Travel for Two–The Pregnant Traveller

by | Dec 9, 2017

Travelling while pregnant
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Last updated on April 24th, 2022

© Odua Images / Adobe Stock

There’s good news, ladies. Perhaps travel for pregnant females was frowned upon in our grandmothers’ time. But today, with proper awareness and attitude, women can generally travel right up to their 35th week of pregnancy. Flying, trekking or being on the road for an extended period of time can be perfectly O.K. Pregnant women needn’t ever stop being Journey women as long as they check with their physicians or midwives for healthy guidelines

The following is our mini-anthology of helpful hints, quotes, and quips relating to “travelling with tummy”. Whether you’re a Journeymother-to-be, a concerned future Grandmama or simply a travellin’ woman contemplating motherhood, we hope this information helps!

Top Twelve Pregnancy Pointers

Pregnant Woman

  • Don’t put off for tomorrow what you absolutely must do today. Try to have at least your first prenatal checkup before you travel. Your doctor or midwife is the best person to consult with regarding your upcoming journey.
  • You should check your airlines’ rules about pregnant passengers before you book your ticket. Most airlines will allow you to fly up to the 35th or 36th week of your pregnancy, providing you’re healthy and there is no previous history of premature labour. However rules do vary so it makes sense to re-check at the time of booking. You could also be asked to supply a letter from your doctor verifying the stage of your pregnancy. It’s a good idea to carry this document along with your other important travel papers.
  • Check your travel insurance policy carefully to make sure that you’ll be covered for all eventualities. Most policies don’t automatically cover pregnancy-related conditions or nursery care for premature infants.
  • Most, but not all, vaccines are considered safe during pregnancy. Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you’ll require specialist advice. In Canada, an organization called Motherisk will answer any questions you might have about appropriate drugs and immunization. Call (416) 813-6780 or visit their website at: In the United States, pregnant women traveling to less developed countries should consult The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at (404) 639-3311 or on the web for country-specific information.
  • If possible, avoid travelling in malarial zones. Even while taking anti-malarial drugs, pregnant women are more liable to catch the disease, and the illness tends to be more severe.
  • Dreaming of finally climbing that mountain? Especially if you’re in the first trimester of your pregnancy, avoid high-altitude destinations, where oxygen to the fetus could be decreased.
  • According to Dr. Jane Wilson Howarth in her book, Bugs, Bites, and Bowels, the safest time to travel seems to be during the second three months of pregnancy. Providing your pregnancy has been problem-free, the risk of miscarriage will be small and there is little chance of early labour or other complications.
  • Pamper yourself. When planning your holiday, avoid too hectic a pace. It’s very wise to build in extra rest stops while you’re on the road. Remember, your body is busy nurturing a baby, and the extra effort of travel makes it work even harder.
  • It isn’t always easy to eat properly when travelling. Constipation can become a problem, especially if you’re taking iron supplements. Try to eat plenty of high-fiber foods, like fruits and vegetables.
  • Where the quality of water supplies is less than perfect, the pregnant traveller should avoid using iodine to purify her water. Iodine could have an adverse effect on the fetal thyroid.
  • In developing countries, pasteurized milk is often difficult to find. You should take powdered milk with you if you want to ensure that you get enough calcium. It can be mixed into or sprinkled over most foods.
  • For coping with morning sickness, ginger is an excellent remedy. Crystallized forms can be found in the baking section of most supermarkets. Otherwise, raw root ginger can be found just about anywhere in the world and can be grated into your food in small amounts.

Baby words to make you smile…

Box With X

The reason most people have kids is because they get pregnant.
(Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees)

Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
(Elizabeth Stone, The Village Voice)

Home alone with a wakeful newborn, I could shower so quickly that the mirror didn’t fog and the backs of my knees stayed dry.
(Marni Jackson, The Mother Zone)

(Source: The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women, Rosalie Maggio)

For baby and you…

Keep hydrated.
Take a big bottle of water (16-24 oz.) with you on the plane. Also, with many airlines cutting back on the food and snack service they provide, it’s important to take along a lot of healthy snacks. Good ones are bagels, dried fruit, popcorn (unsalted) and pretzels.
(Source: Kathy Loebel, Advisory Panel, Pregnancy Today)

Wrong place, wrong time…
Should you go into labor on a plane, depending on how long the flight is, you may ask for an emergency landing. After you’ve landed, ask to be taken to a level three hospital, or tertiary center, with OB services. And, if you go into labor while staying at a hotel, your concierge should have the name of the closest tertiary center with OB services.
(Source: Kathy Loebel, Advisory Panel, Pregnancy Today)

Bathroom breaks…
Pregnant women who fly might want to reserve an aisle seat since they will need to get up to use the bathroom and to walk around much more often than normal.

Buckle Up…
On a car trip, [or during a flight] it is, of course, vital to wear a seat belt and pregnant women should feel absolutely no fear that this will constrict the fetus.

Not All Diarrhea Medicines Are Equal…
Traveler’s Diarrhea is a common stomach problem that occurs to travelers in foreign countries. It is not life-threatening but can be very uncomfortable and inconvenient. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends: “It is best to consult a physician rather than attempt self-medication, especially for pregnant women and children.” Many over-the-counter diarrhea medicines are not recommended for pregnant women. So check! check! check!

Pregnant Yes…Alcohol No…
Since drinking alcohol is an accepted and expected part of many peoples’ vacations, pregnant women must be prepared to be firm and refuse drinks, even if they are guests in a local’s house.

Avoid Skiing Holidays…
Pregnant women should maintain the same level of fitness as before pregnancy, on vacation as well. If you were a hiker or swimmer before becoming pregnant, these activities are perfectly safe as long as over-exertion is avoided. Downhill skiing is not advisable, though.

Editor’s Note: Elisa All is the editor of both Pregnancy Today, the magazine as well as, a wonderful Internet resource for moms-to-be. Elisa graciously contributed the above tidbits from her site as well as excerpts from a recently published article entitled, “Have Tummy Will Travel.”

Mother words to make you smile…

My mother phones daily to ask, “Did you just try to reach me?” When I reply, “No,” she adds, “So, if you’re not too busy, call me while I’m still alive,” and hangs up.
(Source: Era Bombeck, The 1992 Erma Bombeck Calendar)

No – No Countries…
The highest risk areas for malaria are Africa, the Pacific Islands and parts of South East Asia around Vietnam and Cambodia. The Indian subcontinent including Nepal and Peru are areas where travellers suffer from filth-to-mouth diseases like diarrhea and Hepatitis A and E. Pregnant women should avoid unnecessary travel to these regions.
(Source: Dr. Jane Wilson Howarth, Author of Bugs, Bites, and Bowels)

No Sushi Tonight, Dear!
According to Pregnancy Fit Magazine, expectant moms should stay away from brie, sushi and herbal teas anywhere in the world. Underlying bacteria in these three foods products can be hazardous to pregnant women and their developing fetuses.

Not always what it seems…

Am I pregnant?…
“I was travelling …when my periods stopped I began to worry. I knew I couldn’t be pregnant, but couldn’t think of any explanation for what was happening. Luckily I bumped into two women nurses returning home overland who had had the same experience. They said it was a common occurrence; it’s just our bodies’ way of recognizing that now would be the wrong time to get pregnant.”
(Source: The Handbook for Women Travellers, Maggie, and Gemma Moss)

Chinese Brides Must Avoid Eggplant!

Chinese grandmothers say that certain foods must definitely be avoided at a Chinese wedding banquet. The bride cannot eat any form of eggplant as that can result in sterility. And, the groom must be careful not to eat pig’s brains because that delicacy can produce male impotence. And, providing all goes well and she becomes pregnant, mama-to-be must avoid eating both rabbit and chicken or her baby will be born with a hoarse voice.

Evelyn started Journeywoman in 1994, and unknowingly became the world's first female travel blogger. She inspired a sisterhood of women, a grassroots movement, to inspire women to travel safely and well, and to connect women travellers around the world. She passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on.


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