Traveling During Pregnancy: 4 Risks You Should Never Undermine
Pregnancy is a delicate phase when women should be extra watchful about their health. While you should take all precautions to safeguard your well-being, a healthy pregnancy shouldn’t confine you to bed. Most women enjoy an active lifestyle, from commuting to work to exercising daily. You can even travel during pregnancy as long as you have no complications and your doctor allows you to do it.
Studies suggest that occasional air travel during an uncomplicated pregnancy is safe for women. They also establish that no significant increases in adverse outcomes are seen for occasional air travelers during this period. However, whether you choose to travel by road or air, near home or abroad, you should take some precautions when carrying a baby.
Before learning about the precautions, you need to understand the risks you may face during your travel excursions. Here are the ones no expectant mother should undermine.
A prolonged period of immobility can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Research shows that air travel during the antepartum and postpartum periods is associated with the possibility of venous thromboembolism (VTE), including DVT and pulmonary embolism. While the risk hovers at only 1% during healthy pregnancies, it is still considerable for pregnant women flying long-distance.
DVT causes blood clots in the deep veins of the legs, leading to a serious threat to the mother and the fetus. The possibility of blood clots already exists during pregnancy, and long flights compound it further. You can mitigate this threat by taking regular breaks to stretch and walk around. Wearing compression stockings is also helpful as they improve blood circulation.
Traveling may lead to stress and fatigue, specifically when you drive long distances or fly across different time zones. Frequent travel may be harmful to your baby because jet lag can affect the growth and circadian rhythm of the fetus. Moreover, stress hormones like cortisol may lead to complications you don’t want to face.
Although stress and fatigue may seem like minor issues, they deserve your attention. Plan your trips wisely and avoid long-distance travel in the early phase and the last trimester unless necessary. Also, allow sufficient rest, relaxation, and downtime to reset your body clock after facing the lag. You can also try meditation and deep breathing to manage stress.
Did you know that 50–60% of women experience new back pain during pregnancy? It happens mainly because of the change in their weight and posture, with the growing fetus exerting pressure on the back and lower body. Long-distance travel may aggravate postural pain due to uncomfortable seating and lack of movement.
The pain may be bad enough to force you to pop a painkiller, but it isn’t the best option for pregnancy. Tylenol, in particular, has garnered attention due to the wrong reasons. The recent Tylenol lawsuit for autism highlights the possible link between the use of Tylenol during pregnancy and autism in the baby. Other risk factors include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and developmental and neurological disorders.
TorHoerman Law notes that women suffering the consequences of Tylenol consumption during pregnancy should consider taking legal action against the manufacturers. They can claim compensation from manufacturers for not warning them about the potential risks of using the medication during pregnancy. The next time you feel sore after traveling during pregnancy, look for natural pain relief alternatives.
Traveling often means coming in contact with many people on flights and at crowded airports. The risk runs high in the case of international travel as it can lead to the spread of vector-borne diseases. The way COVID-19 reached across the globe is an instance of the risk of infections during flights. The concern is bigger for pregnant women because some infectious diseases can be harmful to the fetus.
Before planning to travel to a destination, you should be aware of prevalent diseases and necessary vaccinations to build your immunity. Consult a healthcare provider and ensure that all the essential immunizations are up-to-date. Also, watch out when consuming local food and water to minimize the possibility of food- and water-borne illnesses.
Pregnant women should weigh the risks and benefits of traveling during pregnancy to make informed choices. You should avoid remote and unfamiliar locations where access to proper medical care may be limited.
Also, discuss the possibility of an unexpected complication or emergency with your gynecologist before embarking on a trip. They can provide you with an emergency contact at your destination and suggest a plan to deal with the complication.
A little caution can keep you safe during your trips and give you peace of mind to enjoy them without apprehension. Traveling during pregnancy can be absolutely safe, provided you manage your risks effectively.