Traveling brings about inner peace, contentment, and self-discovery. People enjoy the freedom of traveling but what about if this ability is limited by pregnancy. How can you make the most of this situation while enjoying the things you love most without putting yourself at risk? Since pregnancy may limit your ability to do things you once enjoyed, most women have expressed concerns whether it is safe for a pregnant woman to travel. Experts usually agree on the matter, stating that the safety of an unborn child and his mother often depends on two conditions: current complications during the pregnancy and the trimester a mother is in. So as long as there are no identified complications and the pregnancy is in its second trimester, it is safe for a woman to travel. The reason why the second trimester is preferred to be the safest is that a woman has passed the first trimester which is usually problematic, with morning sickness symptoms. The third trimester is also not a safe time to travel as you are fatigued and need a lot of rest. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in partnership with the International Air travel Association generally forbids traveling when a mother is due in a few weeks time. It is also important to inform your doctor before traveling so if he feels it is not advisable, he will tell you. The following risk factors may indicate that it may not be safe at all to travel; cardiac or respiratory disease, severe anemia, recent hemorrhages and bone fractures. Here are some important tips for traveling safely while you are pregnant:
Caution tips for travelers
- If you are riding in a car, ensure you buckle up your shoulders and laps for best protection of the baby. Ensure the airbags are turned on. Safety bags offer the utmost protection you and your baby could ever need. Carry with you all the prenatal records and any copies you may have of ultrasounds. Don’t forget to carry vitamins and any medications you may need. It is also good to drive at times when traffic is less so as to avoid getting stressed out because of the delayed movement. Traffic jams in Nairobi are mostly in the morning hours so mid day is best.
- If you are traveling by bus, your situation may be a little bit more challenging than a one traveling by private means. Buses have narrow aisles so just remain seated and if you must use the restroom, keep your balance by holding tight to the seats or rails. You don’t want the embarrassment of falling on the laps of a passenger, [with all that mass!] as you make your way through the washrooms. Save your doctor’s number on your phone.
- Whether traveling by bus, train or private car, do not exceed 5 hours while seated on the mode of transport. Sitting for long hours may interfere with proper blood circulation and you may start feeling nauseated. Take advantage of rest stops to get out of your seat and take short walks just to stretch your legs. Most buses in Kenya traveling in the outskirts often allow passengers a brief break before continuing with the journey.
- Traveling by air is considered to be the safest mode. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Although most airlines may permit you to travel even during the third trimester, check with your doctor first. While navigating the aisles in case you need to use the bathroom, hold on tight to the seat backs, as planes may experience sudden turbulence. Choose a seat near the washrooms. Major airlines are better than small private jets.
- Traveling by sea is also considered to be safe for a pregnant woman. However, in some cases, the sea motion may bring about symptoms similar to morning sicknesses, like nausea and vomiting. So it is wise to check with the cruise line to ensure the trip is inclusive of a health care provider in case of any emergencies. You may also be informed of any medical facilities en route. It is better to avoid medication for sea sickness if you are not sure of their effect on the unborn child. Other treatment alternatives may be the use of acupressure points.
- Avoid areas with high risk of contracting malaria. The government of Kenya has set up initiatives in order to curb the malaria pandemic. Most treated mosquito nets are given for free at local government hospitals so even if you are in such a prone risk area, you may take advantage of these provisions.