Many women are reluctant to travel once they become pregnant, uncertain about the risks it imposes on their growing fetus.  

Most physicians and midwives agree that moderate travel during a healthy pregnancy is acceptable, however, it is important for pregnant women to understand safe travel techniques to maintain the highest level of health and comfort while away from home.

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Best Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

Here are quick travel tips for pregnant women.

Keep your insurance card & important numbers with you

If you go into labor or your water breaks while out of town, call your midwife or physician immediately so that they can direct you to the appropriate hospital. Your medical records can be faxed, but a midwife or physician unfamiliar with you will be responsible for your care.

Discuss with Your Midwife or Doctor

If you are considering plane travel, discuss your plans with your midwife or physician ahead of time to determine if it is a safe choice

Check with your airline to see if they require a letter of medical or obstetrical clearance if you are close to your due date. Once inside the plane walk up and down the aisle every 45 minutes to an hour. Eat, drink and use the restroom continuously. 

Most airlines, as well as midwives and physicians, strongly discourage flying after 35 weeks of pregnancy, when the mother is full term. 

When traveling by car, keep your seat belt on at all times

The proper way to wear a seat belt during pregnancy is a lap belt under the abdomen; the shoulder strap should be worn coming down between the breasts, securely fastened on the side.  Stop the car every hour or so to walk and get the blood flowing in your legs, as well as eat, drink and use the restroom. 

Wear support stockings (compression stockings), especially during travel

Sitting for a long period of time can put pregnant women at risk of blood clot formation.  Support stockings can greatly reduce this risk.   

It is ideal to be near your midwife or physician, and the hospital you plan to deliver it to throughout your entire pregnancy

If a woman goes into preterm labor (between 24-34 weeks), the baby’s health will depend on the available technology and qualified neonatal staff.  

After 35 weeks, which is clinically full term, you are better off staying home–eating, drinking, resting, and keeping track of your baby’s movements–rather than traveling.

By Women’s Health Expert Elizabeth Stein, CNM, MSN, MPH ·