Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy there's no reason why you shouldn't go abroad, but bear in mind the restrictions your condition imposes on your travels.
Before you set off
- Check that before you leave, you've checked everything you need to and have everything you need. First of all, inform your doctor of your plans and listen to his advice.
- Take any prescriptions and literature with you so that you'll be as clued up and prepared as possible should anything go wrong.
- Find out about nearby hospitals and access to medical care where you are staying.
Choose your destination with care
- You can journey to faraway climes for the first few months, but it's ill-advised to do so from the seventh month onwards. During the six-week period prior to your due date, make sure you carry your hand held notes around with you and be aware of where the local maternity units are should you set off for the day or on holiday.
- Try not to go anywhere where you'll be over-exposed to the sun. Most mums-to-be suffer in the heat: it exacerbates sweating and makes the blood vessels dilate. You'll have heavy legs, an increased risk of stretch marks and of dehydration. There is a genuine risk of skin discolouration (the mask of pregnancy) as well.
- Go for watersports. Swimming is a great sport for pregnant women.
- If you're travelling to exotic destinations, protect yourself from mosquitoes (wear long sleeves, cover up and use repellent) and be wary of the food (don't eat raw produce, peel your fruit and vegetables, always make sure meat is well cooked and only drink water from a sealed bottle).
- Try and go somewhere you don't need vaccinations for.
- Relax and don't exert yourself with too much sightseeing while you're away.
Travel in comfort
It's essential you travel in comfort, so as not to be at risk of miscarriage or premature birth.
- By car. It's fine to drive if you feel able to. If you're not driving, sit in the back with your seat belt underneath and above your bump. Sitting is tiring, so stop every two hours and make sure you stretch your legs to avoid the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. Go for quick fast roads over slow bumpy ones.
- By train. Train travel is ideal for pregnant women. But if you're travelling alone, travel light.
- By plane. Air travel involves the least amount of disturbance and is the most relaxing way to travel, but from the seventh month onwards it's strongly ill-advised to go on a long flight. Always take a medical certificate with you stating your due date (some pregnant women have been refused the right to travel because airlines don't want to take risks).
- Don't stay sitting for too long. Remember to get up and walk down the aisle so that you don't get circulation problems. Keep hydrated: drink 1 litre of water for every 5 hours you're in the air.
- Cruise ships aren't out of the question, but it's not a great idea to go off on a long sea voyage without access to hospital care.