Travelling when pregnant | Sanitas magazine

Important points for travel and holidays

Important points for travel and holidays

Travel during pregnancy shouldn’t be a problem. It’s best to plan holidays in the second trimester, when any morning sickness should have passed and your energy levels will be high. Here are some points to think about:

Activities: Plan your holidays to avoid risks or excessive physical exertion. The following activities are not recommended:

  • water slides
  • paragliding
  • mountain hikes
  • sauna and jacuzzi (could cause overheating and circulatory problems)

Time: Stress and a hectic pace are the last things you need on a relaxing holiday and can harm your unborn child, so it’s important to plan sufficient time for all your activities and to take time to rest.

Insurance: Before travelling, check your health and accident insurance for cover abroad.

Medical certificate: Contact your airline for their regulations regarding flying during pregnancy. This is important, because some airlines won’t take pregnant women from a specific stage of pregnancy. Others require a medical certificate (usually from the 28th week of pregnancy) confirming that the pregnancy is progressing normally. The certificate should also indicate the expected delivery date.

Vaccinations: Depending on where you’re travelling to, you may need one or more vaccinations. Contact your doctor for more information.

Fungal infections: You are particularly susceptible to fungal infections during pregnancy. And hot, damp climates exacerbate the problem. Wear cotton clothes and leave your tight jeans or nylon tights at home. To be on the safe side, you should take a tube of antifungal ointment or a pack of antifungal vaginal suppositories. Ask your doctor to prescribe medication that can be safely taken during pregnancy.

Luggage: Take a trolley bag to ensure you have to carry as little as possible.

Security checks: Current findings indicate that the x-ray machines are not harmful for your unborn child. However, pregnant women can refuse this check and have a pat-down search instead.

Risk of thrombosis: Talk to your doctor before embarking on a longer flight or road trip, because the risk of thrombosis is higher during pregnancy.

Medical support stockings: Medical support stockings can help prevent thrombosis.

Food: It’s advisable to eat only a light meal before taking a trip by plane or boat, because you may be more susceptible to nausea while pregnant.

Fruit and snacks: Always carry fruit (healthy!) or snacks such as muesli bars or chocolate (one piece is enough) to top up your energy levels between main meals.

Drinks: Make sure you drink plenty of water while travelling by plane or boat to prevent dehydration in the dry cabin air. Rule of thumb: half a litre for each hour of travel.

Nausea: If you quickly feel sick, it is advisable to take a night flight.

Exercise: There is generally a higher risk of thrombosis during pregnancy. Make sure you don’t sit still too long and stand up and walk a few paces at least once an hour. When sitting, wiggle your toes now and again, stretch your calves and don’t sit with your legs crossed or tucked underneath you for longer periods.

Booking a seat: It’s best to book an aisle seat so you can move your legs more easily and can get up to go to the toilet with a minimum of fuss.

Safety belt: Wear the belt either below or above your bump, but not directly across it.

Malaria: Avoid areas in which you could come into contact with malaria or other infectious tropical diseases.

Medical care: Choose destinations and itineraries where you have access to good medical care.

Altitude: If you choose to holiday in the mountains in your final trimester, don’t go higher than 2,500 metres above sea level.