Some do’s and dont’s of travelling when pregnant.
Pregnant women face a variety of health hazards travelling, particularly to tropical areas in developing countries. Such travel should only be undertaken if completely necessary due to increased vulnerability to infectious diseases. The safest time for a pregnant woman to travel is during the second trimester. Medically, it is advised not to travel in the last six weeks of pregnancy.
The tendency to be nauseous or vomit in early pregnancy is increased with travel. Drugs for motion sickness should be avoided during the first trimester although Moxolon is thought to be safe. Many women report that chewing on ginger or drinking ginger tea can alleviate symptoms of travel sickness.
It is recommended that you see your health practitioner before you fly and check with the airline for their individual policies. Providing you have not had any complications and your pregnancy is not considered high-risk, you can usually travel by plane up to 36 weeks. It is advisable, however, to carry a letter from your doctor between 24 and 36 weeks. Most airlines won’t allow pregnant women to fly internationally post 36 weeks.
For domestic flights, most airlines allow a full-term pregnant woman to fly providing there is no history of medical complications and that it is not a multiple pregnancy.
Tips for Comfort
Most commercial jets are pressurised to about 1600 to 2300m. Above 1600m there is a risk of hypoxia or low oxygen, especially if the traveller is anaemic.
Carbonated drinks should be avoided as they may cause gaseous distension that can be uncomfortable.
To minimise the risk of deep vein thrombosis, it is advisable to request an aisle seat so you are able to regularly get up and move around. To counteract the effects of low humidity and dehydration when flying, drink plenty of water.
If your travel requires vaccinations or medical drugs consult your health practitioner as many may be unsuitable for pregnancy.
Travelling with your Baby
Babies fly free on domestic flights up until the age of two. When travelling internationally, some airlines charge 10 per cent of the adult’s total fare for a baby up until the age of two. Check this with your airline. Remember to point out your special needs or requests to airline staff when you check in.
- Your stroller can be labelled at check-ins and handed over for stowage just before you board.
- Dress your baby in sleep-easy, change-easy clothes and take at least one spare set on board.
- Try to allow time to give your baby a relaxed feed and nappy change before you embark
- Your baby will be strapped to you with an infant seat belt that is fastened to your own belt to keep your baby safe during take off and landing. Make sure your own belt is securely fastened.
- Have a bottle or breast at hand for take off and landing. Sucking will help alleviate baby’s ear discomfort.
- If you are hiring a car remember to reserve a child car seat.
In Australia children must have their own passport to travel overseas. It costs $64.00 and applications are available from the post office or State Passport Office. Once your application has been lodged it will take about ten working days to receive. For more information call 131 232. Check the procedure and requirements in your country.