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Travel During Pregnancy: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Travel during pregnancy generally is safe if you are healthy and not at risk for problems. The safest time to travel is between 18 and 24 weeks. This is the time when your risks for miscarriage and early labour are lowest. Also, it may be uncomfortable to travel later in your pregnancy. Some airlines do not allow women more than 35 weeks pregnant to fly.

You should find a doctor, midwife, or other health professional in the place you travel to. Then, if you have a problem, you have someone to call for help. Your doctor or midwife may be able to give the name of someone. Some hotels also can supply names of local doctors.

It is very important that, while travelling, you carry copies of your medical records with you at all times. You should have these in case you need to be seen at a clinic or hospital that does not have your records. This could be very important, especially in emergencies.

If you plan to travel overseas, you should find out what vaccines you need to prevent illness. Some vaccines, such as measles, mumps, and rubella, are not safe to get during pregnancy. The safety of other vaccines, such as typhoid, is not known. Talk to your doctor if vaccines are recommended.

If you travel by plane often, talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for your unborn child. An occasional flight is not a risk.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Before planning a trip, ask your doctor or midwife if it is safe for you to fly. Some airlines ask to see a note from your doctor or midwife with your due date. Choose an aisle seat if possible. This will make it easier to move around in the plane.
  • Always wear your seat belt when you travel in a car, plane, or other vehicle that has seat belts. Strap the lower belt across your lower lap/upper thighs. Place the shoulder belt between your breasts and up over your shoulder, not over your belly. Remove any excess slack in the seat belt.
  • During long trips, take time to walk around at least every 2 hours to keep blood from settling in your legs. Being pregnant increases your chances of getting dangerous blood clots in your legs when you sit still for long periods of time. Walking helps prevent this problem. Also drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • If you are sitting in front of an air bag, slide the seat as far back as you can. Tilt the seat back slightly to increase the distance between your chest and the air bag.
  • If you get motion sickness, make sure the medicine you use is safe for pregnant women.
  • If you plan to travel overseas, go to the Public Health Agency of Canada's Travel Health webpage at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/ to get information on diseases in the area you will travel to.
  • You should avoid travel to places where malaria is common. Malaria can cause serious illness in you and your unborn baby and cannot always be prevented.
  • If you are not sure the tap water is safe, drink bottled water or soft drinks. Do not eat salads, and do not eat raw vegetables unless they are peeled.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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