Published on: Nov 17, 2020
Traveling while pregnant can be difficult due to risks and challenges involved, but you can make it safer through careful preparation. One of the reasons why pregnant women fear traveling is their prevalence of certain infections and the risk of developing severe complications that can affect childbirth. You can learn more about any possible risks by discussing your travel plans with a health care provider in a hospital or a travel clinic six months before your departure date.
You are at a lower risk if you travel between the 18th and 24th weeks of pregnancy because most of the obstetric emergencies are common in the first and third trimesters. Health care providers can help you make the right travel decision if you share some of the travel details with them. The information that you should provide includes the reason for travel, the length of the trip, the destinations in your trip, the planned activities, Any underlying medical condition or pregnancy complications, and the availability of medical care in the destination country.
Make sure that you have the right travel health insurance cover if you have to travel when pregnant. Have a closer look at your insurance policy and what it covers because most of the insurance policies avoid covering pregnancy-related conditions and other exceptional cases like hospital care for premature babies.
Women should also be careful about the vaccines they take during pregnancy. They should avoid live vaccines like measles, mumps and rubella, but inactivated vaccines like hepatitis B are safe to use.
Make sure that you get advice from your health care provider before getting vaccinated while pregnant. The health care will help you make an informed decision by evaluating factors such as your health status, the length of your trip, the destination country and the risk of contracting the disease.
A safety belt could cause health complications if not properly used. Ensure that you carefully place the straps above and below your stomach if you are using a diagonal shoulder strap with a lap belt. The safest way to use a lap belt if it is the only option available is by fastening at the pelvic area, below the stomach.
Air travel has no risk for pregnant women with no medical or obstetrical complications if they are within the 36 weeks gestation. Most airlines will restrict you from flying or may require a written confirmation from a doctor if you are in late pregnancy. Avoid last-minute disappointments by checking your preferred airline’s restrictions before you book your flight.
The most common risk for pregnant women during travel is developing blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). You can reduce the risk of DVT by stretching your legs while seated and by regularly getting up and walking around. Also, ensure that you have selected an aisle seat if possible and remember to wear loose clothing and comfortable footwear. Your doctor may even give you additional recommendations, such as wearing compression stockings, to reduce your risks.
Pregnant women who suspect that they may experience motion sickness during travel can use some of the medications used to treat vomiting and nausea during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor to learn more about the use of these medications.
The recreational activities you plan to engage in during your visit to Canada should be a subject of discussion with your health care provider, as some of them are not commendable or may need additional precautions.
Pregnant women should avoid altitudes above 12000 feet, and 8200 feet for high-risk pregnancies and women in their late stages of pregnancy. You should always remember that no doctor or medical facility is available in most of the high-altitude destinations. Remember to inform your medical practitioner if you plan to visit a high-altitude destination during your travel.
You should be cautious with how you handle food and should not ignore safe food and water precautions when pregnant. Most of the water and food-borne illnesses can be more severe for pregnant women and may extend the risk to the unborn baby. Some of these diseases include hepatitis E, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis.
Remember to regularly wash your hands when handling food and when eating, plus the other hand washing hygiene practices like washing hands after using the bathroom, after having contact with animals and sick people, after changing diapers, and many more.
It is also important to boil or disinfect drinking water if it is not in a commercially sealed bottle. Avoid extended use of iodine water purifiers because it can lead to the thyroid problems for the unborn baby and new-borns. You should also avoid raw/undercooked meat and fish (including shellfish) as well as any unpasteurized dairy products.
Protect yourself from insect-related diseases by reducing the chances of getting insect bites through the use of bed nets, protective clothing and insect repellents. You should also avoid coming into contact with animals like dogs, birds, monkeys, bats, rodents and snakes.
You can pack additional items such as hemorrhoid cream, yeast infection medications and prenatal vitamins to supplement the items listed in the travel health kit. Your health care professionals will advise you more about the things you may need according to your health needs.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms during travel: Vaginal bleeding, dehydration, persistent diarrhoea or vomiting, abdominal pains, or cramps. Other complications to look out for include contractions, passing tissue or clots, excessive leg swelling or pain, severe headaches or visual problems, and if your water breaks. Ensure that you see a healthcare provider and inform them about your recent travel if you experience any of the above symptoms after returning to your home country.
Traveling while pregnant can be safe if you familiarize yourself with potential risks. If you take necessary precautions with the assistance of your doctor, airline staff and travel companions, you should reduce the likelihood of experiencing issues during your trip to Canada.
If you hold a passport from a country that is eligible for the Canada eTA such as the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, or many other eTA eligible countries, you will need to obtain an approved eTA before your tourism, business or medical visit to Canada. Get started on your application, otherwise, visit the eTA requirements to learn more about the Canada eTA