight while pregnant
- Pregnancy is very individual and differs greatly from woman to woman. Some suffer from nausea and vomiting during the first trimester, some don’t, and some might suffer all throughout the pregnancy. Usually, the first trimester is the toughest in terms of nausea, as well as tiredness. I recommend taking this into account, especially on a long and distant trip. I visited the USA on my fifth week pregnant, for two and a half weeks and suffered strong nausea and vomiting, and an extreme tiredness. It was both difficult to travel that way, and stressful as it was my first pregnancy and every new thing was unknown to me, I just felt like I wanted to rest.
- It’s important to pick a destination with high quality medical services. The pregnancy is a delicate time period and you never know when you might need a visit to the hospital. I recommend picking destinations with access to hospitals and good medical services. I went to the emergency room in the US during my trip, as well as a private women’s clinic and was glad to receive good treatment.
- The best time to travel is the second trimester, meaning weeks 13-26.
- You can’t fly abroad after week 32 (Or after week 33, with a special permit) due to travel insurance reasons.
Preparations before traveling while pregnant
- Plan a trip suitable to a slow pace with lots of resting time. If you’re planning ahead, rather than traveling spontaneously, it’s important to consider a slower pace than you’re used to due to the pregnancy (You may be used to getting more done each day).
- Get a good, extensive travel insurance (Everything you need to know about travel insurance while pregnant) and check in with the insurance company which attractions you can do. For example, we were planning a trip to Cyprus and wanted to know if a yacht cruise was suitable. Before booking the cruise, I asked the insurance company that it’s ok and is insured. Turns out, small boats and yachts don’t count, but the one we were booking was quite large and the cruise was insured. So, remember not every attraction is possible and if you have any doubts it’s worth making sure in advance with both the insurance company and your doctor.
- Before each flight you need to go to your physician to get a flight permit and make sure everything is fine. You generally only need the permit when in a later stage with a visible belly, as the flight company might request it. I went to the doctor to ask for one before my pregnancy was visible, so I could flight calmly knowing everything was ok.
Tips for flying while pregnant
- During the flight it’s important to get up and walk about every now and then to improve blood flow. The blood vessels expand during pregnancy and so for most women, blood pressure drops. Due to the altitude and pressure differences, it’s important to twist your ankles from time to time, and stretch to avoid too much pressure on your back. You should switch from sitting to a standing position slowly to avoid dizziness.
- Sitting in a spacious area of the plane for easier mobility – Beyond the inconvenience of you sitting tightly, consider that if you are sitting by the window and need to get up to go to the bathroom, you have to disturb your neighbors in line. Unpleasant. The truth is that Roman and I always sit in emergency exit seats because Roman is really tall, but you’re not allowed to sit there while pregnant, because during an emergency, someone sitting in an emergency exit should be eligible to help evacuate. So, since becoming pregnant, we try to book seats in the front row or other rows that have more space or at least a chair next to the aisle.
- Drink plenty of water – the airplane air is dry, so it’s easy to get dehydrated. Paying attention to your water balance will save you from muscle aches after the flight. Make sure to bring a full water bottle with you, as you may usually only ask for water (Or buy water on a low-cost flight) after takeoff, so you might be feeling thirsty until then.
Tips for the trip itself during pregnancy
- While pregnant, it’s best to avoid eating raw fish and meats, such as are found in sushi or ceviche. It’s also best to avoid unpasteurized milk products. Therefore, it’s recommended to eat at recommended restaurants that get many visitors.
- Walking a lot is healthy, however, especially during late pregnancy, the hips lose their stability along with the rest of the skeleton. This increases the risk of falling, so it’s recommended to wear comfortable walking shoes.
- Some women climb mountains while pregnant, but it’s certainly no time to start working out or go after new challenges you’ve never tried before.
- Tanning too much is never recommended, but since body temperatures rise during pregnancy, the fetus may also be affected by overheating. So, resting in the shade, drinking a lot and using sunscreen is recommended. These recommendations are generally true for everyone, but it’s even more important to be safe during pregnancy.
- During pregnancy, it is important to pay attention to our heart rate and therefore climbing up to observation points by stairs or other sporting activities are less recommended. When we were hiking in Vilnius, for example, there was a vantage point up a mountain you had to climb stairs to reach. Although I really like vantage points, I decided to avoid this activity because I knew my pulse would surge sharply. It is even recommended to have a pulse watch to track your pulse.
- If you go on tours, let the guides known about your pregnancy at the beginning, so they can accommodate you in terms of tops from time to time, and even bathroom breaks.
- If you’re going on a food tour or to a restaurant with a tasting’s menu, it’s important to let them know in advance as well, so they can accommodate you nutritionally.
- Jumps and jerks aren’t great while pregnant, so it’s important to avoid activities involving jumps or rattling such as when driving on unpaved roads. If you can’t avoid such roads, drive slowly and carefully or ask the driver to be mindful.
In conclusion, pregnancy is not a disease but should be taken seriously and not ignored before going on a trip. There’s no problem flying pregnant before week 32, but most important is being attentive to the body. Before the trip make sure you do the right planning and choose a suitable destination (in terms of distance, type of trip and proximity to good medical services), go to the doctor for a test and also get good travel insurance. On the flight itself move around, drink water and sit in a comfortable seat. On the trip itself, it is important to move at the pace that feels right and not overload the body. Rest at every opportunity you can and pay attention to the food you eat. If there is any doubt about an attraction, consult the insurance agency and the doctor.
Thanks so much to Ronen Komi and the wonderful midwife who gave me more tips for the post 🙂