Is it safe to travel in your first trimester of pregnancy?
Yes. You can choose to travel in the first trimester of pregnancy if you feel well and your pregnancy is healthy. There are, however, important considerations when planning a trip during your pregnancy.
In most cases, you can safely travel in your first trimester of pregnancy. The risk for a miscarriage is higher in the early months of pregnancy, but this elevated risk exists even without travel. If you don’t have any complications, you can travel as long as you feel well enough to make the journey.
You might choose to avoid travel during the first trimester, however, if you’re nauseous or have low energy. It’s common to feel tired and have morning sickness during this early phase of pregnancy, which can make traveling unpleasant. You might also be more prone to motion sickness during this period, which can make travel harder.
Generally, the safest and best time to travel is between 14 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. During this window, morning sickness has likely subsided, your belly isn’t yet so big and uncomfortable that it’s an impediment to travel, you still have enough energy to move around, and the risks in a healthy pregnancy are lower.
When can you not travel pregnant?
Specific symptoms, conditions, and circumstances increase the risks of air travel during your first trimester and at any time during your pregnancy. These include:
- Vaginal bleeding
- A previous miscarriage
- A previous ectopic pregnancy
- Prior premature labor
- Heart disease or congestive heart failure
- Severe anemia
- A pregnancy with multiple babies
- Plans to travel to destinations with the Zika virus or malaria
- A live vaccine requirement, which is unsafe during pregnancy
- Feeling very sick
- Worrying about traveling
It’s important to talk about your travel plans with your doctor or midwife before you book a flight during your first trimester. They can help you decide if travel is a wise choice and help you arrange to get any required vaccines that are safe to take during pregnancy.
Air travel during pregnancy
You can fly occasionally while you’re pregnant. It’s not dangerous for your baby and it’s considered safe during healthy pregnancies. You shouldn’t fly if you’re having complications or are at higher risk of requiring emergency medical care.
If you’re having a lot of morning sickness or are very affected by motion sickness, you might not want to fly. For some pregnant women, flight turbulence and the motion during takeoff and landing can cause nausea and vomiting.
The first and last trimesters are the highest risk periods during pregnancy. Some airlines won’t let you fly past 36 weeks, but most don’t have restrictions during the first few months of pregnancy. Check with the airline before booking your flights to make sure you’re allowed to fly.
Car travel during pregnancy
You can travel safely in a car during your pregnancy, but don’t take long car rides unless the trip is unavoidable. If you must take a long road car trip, stop regularly and get out of the car to walk around. Seatbelt positioning is important: wear the lap belt across your pelvis beneath your belly and wear the cross belt between your breasts.
Car sickness might also be a problem if you have morning sickness, but it doesn’t affect everyone. Travel with the air conditioning on and avoid reading books or using your phone when the car is in motion. You can also drink ginger tea or suck on ginger lollipops or candies to help with nausea.
Nothing can relieve the symptoms of morning sickness.
What to watch for during travel while pregnant
If you decide to travel in your first trimester, you’ll want to monitor how you feel and watch for any signs of complications, including:
- Vomiting that doesn’t stop
- Diarrhea that doesn’t stop
- Vaginal bleeding
- Passing tissue or clots
- Vision problems
- Stomach pain or cramps
- Water breaking
- Severe headache
If you have any of these symptoms, you should go to a hospital right away.
It’s also essential to be careful with your food and water intake to avoid food-borne illnesses or travel sickness. Drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes that could be contaminated, and only eat well-cooked foods. Only eat fruits and vegetables that can be peeled or are already peeled.
Making yourself more comfortable
There are ways to make yourself more comfortable when traveling during pregnancy, most of which address the tiredness and sickness you may have in the first trimester. (Your belly isn’t very big at this point, so that’s not often a problem.)
- Eat small meals more often
- Eat healthy foods like bananas, and whole wheat bread and pasta
- Drink plenty of water
- Suck on stomach-soothing peppermint
- Drink peppermint tea to soothe your tummy
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes
- Stay cool
- Eat crackers
- Wear acupressure wrist bands
- Get a good sleep every night
- Take regular naps
- Be careful in the sun
Before your new baby comes, you might want to take a vacation to enjoy some relaxation before your impending sleepless nights. Thankfully, traveling is usually safe for most people during the first trimester. However, be sure to talk with your doctor about your travel plans before you go.