Being pregnant does not mean you can’t go on holiday for the whole 9 months of your term, but it does mean that you should take a little extra care when making plans, to ensure both the comfort and protection of you and your unborn baby. Here is a quick guide to the various issues you will need to think about when you are planning any trips, whether it is a holiday abroad or a visit to family or friends.
* Medical Care – even if you are undergoing a fairly normal pregnancy there is always a risk of complications, so you should ensure that you have access to adequate medical care when you need it. Check that your travel insurance covers pregnancy related treatment, as a lot of insurance companies will not automatically cover women after their 27th week of pregnancy. Make sure you have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are travelling through Europe during your trip as this entitles you to routine maternity care in all of the 27 EEA countries and also Switzerland. Also you will need to check the medical facilities in the destination you are travelling too, as some hospitals/medical centres can be a long distance from tourist resorts. If you have experienced any complications so far in your pregnancy and you are still intending to travel it can be a good idea to take a copy of your medical records with you, and it is also worth learning a few key phrases or finding out if there are any interpreter services in the area you are visiting, in case you need help explaining any symptoms or problems.
* Vaccinations – it is not recommended that you have vaccinations during pregnancy, so if possible avoid travelling to tropical or subtropical destinations where vaccinations are necessary. If however you still intend to travel to destinations that require vaccinations then discuss this thoroughly with your doctor, who will weight up the benefits and risks to both you and your unborn child. * Malaria is a serious disease and is widespread in tropical and subtropical areas and can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, still-birth and maternal death. Although anti-malarial drugs are not thought to be dangerous for pregnant women, the risk of getting malaria is still high, as repressed immunity during pregnancy can leave both the mother and baby more vulnerable to contracting severe parasitic diseases. You should try and avoid any countries that have a risk of malaria. * Air Travel - it is safer to travel by air in the second trimester, and International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines advise that you cease air travel after your 36th week to avoid risk of premature birth and other complications. If you are getting big and are well into your 28th week then you should take a letter from your maternity service showing the intended delivery date, as some airlines may query this when you are checking in for your own safety. It is not though that frequent flying during the first stages of pregnancy is dangerous to either you or your baby, but it is important to that you drink plenty of water and make sure you get up and stretch your legs regularly as the babies weight can make you more prone to circulatory problems during long flights. Morning sickness can also make you more prone to travel sickness, and as many travel sickness medications are not recommended during pregnancy you will only be able to try alternative remedies such as acupuncture bands (sea bands) or ginger tea.
* Car Travel - try not to drive long distances yourself, as the driving position can be very uncomfortable and long drives can be very tiring. Even if you are a passenger make sure you have regular breaks, at least every 2 hours and get out of the car and walk around for a few minutes to get your circulation going again. Make sure your seat and seatbelt are adjusted properly and wear loose comfortable clothes. Also make sure you have plenty to eat and drink during the road trip to keep your energy levels up.
* Sun - if you are going somewhere hot then remember that during pregnancy your skin becomes much more sensitive and prone to burning. Make sure you buy a strong sun cream and apply it regularly throughout the day, and you may need a sun block for vulnerable places such as your face, neck and chest.
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