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How to have a comfortable and safe trip while you are pregnant

Pregnancy can be an anxious time for some people, but you should not have to avoid travelling. Whether you’re taking a romantic babymoon or a business trip, our tips will help you to prioritize your comfort and safety.

1.       Time your trip

The second trimester (weeks 18–24) of your pregnancy is the best time to travel. You may be lucky enough to get a burst of energy once the morning sickness and fatigue days are over. Also, your bump is showing enough that you are looked after wherever you go, but it is not so huge that you feel uncomfortable.

If you are flying, get a letter from your healthcare provider to show the airline. However, remember that long-haul flights, uncomfortable at the best of times, can be unbearable during pregnancy so consider destinations that are closer to home and do not involve a long transfer from the airport.

If you’re travelling to somewhere exotic, make sure you book a consultation with a specialist travel nurse to discuss the possible health risks and necessary vaccinations six to eight weeks before you travel.

2.       What to have on hand

Pack your carry-on luggage with these items for a comfortable flight:

  • healthy snacks
  • bottle of water – buy one in the departure lounge to avoid security problems
  • anti-bacterial hand gel, because your immune system takes a beating during pregnancy
  • your maternity notes – particularly if you’re in your third trimester
  • letter from your midwife or doctor – many airlines insist on them for pregnant passengers
  • your prescribed medication
  • heartburn tablets (liquid preparations may get confiscated at security)
3.       Get comfortable

For maximum comfort try to book a bulkhead seat to ensure you get the legroom you need. This will also give you a bit of extra room to move around. Alleviate swollen ankles by taking off your shoes and raising your feet. Take plenty of fluids – water and herbal teas are pleasant. Layered clothes will help you adjust to changes in temperature. You may wish to bring your own pillow to help you get comfortable.

4.       Keep safe

Doctors say that there is no risk to a low pregnancy in flying. However, you are more susceptible to deep vein thrombosis. Reduce your risk by wearing a properly fitted pair of flight socks. Also take hourly walks up and down the cabin – you may need to use the restroom more than usual anyway!

Are you prone to dizziness? Ask if you can sit down in airport queues.

As mentioned above, your immune system is under some strain during pregnancy so you need to take extra care to avoid food- and water-borne diseases at your destination. You should also make every effort to avoid insect bites as you will be more susceptible to insect-borne diseases.

For peace of mind, identify the nearest hospital or medical centre in case of emergencies, and also check with your health insurer that you are covered for every eventuality.

The Government of Canada has some advice for pregnant travellers.