July 13, 2024
Traveling while pregnant

24 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

Right at the beginning carrying a child, pregnancy comes with many challenges. Come now the hormonal changes and the array of discomforts they bring. These, along with other issues, make an expectant mother’s normal daily routine become more challenging, including traveling while pregnant.

Sure, extra care should be taken if you are pregnant, but life should not come to a complete halt. If you are worried about traveling while pregnant, you can take comfort in knowing that traveling during pregnancy is completely doable!

However, you should always have the blessing of your healthcare provider. Not only will this put your mind at rest, but this is basically what authorities would almost always ask from you before you go on a trip. Another thing you should consider is obtaining a travel insurance, regardless of whether you are having a normal or complicated pregnancy.

These are but a few of the things you might want to think about before traveling, so check out the following tips if you want to know more.

FAQs – Traveling During Pregnancy

To help you in your quest for answers, we have looked through the most frequently asked questions about traveling during pregnancy. The following are quick answers to those questions:

Is it safe to travel during pregnancy?

Yes, it is generally safe to travel if you are not experiencing complications during pregnancy. If you are, it is best to talk to your obstetrician-gynecologist first.

When is it best to travel during pregnancy?

Most mothers are most comfortable traveling during the second trimester, which is also recommended because it is already past the phase of morning sickness that is experienced in the first trimester. Moreover, while their bellies are still growing, they are not big enough to make traveling difficult and fatiguing.

When should I stop traveling when I am pregnant?

If you are having a non-complicated pregnancy, it is recommended not to travel beyond 36 weeks of pregnancy. If you experience complications, 32 weeks is the latest time to travel. Still, it is always best to consult your OB-GYNE and to check the guidelines for different airlines.

Which places should I avoid traveling to while I am pregnant?

Avoid areas with known cases of Zika virus and Malaria. Both of these diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes and are commonly found in tropical regions. Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for more information.

What should I do before traveling during pregnancy?

Again, consult your OB-GYNE to know if you are fit for travel. This way, you would also know if you need vaccines depending on the place you will visit. Also, know when you are due and make your travel plans accordingly. Get prescribed medications from your health care provider as well as over-the-counter medications.

When should I seek emergency medical care when traveling?

Get help if you experience contractions, ruptured membranes, pelvic and abdominal pain, bleeding, preeclampsia, diarrhea, and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis.

Is it safe to walk through airport screening machines while I am pregnant?

Screening machines are designed to be safe for everyone, including pregnant women. These are not like x-ray machines. Rather, they emit a low frequency of electromagnetic waves. The Transportation Security Administration furthers that these machines use “non-ionizing electromagnetic waves that are reflected off the body”. If you are still uncomfortable, you may opt to be patted down instead.

Will the radiation I am exposed to on an airplane flight harm my unborn baby?

All of us experience cosmic radiation even when we are not on an airplane. It is true that there is more radiation the higher the altitude, but the amount is negligible.

Risks of Traveling While Pregnant

In general, it is safe enough to travel during pregnancy. The risks of traveling while pregnant are basically determined in two ways: the destination and the age of the pregnant traveler.

For the destination, you must do a prior research if there is a risk of contracting certain diseases in that area. For example, the Zika virus, if acquired by the mother, can cause devastating effects such as the loss of the child or abnormalities. Malaria is another disease that can cause serious effects on the baby. Both of these are transmitted by mosquitoes and are present in several tropical countries.

As for the age, it is generally risky for women below 17 years to be pregnant because their bodies are not yet mature enough for child-bearing. On the other hand, women above 35 years are also at risk of pregnancy complications.

The following are some helpful sites that discuss these risks and how to manage a high-risk pregnancy:

Risky Activities to Avoid While Traveling During Pregnancy

It is not wrong to keep an active lifestyle while pregnant. In fact, it brings a lot of benefits to both you and your baby. If you are already active in certain activities, the good news is that you do not have to stop. However, as your belly grows, it is advised to lessen the number of strenuous activities in order to avoid accidents or injuries.

With that thought in mind, it may not be best to learn a new routine if you are pregnant. Stick to what you are already used to and always consult a specialist to make sure you are not putting yourself or your baby at risk.

It is also best to plan less physically-demanding activities in your vacation itinerary. This means postponing some adventures, like difficult hiking trips, skydiving, or diving.

Here are some of the things you should keep in mind to keep both you and your baby safe:

Vaccines for Traveling While Pregnant

Vaccinations are already a part of pregnancy and there are certain types of vaccines that are taken before, during, and after pregnancy. For example, if you are pregnant, you have probably already had vaccinations for whooping cough and flu.

Before you travel, check your destination if you could be at risk of contracting a disease in that area and if you might be required to get vaccinated. Avoid these places if you can, but if not, get vaccinated. Safety should always be a priority, especially if you are pregnant.

Avoid live vaccines if you are pregnant, such as vaccines used for rubella, measles, polio, typhoid, and yellow fever. These may put your baby at risk. To find out more about getting vaccines for traveling, see the following:

Tips for Going on Long Car Rides While Pregnant

One good news for expecting moms is that it is perfectly fine to go on road trips when you are pregnant. Still, certain precautions must be taken to ensure that you and your little one will be safe.

First, it is best to travel during the second trimester, from the 14th to the 28th week of pregnancy. This is because you are already past the stage when you are most easily nauseated or sick. Moreover, your belly is not yet too big to cause many challenges while traveling.

Always bring a companion with you if you have to drive. Do this especially if you are traveling early or late into your pregnancy. Take a break as well every 2 hours to stretch your legs and walk for a bit. This way, you would avoid varicose veins.

To find out more about what you need to know if you have to go on long car rides while pregnant, check out the following sites:

Cruising During Pregnancy

There is nothing wrong with going on a cruise if you are pregnant. In fact, it is an awesome way to rest and relax before another member is added to your family. You can stay by the poolside and just sit back while sipping on a refreshing drink. You can also have a good massage and have more alone time with your partner.

For example, you would not want to be surprised to find out from your chosen cruise line that you are not allowed to get on board. You would then have to know their policies first. In line with this, you also need to bring important medical documents with you plus a proof that you are allowed by your doctor to go on a cruise. You also have to be prepared for sea sickness especially if you are traveling during your first trimester.

Another thing you have to think about is the destination and safety in terms of diseases and food. Here are other things you should remember before planning to go on a cruise while pregnant:

Airline Rules for Pregnant Passengers

Airline policies regarding pregnancy are not made to make your journey complicated. They are there for your safety. For one, while it sure is interesting to be read on the news, giving birth during a flight is definitely not a great idea.

For this reason, a number of airlines have tighter policies for women who are already on the third trimester of their pregnancy. Some airlines allow travelers on the 36th week of their pregnancy to board, while others have an earlier or later cutoff.

Again, it is always best to consult your physician before you go on a flight. This is not just for your safety. Some airlines require pregnant travelers to present a medical clearance before they are allowed to board.

Another thing to consider is if you are experiencing complications. It is highly discouraged to go on a flight if you are having a complicated pregnancy since most aircraft are not equipped to give you proper care. Also, airline policies are tighter for women bearing more than one child.

See the following lists to find which airline is best for you:

Cruise Line Rules for Pregnant Passengers

Similar to airlines, cruise lines have policies for pregnant passengers. In general, they allow passengers who are at most 24 weeks pregnant to come on board. Avoid planning cruise trips on your third trimester as much as possible. Otherwise, bring a medical certificate if your chosen cruise line would consider them.

In addition to this, you must also think twice if you want to go cruising on your first trimester. If you are already prone to seasickness prior to your pregnancy then expect the first trimester to be worse. If you have already planned your trip during your first trimester, it might be a good idea to use a travel motion sickness wristband.

Other things to think about are the destination, the food, and the possible risks in your chosen destination. Perhaps you should take a pass on more exotic locations as the food there might not sit well in your stomach.

Check out the following policies before cruising:

Ideal Travel Destinations During Pregnancy

You are probably having mixed emotions about expecting a baby. Truly, what else could you be feeling as your life is completely turned upside-down with the arrival of your little one! This is one reason why babymooning is becoming a trend these days. And you sure need a special vacation not only to prepare yourself for motherhood but also to strengthen your bond with your partner.

Before you go babymooning, however, there are several things you should think about. Again, most pregnant travelers prefer and are recommended to go on trips during the second trimester of their pregnancy.

Second, it is recommended to stay and relax in a place for a long time instead of being frequently on-the-go. For this, you must choose a destination wherein you could stay for a long time without having a dull moment. Here are some ideas for you and your partner:

Eating Healthy While Traveling During Pregnancy

There is no question about having to eat healthy if you are pregnant. That in itself can be a challenging adjustment for many mothers, but it gets even more challenging when you have to travel.

Traveling for you is not the same as it used to be before you were pregnant. If you are not careful, you and your baby’s health are on the line. Remember then to stay hydrated while you are traveling.

Maintaining a healthy diet might be difficult if you are traveling. For one, there may not be available stores or restaurants to cater to your nutritional needs. Moreover, healthy meals and snacks may cost much more than processed, unhealthy foods. It is then recommended that you pack your own snacks that you can eat at your convenience.

Do not be dismayed by this thought because packing your own healthy meals and snacks is easier than it sounds. Here are some helpful healthy ideas:

Travel Insurance Tips During Pregnancy

Although there may be a small chance of an emergency occurring while you are away, it is always wise to purchase a travel insurance just in case. Not only will it bring you peace of mind, but it is immensely useful when unexpected scenarios actually happen. However, travel insurances are not made equal and careful inspection should be made as you browse through its terms and conditions.

First, not many insurers provide coverage for multiple pregnancies with no complications. Most of them cover single pregnancies with no complications. Second, your due date plays a major role as various coverages range anywhere between 18 weeks to 36 weeks of gestation. Make sure then that you read the terms and choose the one that suits your needs.

Third, see if the terms would also provide you a refund if unexpected complications happen such that you are forced to cancel your flight or trip. It is also good to choose an insurance that would at least cover part of your medical costs.

Lastly, you would want to consider choosing a Cancel for Any Reason kind of travel insurance just to be on the safe side.

There are still a lot of nuances that you should consider in choosing an insurance provider. To help you out, here are some places that compare prices and benefits among insurers:

Accessories for Pregnant Travelers

If you already have your healthcare provider’s approval and are excited to go on a trip, you are probably thinking about what you should or should not bring with you. As a pregnant traveler, your comfort and safety should be in your mind as you pack your luggage. Here are some products you might want to consider.

Best Maternity Clothes for Traveling

As your belly swells and your body requires a different kind of comfort, it is time to accept that you need different clothes.

On one hand, many moms-to-be are worried about looking out of style while carrying their little bun in the oven. The good news is that many retail stores are catering more and more to the needs of pregnant women and are expanding their selection.

On the other hand, some mothers are worried about the cost and are reluctant to buy clothes that would only be used while they are pregnant. Do not worry, though, because there are clothes that are inexpensive yet remain stylish. Moreover, you can also be wise about choosing clothes that you can still use after giving birth. The following are some ideas for you:

Best Shoes for Traveling While Pregnant

Comfortable shoes are especially important when you are traveling. First, this is to promote circulation in your legs to avoid varicose veins. Second, your feet tend to grow larger during your pregnancy. Third, a shoe you could easily take off and slide into is convenient especially when going through airport security.

You may still be comfortable wearing your fashionable high heels during the earlier stages of your pregnancy, but it is advised to forgo the high-heeled shoes as your belly grows bigger. Good thing, though, is that there are a lot of comfy alternatives that are not just good for you but would also look good on you.

Best Maternity Swimwear

You may have a growing belly but that does not mean you cannot wear a swimsuit anymore. Remember that the process of being a mother is a wonderful experience and so do not let yourself be robbed of the joy of enjoying every moment of it!

There are a lot of swimwear options out there that can suit your comfort and style. In general, tankinis are a good choice. You can always also choose a good rashguard that will protect areas of your skin that you usually miss when applying sunscreen.

Here are some sites that can help you choose the right swimwear for your holiday:

Best Maternity Belts

As you approach the fifth or sixth month of your pregnancy, it would be no surprise to experience discomfort or pain. This is then the best time to start using a pregnancy support belt that will help ease your pain and provide comfort.

How do maternity belts work? It is wrapped around your belly gently but firmly and helps relieve pressure off your spine, back, pelvis, and hips.

There are different kinds of pregnancy support belts that you can use. One is to cover up the skin on your belly which would allow you to use a wider array of clothes. Another is used as support. The former is worn like a tank top while the latter like a belt around your hips. There are kinds that provide both cover and support as well.

To help you choose, you might want to check out the following:

Best Sunscreen for Pregnant Travelers

Sunscreens are often overlooked when it comes to self-care. It should not just be used when you are out on the beach, but it is actually essential for daily use. Using a sunscreen will help protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays, therefore reducing the risk fo skin damage and even skin cancer.

However, as an expecting mother, you should be extra careful when choosing the right sunscreen. You should avoid chemicals that get absorbed by the skin such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can harm both you and your little one.

Choose a sunscreen that is labeled safe for infants. Zinc and titanium are also good for your use since they do not get absorbed by your skin.

To help you choose the right sunscreen for you, here are some helpful sites:

Best Pillows for Traveling While Pregnant

As your belly grows normal pillows just are not enough to suit your needs. This might be the right time to purchase a pregnancy pillow.

There are many different kinds of pregnancy pillows in the market. If you are traveling, however, you may opt to choose a portable one rather than a full-length pillow. Still, bringing a full-length pregnancy pillow with might be more possible if you are traveling by car.

Pregnancy pillows not only provide you comfort, but they also help you sleep on your side instead of on your back, relieves you of back and pelvic pain, and helps promote good blood circulation

Here are some sites that can help you choose the right pillow:

What do you think? Are you ready to pack your luggage and go on an adventure? With the guidance of your healthcare provider, armed with adequate knowledge about policies on traveling, and clad with awareness of safety precautions, you sure can enjoy traveling without much hassle.

As an expecting mom, you ought to take extra care in every decision. However, do not forget to enjoy and live this meaningful phase of your life to the fullest.

With these resources you can refer to every now and then, you are now ready to travel while you are pregnant!


Helen is the founder and chief creative officer of ParentsList. Helen is a mom of three, two boys and a girl, her youngest. She’s a stay-at-home mom who just happens to love writing on the side. She loves spending time with her children, especially on warm, cozy Sunday afternoons when everyone’s just relaxed and enjoying each other’s company.

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