Disclaimer: This post is based on my personal tips that I have found helpful when travelling while pregnant. Always consult healthcare and insurance experts for advice on your own individual situation.
My baby is now one week old, and it’s good to go back to the lovely times of being pregnant. During my pregnancy, I travelled to Sweden, Denmark, Gran Canaria, Latvia and Lithuania, and since this was my first pregnancy, I was so unsure of so many things. What if I get complications? Can I drink local tap water? What foods should I avoid? What kind of rules do airlines have for pregnant passengers? I can’t cover all possible questions but here are my 9 need-to-know tips for travelling while pregnant.
What’s the best time to travel while pregnant?
You should consider airline restrictions, your symptoms and the phase of your pregnancy when deciding what’s the best time to travel. Although you can travel during any trimester, usually the second trimester is the easiest in terms of symptoms and the energy peak you might have.
Most airlines require a doctor’s certificate if you travel past your 28-week mark. Usually, airlines don’t allow pregnant passengers past the 36th or 38th week. Also, take into account the weeks when you need to take your important ultrasounds. In Finland, where I am from, you’ll need to take a blood test that screens for abnormalities on week 10, and you have two important ultrasounds on weeks 12 and 20. I wanted to wait for the ultrasound results before booking a new trip. It would have been horrible to find out that something is wrong with the baby and have flights booked for the next day or for the near future.
Where to travel while pregnant?
You can in theory travel anywhere while pregnant. However, it’s recommended to avoid countries with malaria or the Zika virus. I wanted to play it safe and only travelled in Europe. We as EU citizens are entitled to a European Health Insurance card that allows us to receive medically necessary treatment when we travel to another EU or EEA country, and this includes treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth. This adds an extra layer of safety and gives peace of mind.
I would recommend travelling only to countries that have high-quality healthcare – this is more important the further you are in your pregnancy. Just for my own safety, I would not travel to countries that don’t allow you to terminate the pregnancy if the mother’s life and health are at risk.
Check what your travel insurance covers
Contact your insurance provider and check if your travel insurance covers treatment related to pregnancy. I bought travel insurance for my unborn child for 20 euros per year and that covered any treatment related to pregnancy and possible childbirth.
Make travelling while pregnant as comfortable as you can
If you in any way can, pick only direct flights with comfortable flight times. Make sure that you don’t need to rush with transits. I would rather spend an extra hour at the airport resting than rushing my way through the terminal carrying tons of luggage.
Get yourself an aisle seat. That allows you to stand up, stretch and use lavatories as much as you like. I also recommend using decompression socks to avoid blood clots.
Snacks, snacks, snacks
Hunger is a serious matter when you’re pregnant. Always pack snacks with you: nuts, fruits, sandwiches, dried fruits, and protein bars should do the trick. And don’t forget water!
Good hygiene and food restrictions
Pregnant moms want to avoid germs, so arm yourself up with hand sanitisers, wipes and masks. Always wash your hands before eating or after using the bathroom. Follow the food restrictions for expecting mothers. I followed the Finnish restriction list while overseas but I know that some moms also check the local restrictions and follow both. If I was unsure, I ordered only chicken, pork or vegetarian dishes that I knew were 100 % cooked.
Be kind to yourself. Choose your clothes, especially shoes, with comfort in mind. Walking while pregnant is tiring, so take breaks after an hour or two. You don’t need to explore all attractions in one day and sometimes it’s totally fine to skip dinner and opt for sleeping in early instead. I know, sometimes you struggle with the fear of missing out but the time will come when you can explore a new city for 12 hours straight. Listen to yourself and to what your body tells you, and in this way, you will make travelling while pregnant more pleasant for you and for your precious unborn cargo.
Do you have any tips on travelling while pregnant? Share them in the comments!