Pregnant and Traveling? What You Should Know

Eating for Two and Other Basic Tips

Wherever you're going and however you're traveling, some common-sense measures can make you happier and healthier.

For one thing, you can't be sedentary for too long. This isn't just a question of being comfortable: Sitting still for extended periods may lead to swelling of the feet and ankles. Worse, it increases the chances of developing blood clots. A clot that forms in the legs or elsewhere can travel to the lungs, which can be life-threatening. Any type of travel lasting four hours or longer can be risky, and pregnancy just ups the ante. So make sure you get up, walk around and stretch every hour or so. Compression stockings also can help ward off blood clots, but some medical conditions make them unsafe, so check with your doctor. [source: ACOG]

Here are some other ideas:

  • Dress comfortably. Wear loose clothing -- preferably made of cotton because it breathes. Avoid pantyhose, knee-highs and tight waists. Wear sensible, well-fitting, flat shoes.
  • Bring a pillow and a back cushion along with you.
  • Pack your prenatal medical records and other health information, like blood type. If you're going to be far from home, know where to find the nearest hospital.
  • Get plenty of rest. You'll tire more easily than usual, especially in the early and late months of pregnancy.
  • Take along fruits and raw vegetables, whole-grain crackers or chips, string cheese and other healthy snacks. Forget the old rules requiring three meals per day and forbidding snacks between meals. Having frequent small, healthy snacks keeps your energy up and your metabolism under control.
  • Drink plenty of water, juice and other healthy liquids. Be careful hydrating yourself in certain parts of the world, however.

Plane, train, ship or automobile? Keep reading for transportation-specific tips.