Traveling During Pregnancy
Don't shy away from seat belts in your car now that you are pregnant. The belt won't constrict the fetus or hurt it upon impact. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "Studies have shown that in nearly 100 percent of car crashes, the fetus recovers quickly from any pressure the seat belt exerts and suffers no lasting injuries." Put the safety belt under your abdomen and position the shoulder harness between your breasts.
Because life does go on during pregnancy you might soon find yourself making plans for a vacation or business trip and worrying about its effect on your fetus. In most healthy pregnancies, traveling isn't a problem during this time; in fact, if this is your first child this is a great time to get away and savor the time alone with your partner. But there are a few precautions and considerations you should think about before you take off.
Always check your travel plans with your doctor early in the planning stage. If there is any medical reason your trip should be canceled, postponed, or shortened, you'll want to know before you buy tickets or schedule time off from work. Your doctor might also have some tips or advice unique to your pregnancy that will make your trip more comfortable and safe.
Consider the timing of your trip. The best travel time for pregnant women is usually in the second trimester. This is the time you have the most energy and are relatively free from the fatigue and morning sickness of the first trimester and the discomforts of the last trimester (such as backaches, hemorrhoids, and heartburn). Fears of miscarriage and premature birth are also less common during this middle period.
If you are traveling for an extended period in the last three months of your pregnancy, take extra precautions to keep yourself and your baby safe and healthy:
- Talk to your doctor about the signs of premature labor so you'll be aware of the danger signals.
- Find out if your insurance company will cover an out-of-area delivery.
- Locate a health practitioner (or at least a hospital) in your destination city.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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