Most of the time, it is fine to travel while pregnant. As long as you are comfortable and safe, you should be able to travel. Still, talk to your health care provider if you are planning a trip.
When you travel, you should:
Eat as you normally do.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that isn't tight.
Take crackers and juice with you to avoid nausea.
Bring a copy of your prenatal care records with you.
Get up and walk every hour. It will help your circulation and keep swelling down. Being inactive for long periods of time and being pregnant both increase your risk for blood clots in your legs and lungs. To lower your risk, drink plenty of fluids and move around often.
Get medical care right away if you have:
Leg or calf pain or swelling, especially in just 1 leg
Shortness of breath
DO NOT take over-the-counter medicines or any non-prescribed medicines without talking to your provider. This includes medicine for motion sickness or bowel problems.
Travel by Land
You should be on the road no more than 5 to 6 hours a day.
Always wear your seatbelt. Place the lap belt under your belly and across your hips so that it fits snugly and comfortably. Put the shoulder strap between your breasts and across your shoulder.
Always wear the lap shoulder seat belt strap when traveling while pregnant.
If you have an accident, check with your provider to see if you and your baby are fine. Unless you have a serious injury in an accident, your baby will likely not be harmed. Still, check with your provider to be on the safe side.
While on the road, take breaks often and walk around. This will help your circulation and can prevent blood clots.
Travel by Air
In the United States, pregnant women are allowed to fly during the first 36 weeks of their pregnancy.
Book an aisle seat to make it easier to walk around and get to the bathroom.
Wear layers of clothing so you can change as needed for comfort.
Get up and walk at least once an hour. This will help your circulation and can prevent blood clots.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Women with health problems may need extra oxygen when flying. Talk to your provider before you travel to see if you will need extra oxygen.
Travel by Sea
If you have never been on a cruise, it may not be the best time to go.
Travel by sea may cause motion sickness or nausea. It may feel worse than normal if you are pregnant.
If you do decide to go on a cruise, find out what kind of medical care will be on the ship. Also ask how the cruise ship responds to medical emergencies.
Talk to your doctor if you are planning a trip out of the country. Plan ahead to allow time for any shots or medicines you may need. When you travel, take a copy of your prenatal care record with you.
Traveling to high altitudes, like the mountains, may cause problems during pregnancy. Higher altitudes have lower air pressures and less oxygen. Your body and the baby will have to adjust. It is best for all pregnant women who live at low altitudes to avoid traveling over 6,000 feet during pregnancy.
If you live at a high altitude, it is safe for you to stay there. Your pregnancy will adapt to the lower oxygen levels.
Gregory KD, Niebyl JR, Johnson TRB. Preconception and prenatal care: part of the continuum. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 6.
Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.