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MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
TRAVELING DURING PREGNANCY
& With Kids




GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS DURING PREGNANCY

As a rule, travel does not usually adversely affect pregnancy. Here are some important things for expectant moms to consider. Assuming your pregnancy is uncomplicated, some suggestions about travel include:

If possible, plan your trip for the second trimester of pregnancy (14 to 28 weeks). Most women feel most comfortable at this stage of pregnancy. By the time the second trimester occurs many women are past the morning sickness phase of early pregnancy. During late pregnancy, it is often harder to move around or sit for long periods of time. The risk of miscarriage is greatest during the first trimester and in the third trimester, early labor (preterm is labor that starts before the 37th week of pregnancy) could begin. Avoid travel if you have a threatened miscarriage or a history of miscarriage. The biggest factor is to follow your own intuition and your body's signals. How you feel is one of the best guides to your well-being and your safety. This is true whether you are traveling or staying at home.

Consider your prenatal test schedule when planning a trip. Time your travel around any prenatal tests you want or need to schedule. The following tests are typically performed during the specified weeks of pregnancy: chorionic villus sampling (CVS) (10 to 12 weeks); amniocentesis (15 to 18 weeks); multiple marker screening (15 to 20 weeks); ultrasound (16 to 20 weeks); glucose screening test (GCT) (24 to 28 weeks); group B strep screening (35 to 37 weeks). (And if you are Rh-negative, you will may your shot of Rh immunoglobulin at 28 weeks.) If you decide to have one or more of these tests, allow time to get the results - and strategize next steps, if appropriate - before leaving on an extended trip.

Gather your medical records and vital health information. Before you leave, prepare a list of key names and phone numbers you will need in case of emergency and pack it in your carry-on luggage. If you are in your second or third trimester, bring along a copy of your prenatal chart, too, and keep it with you at all times during your trip. The chart should include your age, your last menstrual period, your due date, the number and outcomes of any prior pregnancies, your risk factors for disease, pregnancy-related lab tests and ultrasounds, your medical and surgical history, and a flow sheet of vital signs taken at each visit. If you're planning an extended visit, have your midwife or healthcare provider refer you to someone in the area for check-ups or emergencies.

Drink and eat to comfort. Prepare and bring some healthy, nutritious snacks to nibble on. If you are traveling in the summer, keep in mind the summertime heat. Drinking plenty of water is especially important. As midwives and health care providers, we often see women in the summertime having problems with pre-term contractions simply because they don't drink enough fluids. At least 8-10 glasses of water a day will help keep you well hydrated. It is helpful if you keep a bottle of water with you at all times, whether you are traveling or out sight-seeing.

Dress comfortably and move frequently. Avoid sitting for many hours without getting up and moving around. Bring along a pillow for extra comfort.

Get up and stretch and go to the bathroom every few hours. Travel in pregnancy is completely safe and sometimes unavoidable. By using these helpful tips, you should be able to enjoy the ride! Empty your bladder frequently to keep you comfortable and so as to avoid an increased risk of bladder infections caused by retained urine.

Do not take any anti-nausea travel medications (or any other medications) without your midwife's or health care provider's approval. If you are on medication for any purpose, make sure you take your medication as scheduled and you have a plentiful supply to last you for your trip or as long as you are required to take it. Carry a record of your medical and prenatal history with you. You can obtain a copy of your prenatal record from your midwife or health care provider to take with you, just in case you may need medical attention while you are away from home.

Avoid travel to areas at high altitudes. You may feel short of breath at higher altitudes and it will take you a few days to adjust. Whether you are on the road or flying in an unpressurized plane, you should avoid altitudes greater than 7,000 feet in small planes. Planes of major airlines are pressurized, meaning the air in the cabin has more oxygen than the air outside.

When choosing a method of travel, think about how long the trip will take. Usually, the quickest way is the best. No matter how you travel, take extra steps to ensure you are comfortable and safe.





FOREIGN TRAVEL

If you are planning a trip out of the country, discuss it with your midwife or health care provider before calling the travel agent. He or she can help you decide if foreign travel is safe for you. Your midwife or health care provider also can help you figure out what steps to take before your trip.

Avoid making traveling plans to areas where certain vaccinations (that may be hazardous during pregnancy) would be necessary. Be sure to check with your midwife or health care provider before taking any vaccinations.

If you need to go somewhere that require vaccinations, you will need to obtain them prior to pregnancy or postpone your trip until after you deliver your baby. Plan ahead and allow plenty of time to get any vaccinations you may need. Also be sure to get a copy of your health record to take with you.

When you are planning your trip, call the International Travelers Hotline at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This service has safety tips and up-to-date vaccination facts for many countries. The number is (404) 332-4559. The CDC web site (www.cdc.gov) also has world travel health facts.

DISEASE PREVENTION

A disease that's rare in the United States may be common in other areas. As a result, some countries require visitors to get vaccinations before they travel there. Find out before your trip which shots you may need.

Malaria is an infection passed on by mosquito bites. It causes anemia (iron-poor blood) and flu-like symptoms. In pregnant women, it can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, small babies, and other problems. You can help avoid mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and using mosquito netting and bug sprays or lotion. No drug fully protects you from malaria. A drug called chloroquine can help prevent and treat it, though. It is safe for use during pregnancy. You must start taking it a few weeks before you travel and keep taking it for a few weeks after the trip is over. There is no other safe drug that prevents malaria.

It's best to get vaccines before you get pregnant. You can't always plan that far ahead, though. Discuss the vaccines you need with your midwife or health care provider.

UNSAFE FOOD & WATER

Traveling to other countries means you may be exposed to other kinds of germs. The locals are used to the organisms in the food and water. They can make you ill. This is true whether you are staying in a city or a rural area.

Traveler's diarrhea may be a minor problem to someone who is not pregnant. It is a greater concern for you, though. Severe dehydration can rob your baby of needed fluid and nutrients. Talk with your midwife or health care provider about using medicine to prevent diarrhea.

If you do get diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids to combat dehydration. Before taking a diarrhea treatment, check with a health care provider or midwife to make sure it's safe. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid unsafe food and water. Be sure to:
  • Drink only pure bottled water, bottled or canned juices and soft drinks, pasteurized dairy products, hot tea, or broth. Iodine used to purify water may not be safe for pregnant women.
  • Do not put ice in your drinks. Do not drink out of glasses that may have been washed in impure water. Drink straight from the bottle or use paper cups.
  • Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or peeled.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish.

MEDICAL CARE

Even if you are in perfect health before going on a trip, you never know when an emergency will arise. Before leaving home, locate the nearest hospital or medical clinic in the place you are visiting. To find a medical practitioner there, call the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers at (716) 754-4883 or check with the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org or look in your phone book for the number of your local chapter).

If you need to see a health care provider who does not speak English, it is a good idea to have a foreign language dictionary with you. After you arrive, register with your country's embassy or consulate. This will help if you need to leave the country because of an emergency.





TRAVELING BY AUTOMOBILE - ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

For short trips, a car can be a good way to travel. Try to make each day's drive brief. Spending long hours on the road is tiring even when you are not pregnant. No more than 5 or 6 hours of driving/riding each day should be your target.

If you are driving alone, be prepared that you might get sleepy faster than usual. If you begin to feel sleepy, find a safe place to pull over and take a nap. A cat-nap of even 15 or 20 minutes can be a huge help! Do not fall asleep at the wheel and risk a serious accident.

Stop every hour or two and get out of your car and walk around to stretch your legs and help to keep swelling down in your feet and ankles. Plan out possible bathroom and meal breaks along the way. If it is a long road trip, if you start feeling unwell or you feel crampy, stop and consider getting a motel room for the night. (In moving from one coast to another, it took my daughter (who was pregnant with my grandson and near her due date) and myself 10 days to get from Los Angeles, California to Salem, Massachusetts. She kept having minor labor contractions while traveling across country and we had to stop frequently. Sometimes we managed 400 miles, other times less than 100 miles before we had to pull over and get a motel room. My grandson was born 3 weeks after arriving in Massachusetts. - MoonDragon Midwife)

SEAT BELT USE

The use of seat belts is recommended to decrease maternal and fetal trauma in the event of a motor vehicle accident and should be used every time you ride in a car or truck, even if it has an air bag. Keep your seat as far back from the dashboard as you can (at least 10 inches if possible). women should not have their air bags turned off because they are pregnant. According to ACOG, the benefits of an air bag outweigh the risks to a pregnant woman and her baby. If you get into a crash, even a minor fender-denter be sure to be seen by your midwife or health care provider to make sure you and your baby are doing fine.

Use a diagonal shoulder strap and a lab belt. The diagonal strap should pass over the shoulder and across the chest between the breasts, never under your arm. The lap strap should be buckled low on your hipbones, across the upper thighs. The straps should be above and below the "bump" of pregnancy, not over it. Be sure the belts fit snugly. Pull any slack out of the belt.

The upper part of the belt should cross your shoulder without chafing your neck. Never slip the upper part of the belt off your shoulder. Safety belts worn too loosely or too high on the belly can cause broken ribs or injuries to your belly. More damage is caused when they are not used at all.

ROAD TRIP TIPS (ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN ON YOUR TRIP)

Whether you are embarking on an adventure across country or simply traveling to visit relatives for a holiday gathering, chances are a road trip is in your future. But logging long miles in the car can be exhausting for everyone, from uncomfortable moms-to-be (make sure your chosen route has plenty of bathrooms) to cranky babies and active preschoolers tired of being cooped up.

Safety First: Before you hit the road, make sure your child's car seat is properly secured; up to 70 percent of car seats are not installed correctly. Pack plenty of water, a first aid kit, and a flashlight (in case you break down at night). Call to make sure your road assistance plan is up-to-date. And take along a phone charger for the car so your cell phone will be fully juiced in case of an emergency. Finally, remember to get enough sleep the night before. While it is good for children to be well rested before a trip, it is imperative that you be. Sleep deprivation makes for frazzled nerves and unsafe driving.

Plan Ahead: A week before your departure, list everything you will need to take and start gathering it right away. If you can, take at least a half-day off work before you leave to give yourself more time to pack. If you have more than one child, consider renting a minivan (reserve well in advance, especially during the summer). You won't waste time trying to squeeze all of your gear into the trunk, and you will have more flexibility about where everyone sits. To maximize seating options, take your own car seats with you, even if you get a van with those cool built-ins. Little bottoms can get sore when they are in one seat for too long, and it is great to be able to pull over at a rest stop and let the children switch.

Pack Strategically; Pack everything you want easy access to on the road separately so you are not forced to dig around in your suitcase en route. Jackets and hats, for example, should be within easy reach. And keep basic supplies such as sunscreen and mosquito repellent in a separate bag so you can take advantage of opportunities for outdoor fun along the way. If you are heading to a warm climate, toss in a beach bag with swimsuits and towels - you never know when you might stumble on a great swimming hole! It is also a great idea to have a change of clothes handy for you and your kids in case of an unexpected mess.

Plan Your Travel Time Wisely: Planning your travel time around your child's sleep schedule is really helpful. It helps in the stress and annoyance of bored and fussy kids. Schedule your departure to ensure your children catch some quality zzz's on the road. If you leave a bit before lunchtime, you can let your kids eat in the car (it will keep them occupied and you can make it into a fun treat if this isn't your usual routine). Then they will nod off in no time, and you can log some serious miles in peace. Try not to stop the car while your child is sleeping - it is a surefire way of waking up the kids.

Bedtime Travel Option; Some folks travel at their children's bedtime: They put the pajama-clad kids in their car seats and go. This works if you are not too tired to drive late at night, and if you are reasonably sure your children will stay asleep once you arrive. This tactic really depends on your child - if it backfires, you can end up with a wide-awake toddler at midnight.

Stop At Regular Intervals: The beauty of a road trip is that you can pull over and get out. If you are pregnant, you should take a break at least every 90 minutes to walk around and do some simple stretches. Sitting anywhere for long periods of time can make your feet and ankles swell and your legs cramp.

If you are traveling with toddlers and younger kids, try not to drive more than two to three hours in one stretch. Expecting young kids to sit still that long is unrealistic. Plus, doing something fun along the way makes the car trip an end in itself, not just something to be endured. From a quick game of tag at a park to exploring a hokey "roadside attraction," there are lots of ways to break up a drive without losing more than an hour. The secret, though, is planning ahead. Once on the road, it can be hard to know where to stop.

Before you leave, ask friends who know the route to recommend pit stops. Check the Web for playgrounds, parks, and old-fashioned attractions such as drive-through trees or U-pick fruit farms. Tourist traps can be great fun.

Sharing Driving Duties: If you are traveling with another adult, while one person drives, the other can be in charge of snack distribution, storytelling, and toy rotation. Some parents prefer to switch duties during the trip. If you have space, the kids love having a grown-up sit with them for a while in the backseat.

Traveling Snacks & Meals: To avoid the fast-food traps, keep healthy, convenient drinks and snacks on hand. Favorite treats that travel well: string cheese, rice cakes, pretzels, bagels, sandwiches, apple slices, bananas, granola bars, cookies, raisins, cereal-Os, and puffed corn snacks. What does not work for traveling is most fruit (too messy for younger kids), yogurt (ditto, plus you need a spoon), juice boxes (one squeeze and they spill all over the car seat - take spill-proof sippy cups instead).

When it comes to snacks you should let the usual rules about junk food slide, at least a little bit for emergency purposes. That extra cookie might buy you 15 minutes of peace. Plus, by having special trip-only treats you can make eating in the car an event to look forward to.

No matter how prepared you are on the snack front, or how much you hope to make your specific destination by bedtime, you are going to have to stop to eat from time to time. But where you stop can make a bigger difference than for how long. Whether you are pregnant or traveling with a baby, toddler or older kid in tow, parks and rest stops are perfect picnic pit stops - and a great way to get a bit of fresh air and exercise. Certainly nothing relieves a child's pent-up physical energy better than running around outside. If winter weather makes outdoor play impossible, a mall with a food court is another option. There is room to roam and many even have a central play area.

Other Special Eating Tips On The Road:
  • If you are pregnant, your comfort and safety is your top priority. Besides needing to find a bathroom, you will be needing to stretch your legs (and back, and everything else). Instead of stopping at a restaurant and sitting down, stop at a market where you can walk around while you decide what to eat.

  • If you are traveling with a baby, plan mealtimes for when your baby is awake and alert, and choose baby-friendly locations. If weather permits, it is more relaxing to let your baby roll around on a blanket at a park or rest stop than to try to keep her quiet in a restaurant. And a park offers more privacy for breastfeeding, too. If you want to use expressed breast milk, keep it in a cooler with ice or frozen cold packs for up to 24 hours. To warm it, hold the bottle under running water at a bathroom en route. For easy formula mixing on the road, pack bottles with measured, powdered formula and a thermos of warm water. When your baby is ready to eat, simply add the warm water to a bottle, shake, and serve.

  • If you have a toddler while traveling, choose a restaurant with an outdoor area where an energetic toddler can play while you wait for food. Bring along a bag of plastic animals, a few cars or trucks, or a favorite doll and let your toddler play until the food arrives. If you do not know where to go, drive into the town's business district and flag down the first parent you see for a recommendation.

  • If you are traveling with older kids, you will need to keep kids entertained and avoid embarrassing outbursts, choose restaurants with a reasonably high fun factor. This doesn't necessarily mean a chain; many local restaurants offer color-in menus or have fun decor or fun themes. Stash a deck of cards in your purse for a quick game of "Go Fish" to keep crankiness at bay while you wait for food.

  • Budgeting is a huge consideration when planning a road trip for most people, especially when you have children past the age of 2 when you can no longer get away with feeding kids surreptitiously off your plate. A surprising number of restaurants (Denny's, International House of Pancakes, Pizza Hut, and Boston Market) offer discounted kids' meals and many even let kids eat for free. "Kids Eat Free" offers a complete listing of participating restaurants. Be sure to call ahead and check because some spots have age limits or only offer such deals on certain days or at certain times.

Keeping Kids Entertained: If you are pregnant without children with you, this is nice and a good book is all you need to entertain yourself. However, traveling with children creates challenging creativity to keep them occupied and keep your sanity intact.

If you are traveling with a baby, consider toys that are brightly colored and eye catching that will attach to the car seat or hung where your baby can play with them. Reading to them may help or if you are the driver, consider having recorded stories that can be played. Sing along CDs and nursery rhymes can be helpful.

If you are traveling with toddlers, recorded books, fairy tales and other familiar stories are helpful. Songs and singing games and popular recordings from popular TV shows, such as Sesame Street or Barney can be entertaining. Other ideas include sticker books, magnetic storyboards, coloring books and drawing boards made from using a baking sheet (cookie sheet with edges) so crayons and toys do not roll off and slide away can be helpful.

If you are traveling with older kids (over the age of 3), more complex stories and recorded books can help pass the time. Kids can listen together or use individual players with headphones. You may be able to obtain recorded books at your public library. If your car includes DVD players, or if you have a portable DVD player/Video game, these can be lifesavers for long trips. A trip notebook can be a great way to keep kids busy and capture memories. Each child can be given a notebook to draw and place stickers in and a disposable camera to take their own pictures to be put in their book. Photos can often be developed in 1-hour photomats (possibly done during meal breaks) and entered into their notebooks. Traveling video, card or board games can be fun and helpful.

Maintaining Your Sanity and Preventing Back Seat Meltdowns: If you dread road trips because you spend the bulk of your time trying to calm a fussy baby or keeping siblings from fighting with one another, try a few of these sanity-savers. If you are traveling with another adult and you have a baby on board, it helps if you sit next to her. Think about it - you would get lonely back there by yourself, too. Riding in the backseat is an even better strategy with a toddler; you can keep him company, offer snacks, or even help with an activity such as a sticker book.

With older kids, your first line of defense is preventing sibling squabbles. Well-fed, well-rested children with toys to play with are less apt to fight with each other in the car. Putting siblings in separate rows of a van for a leg of the drive can also help. If you are in a smaller car and you have room, stick a couple of pillows between your kids to give them their own space. Do not expect very young children to share; make sure there are enough diversions for each. If a fight erupts, distract them by organizing a car game, or do something surprising, such as turning the radio on very loud for a minute, or blowing bubbles in their direction. Most important, though, remember: When the going gets tough, pull over and take a break. The secret to a great road trip is getting there safely and still on speaking terms. If you arrive at your destination an hour or two later, big deal - chances are you had a few memorable adventures along the way.

Things you will be glad you packed:
    1. A portable potty and toilet paper. Not all rest stops seem to have toilet paper. If you are at that stage, this is priority #1.
    2. Pillows. It comforts kids to have their own and they make the backseat much more comfy (can also be used to create a barrier between siblings!).
    3. A plastic bucket - for carsick emergencies. Need we say more? Consider bringing car-sick medication designed for children to help with upset tummies.
    4. Peppermints, ginger ale, and saltines. These natural motion sickness remedies tame tumultuous tummies.
    5. A ball or a Frisbee to throw or kick at rest stops.
    6. Plastic zip bags to hold everything from errant game pieces to crayons or leftover snacks.
    7. A nightlight. Hotel/motel rooms can be very dark at night and unfamiliar to kids.





BUS TRAVEL DURING PREGNANCY

Bus companies such as Greyhound have no restrictions for pregnant travelers. As a general policy, they suggest that pregnant passengers check with their health care provider or midwife before traveling (good advice for any type of trip).

PROS & CONS OF BUS TRAVEL

Pros: Buses tend to be the cheapest way to get between two points, and often offer the best chance of reaching an out-of-the-way destination, short of going in a car. Statistically, bus travel is safer than car travel - and can be more relaxing, since you are not doing the driving. And the trend toward cushioned seats, air conditioning, onboard bathrooms, and even movies makes bus travel more comfortable than ever before.

Cons: Bus travel can be uncomfortable, crowded, and noisy - less than ideal for expectant moms. You can not get up and move around safely during transit and bus aisles are narrow and may be difficult to maneuver. Not being about to get up and move about could put you at greater risk for blood clots and varicose veins. Trying to really sleep while sitting upright, instead of just dozing now and then, is uncomfortable at best. Temperatures can fluctuate wildly on the coach, from stiflingly hot to bone-chillingly cold. If you're traveling alone, you will have to tote your own luggage. Food services are typically limited to bus station kiosks and vending machines. You can expect onboard bathrooms (if they exist) to be poorly equipped, small and difficult to maneuver in while the bus is bumping down the road. Buses that make a lot of stops can be mind-numbingly slow. And the lack of seat belts can put you at greater risk in an accident.





TRAVEL BY SEA

Sea travel can be fun. It also may upset your stomach. If you have never been on a ship before, this may not be a good time to try it. If you have done this before and you think your stomach can stand the ship's motion, check on cruise rules for pregnant women. Make sure the ship has a health care provider on board. Also make sure that it docks in areas with modern medical facilities.

Ask your midwife or health care provider about safe medicines or other alternative remedies for calming seasickness. You may want to try a pair of the seasickness bands for sale at many drug stores. These bands use acupressure to help ward off an upset stomach.





AIRLINE TRAVEL

If you are traveling by air, avoid non-pressurized high altitude flights (above 7,000 feet altitude). Travel in the last few weeks of pregnancy is often prohibited by airlines. Airlines will not allow you to fly late in pregnancy (usually, the last month) without a letter stating your midwife's or health care provider's approval. Check with your airline carrier prior to purchasing your ticket for late pregnancy traveling to find out specific policies regarding pregnancy and air travel and when travel is and is not allowed. Check with your midwife or health care provider about more information about when it is safe to travel.

Do not worry about walking through a metal detector at the airport security check. It will not harm you or your baby.

If you are on an aircraft that allows smoking, avoid the smoking section of the aircraft. Choose your seat with care. You may want to reserve an aisle seat since this will make it easier for you to get up and walk around every hour or so. You won't have to climb over other passengers to get to the bathroom. Try to get a seat near the front of the plane since the ride is often smoother there. A seat behind the wall that divides first-class and coach seats has extra room to stretch your legs.

You can fly on commercial airlines without restriction during your first and second trimesters, but during your third trimester you may run into some restrictions.

Airlines rely on an "honor policy" when it comes to enforcement, so it is the passenger's decision to notify agents that she is expecting and how far along she is. Ticket agents will not mention travel restrictions unless asked, so inquire about them when you book your seat.

All airlines recommend you consult your midwife or health care provider before travel at any time during pregnancy. Play it safe by getting a "permission-to-travel" letter from your midwife or health care provider. You will not and should not get one if your pregnancy is considered high-risk. Be sure to take your due date into consideration on the return trip, too. And before you plan a cross-country or international flight, remember how you will feel squeezed into a seat for hours.

ALASKA AIRLINES
Alaska Airlines Website - 800/426-0333

Domestic:
  • No restrictions.

  • International:
  • No restrictions.


  • AMERICAN AIRLINES
    American Airlines Website - 800/433-7300

    Domestic:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter plus clearance by AA Special Assistance Coordinator required if traveling seven days before or seven days after delivery date.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Midwife's/Health Care Provider's letter required if traveling within 30 days of due date, signed within 48 hours of travel.

  • Travel within ten days before or seven days after delivery date requires midwife's/health care provider's letter plus clearance by AA Special Assistance Coordinator.


  • FLY CONTINENTAL
    Continental Website - 800/523-3273 (domestic) 800/231-0856 (int'l)

    Domestic:
  • Passengers advised to consult their midwife or health care provider if traveling after seventh month.

  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required if traveling within seven days of due date.

  • Travel prohibited if signs of labor exist.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • DELTA AIRLINES
    Delta Website - 800/221-1212

    Domestic:
  • No restrictions

  • International:
  • No restrictions


  • FRONTIER AIRLINES
    Frontier Airlines Website - 800/432-1359

    Domestic:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required if traveling within seven days of due date, indicating due date and that travel does not pose a health risk.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • HAWAIIAN AIRLINES
    Hawaiian Airlines Website - 800/367-5320

    Domestic:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required if traveling within seven days of due date, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating due date and that, based on a medical examination, travel does not pose a health risk.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • JET BLUE AIRWAYS
    JetBlue Airways Website - 800/538-2583

    Domestic:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required if traveling within seven days of due date, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating due date and that, based on a medical examination, travel does not pose a health risk.

  • All travel must be scheduled to be completed by due date.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • MIDWEST AIRLINES
    Midwest Airlines Website - 800/452-2022

    Domestic:
  • No restrictions during first eight months.

  • If traveling during ninth month and delivery expected within 14 days, a midwife'/health care provider's letter required in triplicate, signed within 72 hours travel, indicating due date and that, based on a medical examination, travel from specified departure city to specified destination city on specified dates does not pose a health risk.

  • International:
  • There are no international flights.


  • NORTHWEST AIRLINES
    Northwest Airlines Website - 800/225-2525

    Domestic:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required if traveling within 30 days of due date, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating due date and that travel does not pose a health risk.

  • Travel prohibited if signs of labor exist.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required after 36th week, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating due date and that travel does not pose a health risk.


  • SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
    Southwest Airlines Website - 800/435-9792

    Domestic:
  • No restrictions, but airline strongly recommends against flying after week 38.

  • Pregnant women may be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row.


  • International:
  • There are no international flights.


  • SPIRIT AIRLINES
    Spirit Airlines - 800/772-7117

    Domestic:
  • If traveling during ninth month, Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating that, based on a medical examination, travel on specified date does not pose a health risk.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • Travel prohibited if signs of labor exist.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • UNITED AIRLINES
    United Airlines Website - 800/241-6522

    Domestic:
  • No restrictions during first eight months.

  • If traveling during ninth month, Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required in triplicate, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating due date and that travel does not pose a health risk.

  • Questioning at gate about due date possible.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • US AIRWAYS
    US Airways Website - 800/428-4322

    Domestic:
  • Midwife's/Health care provider's letter required if traveling within seven days of due date, signed within 72 hours of travel, indicating that travel does not pose a health risk.

  • Restrictions based on honor policy.

  • International:
  • Same restrictions apply.


  • NOTE: This chart was last updated in July 2006.
    Check with your airline about their policies for up-to-date information.





    TRAIN TRAVEL WHILE PREGNANT

    Train lines such as Amtrak have no restrictions for pregnant travelers. As a general policy, railways suggest that pregnant passengers check with their health care provider or midwife before traveling (good advice for any type of trip).

    PROS & CONS OF TRAIN TRAVEL

    Pros: The rhythmic rocking motion, the steady clickety-clack of the wheels against the tracks, and the landscape unfolding outside your window make trains an especially appealing mode of travel for moms-to-be. Train travel can be one of the safest ways to go - and it can be one of the most comfortable, too.

    You will enjoy greater freedom of movement than in an automobile, bus, or plane. It is easy to walk around and stretch your legs, the aisles are wider and easier to navigate than a bus aisle, provided you watch out for unexpected lurches and moving floor panels between cars. Be sure to hold onto railings or seat backs when you are up and about. If there are stairs, take special care. Since you do not have to worry about negotiating traffic, you can read a book, listen to music, or simply close your eyes and catch a nap.

    Restrooms tend to be numerous (usually one per car) if not always clean or freshly stocked with supplies, but they may still tend to be small and hard to move in. Many trains have dining cars or snack bars, though prices can be steep and the quality and variety of the food limited. Sleeping compartments can seem cramped when you are pregnant, but are usually more comfortable than the alternative in a car, bus, or plane.

    Train tickets can be cheaper than airfares, train stations more centrally located than airports, and connections more direct when you are flying between medium-size cities and small towns. Outside the United States, especially in Europe, trains are often the transportation of choice - they are very convenient and sometimes downright luxurious. Beautifully restored private trains travel scenic routes in the United States and Canada; check the Steam Passenger Service Directory (Kalmbach Publishing Company) for listings of tourist trains in the United States.

    Cons: While planes can whisk you across the country in around five hours, trains take several days. Plus, some train companies such as Amtrak have become notorious for bad service, according to ConsumerAffairs.Com. Other cons include bench-style seating - still common on many short-distance runs - which can be hard on the bottom and back. Some trains lack seat belts, which could put you at greater risk in an accident. Boarding trains may be a challenge depending on how far along you are. Also, passenger cars are hot and stuffy, while others are drafty and cold. And, except in certain major train stations, porters may not be available to help with luggage.





    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists offers a free brochure on travel during pregnancy. To obtain your free copy, send a SASE to:

    Travel During Pregnancy
    ACOG Resource Center 409 12th St. SW
    Washington, DC 20023-2188
    Website: ACOG Travel During Pregnancy



    EMERGENCY CONTACT SHEET FOR PREGNANT TRAVELERS


    This information will help you in case of an emergency. Fill in the blanks and print out two copies. Keep one copy with you and give the other one to your spouse or traveling companion. If you are traveling near your due date, fill in and print out our birth plan request sheet, too.

    My name: _________________________________________________________

    My healthcare provider when at home:

    Name _____________________________________________________________
    Phone ____________________________________________________________

    My healthcare provider when away from home:

    Name _____________________________________________________________
    Phone ____________________________________________________________

    My health insurance:

    Company name _____________________________________________________
    Policy number ______________________________________________________
    Phone ____________________________________________________________

    My emergency contacts:

    Name _____________________________________________________________
    Phone ____________________________________________________________
    Relationship _______________________________________________________
    Name _____________________________________________________________
    Phone ____________________________________________________________
    Relationship _______________________________________________________

    My prenatal and medical history:

    Due date __________________________________________________________
    Most recent checkup ________________________________________________
    Allergies __________________________________________________________
    Immunization history ________________________________________________
    Prior births ________________________________________________________
    Healthcare provider comments ________________________________________

    For more information:

    Ask-a-Nurse: This 24-hour telephone information and referral service is staffed by registered nurses, and offered in certain states. Visit their Web site to find out if the service exists in the area you are visiting and how to contact it.

    HotelDocs: With health care providers throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, HotelDocs can get a health care provider to your hotel within 60 minutes.

    Cost: $225 on weekdays, $250 for nights and weekends.
    Call 800/468-3537 for more information.
    (Note: Rates may change since this posting.)




    Travel can disrupt your daily routine. If you follow a sensible schedule and stay alert to your body's signals, problems should be few. Let your midwife or health care provider know about your travel plans. He or she can help you with concerns and offer advice on the safest time and ways of travel for you.




    RELATED LINKS

    MoonDragon's Parenting Index
    MoonDragon's Pediatric Index
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Calendar Index
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information Index
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information & Survival Tips






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