A Discussion On Travel During Pregnancy

Travel during pregnancy can be a great concern for the pregnant woman, as it may lead to complication for the mother as well as for the growing fetus. A few important aspects should be considered before starting travel by pregnant women. A woman’s medical history and itinerary, the quality of medical care at her destination (medical insurance), and her degree of flexibility should be the determining factors for travel during pregnancy.

Note:  Always discuss your travel plans during pregnancy with your doctor.

It is considered that the safest part of pregnancy in which to travel can be undertaken is between 18th and 24th weeks of gestation, when there is less 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. In general, there is little danger in travel during pregnancy if the pregnant woman is healthy, the pregnancy is not complicated, appropriate planning is made, and general precautions are taken such as maintaining hydration and periodically moving lower extremities are taken.

When travel should be avoided by pregnant women?

Travel should be avoided during pregnancy if there is a history of incompetent cervix, miscarriage, premature labor, or toxemia (or an otherwise complicated pregnancy which may require emergent care).

Ideally travel also should be avoided if the woman is suffering from general medical conditions like diabetes, heart failure, severe anemia, or a history of thromboembolic disease.  Prolonged immobility during travel increases your risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots).

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 vaccination with live-virus is required or in places where multi drug-resistant malaria is endemic.

Pregnant women should follow extra caution 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. Correct the dehydration of traveler’s diarrhea promptly by adequate fluid replacement using ORS (oral rehydration salt) or IV (intra-venous) fluid as well as evaluation by medical staff.

Air travel itselfis not risky to the healthy pregnant woman or to the fetus. Although there is higher radiation levels at altitudes of more than 10,500 m (35,000 ft), the altitude attained by airplanes during long air travel also generally do not pose problem to the healthy pregnant traveler.  However, prolonged periods of immobility during long flights can pose a risk of forming blood clots.

Each airline has a policy regarding pregnancy and flying and for the sake of pregnant woman it is best to check with the specific carrier when booking reservations. In general 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 (uncomplicated pregnancies) for travel to moderate-altitude destinations (5000-8000 ft)  and stay for short periods but one should be cautious.  Over 8000 ft, there’s a risk of complications from hypoxia which can include preterm labor as well as bleeding among others.

This is a guest post by Jupitor Chakma, who blogs in his Health Blog and Net Health Site on a regular basis. For quality contents of health blogs by this author visit his health blogs.

Jupitor Chakma

Doctor and a passionate health blogger. Write quality health articles and health information news in his health blog, healthyone.org regularly. Read Health Blog for health articles by this author.

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