Thinking of heading off for a holiday or short break with your bump? To make sure that your travel plans go smoothly, we’ve put together some top tips on travel during pregnancy.
When to travel
Most health experts will agree that travelling during the second trimester is best. You will have gotten through those early months when you might have had morning sickness and were just not feeling tip-top. During the second trimester, mums-to-be normally have more energy and are feeling good but their burgeoning bump is not too heavy. In the third trimester, walking around in the heat or sitting for long periods of time on a plane may take the enjoyment out of your holiday so time your break well.
Travelling by air
Pregnant women can generally fly up to 36 weeks, flying after this point won’t harm your baby, but the risk of going into labour increases. If you are pregnant with twins can be 32 weeks. This can vary from one airline to another, so we recommend that you check with whoever you are flying with. Some airlines require a ‘fit to fly’ letter to be signed by your doctor like this one from Ryanair.
If you are still in the ‘queasy’ stages, take some bags on board with you in case you feel sick, or request them from the cabin crew when you board. Keep your seatbelt on for the duration of the flight in case of any sudden turbulence.
For extra comfort, take a small pregnancy pillow as part of your carry-on luggage. The ClevaFoam Therapeutic Maternity Pillow comes in its own travel bag so you can take it anywhere.
When Booking your Holiday…
If you’re booking your holiday through a travel agent, tell them you’re pregnant and let them know how many weeks you’ll be when you travel back. They’ll be able to tell you if your chosen airline will let you fly.
If you’re booking online, check the airline’s website – most give detailed information about pregnancy. Even if you’ve flown while pregnant before, don’t assume the rules you encountered with one airline will be the same with another.
Travelling by sea
If you are taking the ferry to the continent or are going on a cruise, be mindful of the limitations on travelling while pregnant. You can travel without any problem with most ferry/cruise lines up to 24/28 weeks. After which time, you may need to have a doctor’s certificate. As with airlines, check with the cruise line beforehand.
Wherever you are choosing to travel, it’s always a good idea to do your homework beforehand. Are there any infectious diseases to be aware of in that particular country? Do you need vaccinations and are they safe to take during pregnancy? Is the weather going to be overly hot? What will the food be like? It’s probably best to avoid street food during pregnancy and only drink bottled water to keep yourself and your growing baby safe from illness while you are away.
Do the paperwork
Before you go, check your travel insurance is up to date. If you are living in Ireland and are heading away, you can apply for a EH1C card which will allow you to have free medical treatment in other EU countries. This link from the HSE explains how to apply.
Break the language barrier
If you are travelling to a country where English isn’t the first language, it’s a good idea to write down a few phrases in the local language explaining that you are pregnant and require medical treatment. Keep these on your phone in case of a medical emergency. If you are travelling in the early months or have a small bump, it may not be obvious to others that you are pregnant, and a language barrier might complicate things.
Extras to pack
As well as all the usual things you would pack for a holiday, make sure you also have the following:
- A hat to keep you shaded from the sun. It’s easy to get overheated while pregnant.
- A cover-up to keep your arms and shoulders from getting sunburnt.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- High-factor suncream
- Check your travel medicines to make sure they are safe to use during pregnancy
- If you are prone to travel sickness but can’t take your usual remedies while pregnant, try acupressure bands instead.
- If you are taking any pregnancy vitamins, remember to pack them
- Antibacterial hand gel and wipes
- Masks, if you feel you need the extra protection or you are travelling somewhere that requires them
Next article: Travelling abroad with your baby or toddler
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