Travel During Pregnancy
Travel during pregnancy is a great concern for the pregnant woman. Before starting travel many important aspects should be considered. A woman’s medical history and itinerary, the quality of medical care at her destination, and her degree of flexibility should be the determining factors for travel during pregnancy. The safest part of pregnancy in which to travel can be done is between 18 and 24 weeks, when there is the least danger of spontaneous abortion and also premature labor, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Many obstetricians prefer that women should stay within a few hundred miles of home after the 28th week of pregnancy. But in general there is no danger in travel during pregnancy if the pregnant woman is healthy.
Travel should be avoided during pregnancy if there is a history of miscarriage, premature labor, incompetent cervix, or toxemia. Travel should also be avoided if there are general medical conditions like diabetes, heart failure, severe anemia, or a history of thrombo-embolic disease in pregnant woman. Pregnant women should not go to a place where there is excessive risk to the growing fetus as well as to the pregnant woman like those at high altitudes and those where live-virus vaccines are required or where multi drug-resistant malaria is endemic.
Pregnant women should be very cautious about traveler’s diarrhea during travel. Dehydration due to travelers’ diarrhea can lead to inadequate placental blood flow and lead to hypoxia and growth retardation to the fetus. The dehydration of traveler’s diarrhea should be promptly corrected by adequate fluid replacement.
Air travel is not risky to the healthy pregnant woman or to the fetus. The higher radiation levels reported at altitudes of more than 10,500 m (35,000 ft) during air travel also should pose no problem to the healthy pregnant traveler. Each airline has a policy regarding pregnancy and flying and it is best to check with the specific carrier when booking reservations. Domestic air travel is generally permitted till the 36th week of pregnancy, and international air travel is generally permitted till the 31st week of pregnancy.
There are no known risks for pregnant women for travel to high-altitude destinations and stay for short periods but there are no data of safety of pregnant women at altitudes of more than 4500 meter (15,000 ft).