There’s no reason why you can’t travel during an uncomplicated pregnancy, but it’s important to take some extra precautions.
Wherever you are going, make sure you are aware of how to access medical services should you need them. In some areas tap water is not safe to drink, so stick to bottled water if you’re unsure and take care to avoid food and water borne illnesses such as diarrhoea and vomiting.
Here’s what you need to know about driving, flying and travel vaccinations during pregnancy.
It’s ok to keep driving whilst you’re pregnant, as long as you feel comfortable doing so. If you’re experiencing nausea, exhaustion or any other symptoms that you think might alter your ability to concentrate and/or drive safely then you shouldn’t drive at that particular time.
Whilst you’re out and about in the third trimester of your pregnancy, it might be a good idea to keep your pregnancy notes and a fully charged phone with you in case you go into labour.
Seatbelts are crucially important for road safety. You should wear a three-pointed seat belt with the cross strap between your breasts and with the lap strap across the pelvis and under your bump (not across your bump). Airbags are safe and will protect you and your baby during pregnancy in the case of an accident.
It’s best to avoid long car journeys when pregnant due to the small risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Make sure you take regular breaks to stretch and move around if this can’t be avoided and, if you’re not driving, try to flex and rotate your ankles and feet to stimulate blood flow. Compression stockings can help on journeys longer than 4 hours.
Other tips for car journeys include:
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat natural foods that are high in energy such as fruit and nuts, this might help to prevent fatigue and dizziness
- Consider sharing the driving with someone else on longer journeys
- Keep air circulating in the car
Flying isn’t dangerous for you or your baby – and there’s no evidence to say that flying causes miscarriage. You should still speak with your doctor or midwife before you fly if you have any pregnancy complications or health issues.
After 37 weeks (or 32 if you’re carrying twins) the chances of going into labour are higher. If you’re in your third trimester, the airline may want a letter from a doctor confirming your due date and to make sure you’re not at any risk of complications.
On journeys longer than 4 hours, there is a small risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), so make sure you get up and move around every 30 minutes or so. Compression stockings can be purchased from a pharmacy to reduce leg swelling.
Non-live (inactivated) vaccines are safe in pregnancy. However, some that contain live viruses or bacteria are not considered to be safe as they may harm your unborn baby. Check with your midwife or GP for advice around specific travel vaccinations.
Health for Under 5’s – Travel and holidays
NHS – Travelling in pregnancy
NCT – Driving while pregnant