Traveling in the Third Trimester? Consult Your Doctor

Filed under: Delivery, Pregnancy Health

Make sure you consult your doctor before traveling in your third trimester

Should you travel in the third trimester? Credit: Getty Images

Although most healthcare providers recommend that pregnant women stop traveling between 36 and 38 weeks, it's worth asking your caregiver if you're interested in taking a trip when you're in your third trimester.

Most practitioners will make a decision based on an individual's health and pregnancy, says Dr. Melissa Goist, an obstetrician and assistant professor at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

"Flying or long (car) trips are not significant health risks," she says.

The real risk of traveling late in pregnancy is being away from your caregiver, says Leslie Ludka, a nurse-midwife and director of the Cambridge Birth Center in Massachusetts.

"There's a chance of not being in the place where they want to deliver," she says. "That's the biggest risk."

The concern is greater if a patient is taking a cruise, because she may be at sea for long periods of time and because many ships visit developing countries, Goist says. Most cruises stop pregnant women from traveling after their 24th week of pregnancy, she says.

If you do plan to take a cruise, find out what kind of medical care the ship offers, Ludka advises.

As for car or plane trip in your third trimester, it's important not to stay too sedentary, both experts say. Whether riding in a car or sitting on a plane, move around as much as possible. Staying active is easier by car because you can stop somewhere and take a short walk. If you're on a plane, try walking in the aisles or flex your legs, Goist suggests. She also recommends wearing support hose to prevent any circulation issues or blood clots.

It's also important to drink plenty of fluids while traveling, Goist says. She recommends drinking water and juice because it will hydrate you better than coffee or soda.

Before leaving for a trip, determine where you would go for medical care if your labor should start while you're away from home. It's also a good idea to ask your doctor or midwife to provide you with a copy of your medical chart or other relevant medical information. The information will be useful to a practitioner if labor begins while you're gone, or if you need medical assistance.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.