Is travel safe during pregnancy?
In most cases, pregnant women can travel safely until close to their due dates. But travel may not be recommended for women who have pregnancy complications. If you are planning a trip, talk with your obstetrician–gynecologist (ob-gyn) or other health care professional. And no matter how you choose to travel, think ahead about your comfort and safety.
What should I know about travel and the coronavirus?
Before making any plans to travel while coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading, talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional. Together you can talk about whether your travel is essential or could be avoided. If it is essential that you travel, together you can make a plan to help you minimize risk.
For more information, visit the COVID-19 travel website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. You also can read about COVID-19 and pregnancy at www.acog.org/COVID-pregnancy.
When is the best time to travel during pregnancy?
The best time to travel is mid-pregnancy (14 to 28 weeks). During these weeks, your energy has returned, morning sickness is improved or gone, and you are still able to get around easily. After 28 weeks, it may be harder to move around or sit for a long time.
Should I talk with my ob-gyn before a trip?
Yes, talk about your travel plans with your ob-gyn or other health care professional. You can discuss whether it is safe for you to travel. Travel is not recommended for women with certain complications, including
prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM)
Should I have a check-up before a trip?
Yes, you should have a prenatal check-up before you leave. At this visit, your ob-gyn or other health care professional can confirm your due date. You also may talk about whether you are up-to-date on vaccinations and symptoms to watch for while traveling.
Why is it important to know my due date before traveling?
If something goes wrong while you are away, your caregivers will need to know how far along you are and any other important information about your pregnancy. If you’ll be going far from home, take a copy of your health record with you.
Why would my ob-gyn check my vaccinations before travel?
Your ob-gyn or other health care professional may want to double-check that your vaccines are up to date, even if you reviewed them at an earlier prenatal visit. Also, you may need additional vaccines depending on where you are going.
What symptoms should I watch for while traveling?
Some symptoms could signal a health problem. Go to a hospital or call emergency medical services right away if you have any of the following:
Pelvic or abdominal pain or contractions
Rupture of the membranes (your “water breaks”)
Signs and symptoms of preeclampsia (headache that will not go away, seeing spots or other changes in eyesight, swelling of the face or hands)
Severe vomiting or diarrhea
Signs of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) (see Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis)
What should I know about deep vein thrombosis and preventing blood clots?
DVT is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the veins, usually in the leg. DVT can lead to a dangerous condition called pulmonary embolism. This is when a blood clot travels to the lungs. Research shows that any type of travel lasting 4 hours or more—whether by car, train, bus, or plane—doubles the risk of DVT. Being pregnant is an extra risk factor for DVT.
If you are planning a long trip, take the following steps to reduce your risk of DVT:
Drink lots of fluids without caffeine.
Wear loose-fitting clothing.
Walk and stretch at regular intervals.
Special stockings that compress the legs, either below the knee or full length, also can be worn to help prevent blood clots from forming. Talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional before you try these stockings. Some people should not wear them (for example, those with diabetes mellitus and other circulation problems). Also, compression stockings can increase the risk of DVT if they are too tight or worn incorrectly.
What are some ways to make car trips safer?
When taking a car trip, keep in mind the shortest route is often the best. Make each day’s drive as brief as possible. You also can follow these tips:
Wear your seat belt at all times. The belt should sit low on your hip bones, below your belly.
Plan to make frequent stops. Use these stops to move around and stretch your legs.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that is not too tight.
Wear a few layers of light clothing that can easily be added or removed.
Eat regular meals to boost your energy.
Drink extra fluids. Take water with you. You may need to pee more often—don’t hold it too long.
See Car Safety for Pregnant Women, Babies, and Children for more advice.
Is air travel safe during pregnancy?
For healthy pregnant women, occasional air travel is almost always safe. Most airlines allow pregnant women to fly domestically until about 36 weeks of pregnancy. Your ob-gyn or other health care professional can provide proof of your due date if you need it. If you are planning an international flight, the cut-off for traveling may be earlier. Check with your airline.
When should I not fly?
Avoid flying if you have a medical or pregnancy condition that may be made worse by flying or could require emergency medical care. Keep in mind that most common pregnancy emergencies usually happen in the first and third trimesters.
Are plane cabins safe for pregnant women?
Yes. Lower air pressure during a flight may slightly reduce the amount of oxygen in your blood, but your body will adjust. Radiation exposure increases at higher altitudes, but the level of exposure isn’t a concern for pregnant women. If you are a frequent flier, talk with your ob-gyn or other health care professional about how much flying is safe for you.
How can I make plane travel more comfortable?
Book an aisle seat if you can. This will make it easier to get up and stretch your legs during a long flight.
Avoid gas-producing carbonated drinks before or during your flight. Gas expands at high altitude and can cause discomfort. Drink water instead.
Wear your seat belt at all times. Turbulence can happen without warning during air travel. The belt should sit low on your hip bones, below your belly.
Move your feet, toes, and legs often. Get up and walk around a few times during your flight.