At The Portland Hospital, our consultants are often asked whether it’s safe to travel abroad during pregnancy. Generally speaking, it is perfectly safe for most women to travel abroad between weeks 12-34 of the pregnancy (12-32 for multiple expectancies).
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist from The Portland Hospital, Alison Wright, outlines a few things for mothers-to-be to consider before booking a holiday abroad.
Avoid travelling during the early stages of pregnancy
Careful planning is essential before you can even consider jetting away on holiday. Getting the timing right is crucial; travelling too early on into the pregnancy can cause problems. Mothers-to-be are at increased risk of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies within the first 12 weeks, whereas after this initial period, medical checks are usually required less frequently. The general consensus amongst medical professionals is that it is safest to travel during the second trimester of the pregnancy.
Take precautionary measures to avoid DVT
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition caused by dehydration and sitting for an extended period of time, such as when flying on a long-haul flight. With DVT, the blood thickens and clots more easily, which can pose serious health risks to mother and child. The risks of developing DVT can be dramatically reduced by avoiding long-haul flights altogether – pregnant women sitting in typical passenger jet conditions for periods of 8 hours or longer are 10 times more likely to develop the condition.
If long flights are unavoidable, it is advisable to avoid intake of any alcohol, keep hydrated by intaking plenty of liquids and to wear specialist stockings for the duration of the flight. Taking 75mg of aspirin before takeoff can also help.
Be wary of vaccinations
Disease protection is absolutely vital when travelling to some countries, but some vaccinations can pose risks to your unborn baby. Some vaccinations cannot actually be given during pregnancy, such as Rubella and German Measles, so you really need to think about suitable destinations before booking your trip. Destinations that require live virus vaccinations are unfortunately a no-go.
Stomach bugs are often unavoidable
In many foreign countries, stomach bugs are simply unavoidable for travellers. However, pregnant women need to be extra careful when suffering from such a condition, to ensure that they don’t become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause serious problems for your unborn child, so if you suffer from sickness and/or diahorrea whilst on holiday, make sure you intake plenty of sugary liquids, such as flat cola. You should also take simple measures to avoid contracting stomach bugs in the first place by avoiding uncooked foods and only drinking unopened bottled water.
If in doubt, seek the opinion of an expert
Although most women are perfectly fine to travel abroad during pregnancy, this isn’t the case for everyone. If you have existing medical conditions or if you have any doubts at all about you and your child’s safety whilst travelling abroad, you should seek medical advice before booking your trip.
Miss Alison Wright, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
Featured Image by Huffington Post