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Travel and Pregnancy: To do or not to do?

Travelling is stressful and with a little life fostering inside you, it is naturally more uneasy. Reach out to the people around you.

ET Spotlight|
Aug 19, 2019, 11.18 AM IST
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ET Spotlight
pregnancy and travel
Travel and pregnancy don't really go hand-in-hand. Pregnant women refrain from travelling, but here’s the thing: they don’t always have to! Whether it is travelling for work or for leisure, pregnancy can make you dicey about the whole trip.

However, if you want to combine travel with pregnancy, you need to know about these 11 basics:

1. Can you travel?
The first thing you should clear out is whether or not you can travel. If there is any medical complication, your doctor may not allow you to travel at all, forget high-altitude flights! Some airlines even need a medical confirmation; because running into labour at 30,000 feet above the ground is a scary scenario!

If you get a go-ahead from your doctor, the chances of medical emergencies are higher during the first and third trimester. So, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, between 14 and 28 weeks is the best time!

2. Hydrate yourself
The thumb rule here is - carry a minimum of 3 liters of stored water for a 24-hour flight. During pregnancy, you consume for two. However, higher altitudes and low cabin pressure can dehydrate your body. This can be compensated by drinking more water.

3. Take the aisle seats!
Good hydration leads to frequent urination. So, for the comfort of your co-passengers, choose an aisle seat. This also gives you more opportunity to stretch freely. It is very important for pregnant women to stretch their legs and back regularly.

4. Compression socks
Your blood flow is rather unstable during pregnancy. Flights and long travels can make this worse, leading to body ache. Compression socks are a no-drug way to smoothen blood circulation.
Restless leg syndrome, another common ailment among expecting mothers, can be dealt away with compression socks too.

5. Carry less!
You shouldn’t expect a glamorous vacation. You may need to repeat outfits, or at the best, colour coordinate within the limited options. As for toiletries, you should be able to buy them at your destination.

6. Expect nausea
Pregnancy brings nausea along for most women. There are medications that can help relieve the symptoms. Alternatively, you can go for mint tea or ginger candies. You may feel repelled by strong deodorants and perfumes, but essential oils can have the exact opposite effect. Keep these quick fixes in your carry-on, along with your other important documents.

7. Keep your inflight food simple
Salty food leads to fluid retention. Pregnant women often complain of uncomfortable swellings in their ankles and feet. The excess fluid retained (Thanks to the salt!) has the full potential to make the bloating worse. Your taste buds may also experience increased sensitivity. In that case, it is best to pre-book vegetarian meals. If they aren’t available, bring your own home-cooked nutritious food.

8. Inform your airline
Some women don’t show early. There are cases wherein the obvious “baby bump” was missing throughout. So, don’t leave your pregnancy for others to notice and assume. Inform the airline in advance. Also, make sure you have all the needed medical documents, which can support your claim on a special treatment if need be.

9. Check for vaccinations
Before your journey, you may be asked to get a few vaccines. Unless it is a regular flu shot or Tdap, this requirement should be taken as a red flag. Pre-vaccination is only necessary for heavily infested places. Pregnancy means increased vulnerability, and at the same time, increased responsibility. So, why risk your baby as well as your own health?

10. Sea bands
In case, you have planned a cruise ahead, do consult your doctor. They can prescribe precautionary medication for seasickness, like Dimenhydrinate or Diphenhydramine. However, if you want a drug-free option, go for a sea-band.
Sea bands work on the principles of acupressure. They apply optimum pressure around your wrist, which effectively combats nausea.

11. Avoid these common ailments
You may pull a ligament or two if you try lifting heavy luggage. You should ask the airport staff for help.
Jetlag shouldn’t be ignored either! Get enough sleep after you’ve landed. Also, coffee may have served you well during jetlag for all these years, but caffeine is a no-go during pregnancy! You may need to befriend green tea or healthier pro-biotics.

Conclusion:
Last but definitely not the least, don’t hesitate in asking for help. Travelling is stressful and with a little life fostering inside you, it is naturally more uneasy. Reach out to the people around you. Most importantly, accept that your womb will get you a lot more attention than usual. However, this can be used in your benefit.

Always remember: Pregnancy, despite being stressful, is a memorable journey. Travelling on its own! Thus, while you have already set foot in this impeccable journey, we recommend you consult your gynaecologist before planning your travel. At any given point of time, your travel shouldn't make things complicated. If you want to know the basic rights for pregnant women in India, read this.

(This article is generated and published by ET Spotlight team. You can get in touch with them on etspotlight@timesinternet.in)
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