Take Precautions When You Travel

You shouldn’t have to stay at home base because you’re pregnant. If you’re planning to travel, be sure to get your healthcare provider's OK before you leave.

Before you travel, find the name of a local healthcare provider, hospital, or clinic at your destination. Pack a copy of your medical history, enough prenatal vitamins, and comfortable shoes in case your feet swell. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids on your trip.  

Tips for air travel

Did you know that the sun and stars give off radiation? At high altitudes – such as those in airplanes – radiation levels are higher than they are on the ground. Radiation poses very little risk to occasional fliers, even those who are pregnant. But mothers-to-be who are frequent travelers or who work for an airline should be aware of the risk. Too much radiation could harm your unborn baby.

If you’re traveling by air, wear your seat belt during the flight. This can keep you secure if you experience turbulence. Put the belt low on your hipbones, between your belly and pelvis. 

Try to limit your intake of foods that produce gas and carbonated beverages before boarding a flight. The higher altitudes of air travel cause gas in your stomach to expand. This can cause discomfort. When it's safe to get up, try to walk every couple of hours during long flights. Make sure you’re drinking enough water to stay hydrated. Dehydration, low humidity in airplanes, and staying in one position increase your risk for swelling. This can lead to a blood clot. Wearing support stockings can help. Try to get an aisle seat so you can stretch your legs often and use the restroom.

Talk with your healthcare provider

If you’re in the skies a lot, talk with your healthcare provider. Changing your work schedule or tracking the altitude and distance of your flights may help you stay within safe radiation limits.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPHFoley, Maryann, RN, BSN

Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.