To many people, Christmas time means travel – planes, cars, ships or even buses and trains.
Here are some tips for travelling whilst pregnant.
When travelling, always carry your yellow card and medications in your hand luggage, in case of lost luggage. In case of emergency your yellow card holds all of your pregnancy information, lists Dr Morris’ contact details and includes the phone number of the hospital that you are booked into, for care and delivery.
Anyone that travels for long periods of time, has an increased risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Cramped conditions and decreased mobility in aeroplanes, buses and cars, certainly means that pregnant women may be at a higher risk of developing a DVT than others. If you will be in a cramped situation for longer than three hours, it is recommended that you wear support stockings. Going for a short walk, and doing regular recommended foot/leg exercises is also a good idea.
Always have water handy as travelling in air conditioned comfort, certainly can dehydrate you. Being hydrated will also encourage you to walk to the bathroom or to get out of the car! Dehydration can also make “Braxton Hicks” contractions more noticeable. Rehydration will cause these contractions to settle.
Where offered, always use a seat belt wearing the lap band below the pregnant tummy with the shoulder strap resting between the breasts and running down the side of the abdomen.
Sitting/Sleeping in an upright position can cause nausea and/or indigestion. Make sure that you have water handy and also carry antacid tablets.
You may experience increased motion sickness. To combat this, keep the air conditioner on and keep water handy.
If travelling to foreign countries, it is advisable to visit www.smarttraveller.gov.au This site gives advice on immunisations required and other useful information regarding travelling.
Travel insurance is a must when travelling overseas when pregnant. The most difficult country to obtain travel insurance in pregnancy, is the United States. You will need to contact an insurance broker for an American cover.
Be wary of food and drink in exotic countries. Only drink bottled water. Clean your teeth in bottled water. Eat well cooked food where possible. Eat fruit and vegetables which can be peeled. Wash salad vegetables and fruit in bottled water. Vomiting and diarrhoea will cause dehydration and makes for a miserable holiday as well as posing some risk to the fetus.
Be suitcase wise, as carrying luggage can be troublesome. Always use suitcases with wheels, trolleys or porters to avoid injury.
Flying during pregnancy is safe. Airline companies have restrictions on gestaions to fly – 36 weeks domestically and 32 weeks for international flights. These restrictions do not reflect any danger to the pregnancy by flying but more, the increased risk of delivery, the closer you are to full term. You will require a doctor’s letter to carry on all flights, stating your gestation and that you are fit to fly.
Women with particular risk factors associated with their pregnancies, such as multiple pregnancies or a history of pre-term labour are advised, both medically and by the International Air Travel Association, not to fly after 32 weeks. If you are unsure whether you should be flying, or to clarify whether you have any risk factors that may affect your ability to fly, speak with Dr. Morris directly, during one of your consultations, well before you intend to travel.
Full Body scanners at the security gates in airports pose no threat to the pregnant woman and her baby.
Long distant car travel carry similar risks to flying, for pregnant women. Wearing support stockings is advisable, if you are embarking on long trips. Regular 2 hour stops with walking around decreases the risk of DVT dramatically.
Have snacks and plenty of fluids handy.
The High Seas
Cruise ships have their own rules on carrying pregnant women, so best to check with the cruise ship company directly.
Always hold on to the rail when walking up and down the stairs.
Check to see that there will be a Doctor on board. It is advisable to carry travel insurance, just in case you need emergency assistance. This is important as even if you are on an Australian cruise e.g. Sydney to Melbourne, the medical officer may be overseas trained and therefore not covered by medicare or your local health insurer.
Ask Dr Morris for advice on safe sea sickness medications.
Travelling on trains and buses for short trips, offer no problems. It is wise to hold on to the backs of seats as you walk up the narrow aisles. Bumpy rides are not associated with causing labour.
Long distance travel on either buses or trains carry the same type of risk as flying e.g being in a cramped position for a long period of time. It is wise to request an aisle seat, to carry bottled water, snacks, and to take every opportunity to walk around at rest stops. Toilets on trains or long distance buses are small and care should be taken when walking in the narrow aisles.
Happy Holidays from the team at Doctor Morris | Sydney Mother & Baby.