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Pregnancy doesn't mean you need to stay close to home all the time, though travel with "an extra passenger on board" does require some precautions. What can you do to keep your baby safe while traveling?

Consult your doctor

Let's start at the beginning before you start your journey. Whether you are going on a quick vacation, staying for a few months, or packing up to another country for good during your pregnancy, you should see your (trusted) doctor (who speaks the same language as you do, fluently) before you get on the plane, on the boat, or in the car. What should you talk to your doctor about at this prenatal appointment? That depends on where you are going, and for how long. Here are some pointers:

  • Get a general health checkup, including an ultrasound, get your blood pressure measured, and have urine and blood tests done.
  • Get a letter from your doctor confirming your pregnancy, your health condition, and your due date. Some airlines will require this to let you on board, and it can come in handy in other circumstances as well. Your medical records will also come in handy, if you are going to be gone for a longer amount of time.
  • Check whether the country you are going to requires any vaccinations, or carries a high risk of things like malaria. Many travel vaccinations are not safe during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and possible solutions with your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor about the usual schedule of prenatal tests these can include simple ultrasounds and blood work, but also tests for gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications, and perhaps things like an amniocentesis.

Check the local healthcare system

Read up about the local healthcare system before traveling to your destination, especially if you are staying in the same place for a significant amount of time. Are the hospitals run by the state, or privately? What is the quality of the available healthcare? Can you use your own healthcare insurance plan in your new country? (If your country has a social health system, like in the United Kingdom, and you are going to a country that does as well, you often can). How about private OBGYN practices? Google is your best starting point if you need this kind of info and don't know people locally. If you are still clueless after browsing the web, your embassy at your local destination may be another great source of information.

Travel insurance

Besides examining the details of your health insurance policy in detail before you set out, you will also want to make sure you have an adequate travel insurance plan (most of the time). If you are traveling abroad and your plane ticket costs a significant amount of money, you will want to make sure that you can get this reimbursed if you need to miss your trip because of a pregnancy complication, or if you need to delay going home.

Air travel during pregnancy

Giving birth on a plane over the Atlantic Ocean is not most women's idea of a great delivery. Unless you are comfortable with being your own midwife in public, it's something you very much want to avoid in a film, you'd have an OBGYN on board. Not very likely in real life, and you probably don't want the cabin staff to deliver your baby. Airlines have policies about letting women in their third trimester on a plane for this very reason. Before you get on a plane, check their policy. Also have a document from your healthcare provider about your estimated due date and health, particularly if you have got one of those lovely baby bumps that really draw attention. If you are using other forms of transportation, like a ferry, bus, or car, you will have to use your own discretion. Nobody will try to stop you from traveling, but if your pregnancy is high-risk or you are really close to giving birth, try to delay your trip (unless you are traveling somewhere to deliver your baby there!).

Keep hydrated

Finally, a word about hydration on the road. Staying hydrated in pregnancy is extremely important, and it is easy to forget about drinking all those glasses of water while you are traveling. You are at a higher risk of dehydrating when you are traveling, no matter if you are going to a hot or colder climate. That is why you should always carry a bottle of water with you. Y0u may not be able to carry it on a plane as on-board luggage, but it will help you during the rest of your trip. I purchased a new product called the Bobble this summer. It's a bottle that filters the water as you drink. This is really handy in countries where the tap water tastes of chlorine but is otherwise safe. It will save you a lot of money. If you are in a country without reliable drinking water, make sure you have access to bottled water.

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