Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 18: Traveling While Pregnant

Driving, Cruising, Flying When Pregnant: Is it Safe?

With spring break coming up, are you asking yourself: “Is it safe to travel when I’m pregnant?” Well, whether you want a Caribbean cruise, a flight to Europe or a road trip around the US, follow these guidelines to keep you and your baby safe and sound. Plus, we even have helpful hints to make your travel plans a success, regardless if you’re traveling by land, sea, or air. Also, we have a SPECIAL BONUS: here is all the research for most airlines and cruise lines about restrictions when flying when pregnant or taking a cruise during your pregnancy.

Flying When Pregnant

Can pregnant women fly? It is generally considered safe to travel less than 36 weeks gestational age or less than 33 weeks for multiples. After thirty-six weeks, or thirty-three weeks with twins or polycyesis (the medical term for multiple babies), most airlines require a medical certificate or waiver from your OBGYN or midwife with the following:

  1. On official clinic or hospital letterhead
  2. Dated no later than 3 days (72 hours) before your departure date
  3. Number of weeks gestational age
  4. Estimate delivery date
  5. Single or Multiple Pregnancy
  6. Any pregnancy complications
  7. A note that you are in good health and fit to travel through the date of your final flight
  8. Signed by a doctor or attending midwife (their contact information would be valuable too)

Can flying cause labor or induce early labor? Most experts agree that flying does not cause labor; however, each pregnancy is unique. Airlines do take precautions by setting restrictions to lower the chances of unexpected labor on a flight, causing an emergency landing, or giving birth unassisted up in the sky. After all, labor is a fairly complicated process that involves a release of hormones like oxytocin and hormone-like chemicals called prostaglandins causing uterine contractions to help get that baby out. Flying doesn’t automatically jump-start this process but due dates are estimates, so you can never know exactly when a woman is going to go into labor.

However, with flying, there are some other considerations you need to be aware of. Sitting for extended periods of time can make you more susceptible to developing blood clots, which is already a risk for pregnant women before stepping onto a plane. Luckily there’s an easy solution: get up and walk around when it is safe to do so. A second precaution to take is to drink plenty of water. Flying makes anyone dehydrated and it’s especially important to keep you and your little one hydrated. Plus, guess what one of the causes of Braxton-Hicks contractions is……you got it: dehydration. So be sure you’re drinking fluids.

Driving While Pregnant

The great news is your never driving alone!  But long road trips are associated with an increased risk for pregnant women. When your legs are stagnant, you have an increased risk of blood clots. Blood clots or DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is when blood isn’t moving through your vessels adequately and forms blood puddles.  This jello-like blood can form balls (called a clot or thrombus) that can travel through the bloodstream (now called an embolus) and ultimately go to bad places like your arms, legs, heart, lungs, or brain (also known as a stroke). I know this sounds scary, but that is why it is important to use this information to take multiple walks around during the pee breaks. Although DVTs are a concern, they do not happen very often. If you’re ever wondering about why you have to pee so often check out Pukeology Podcast Episode 11: Frequent Urination in Pregnancy and it will tell you all about it or check out the blog form right here on our website.

Listen to "Frequent Urination In Pregnancy from Early Signs Of Pregnancy to Third Trimester Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 11" on Spreaker.

Cruise While Pregnant

Can I go on a Disney cruise pregnant? Of course! You can go as long as you’ve had a healthy pregnancy and are less than 23 weeks pregnant at any point on the sailing. The same goes for other cruise lines including Royal Carribean, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity, etc. At the end, I will have a list of cruise lines and river cruises pregnancy policies.

Now, what if you find out your pregnant after you’ve booked? As long as you haven’t paid your final payment you can cancel your sailing but you might not get a full refund. Ask them if they can move your sailing to a different date after the baby is born. Buy travel insurance if you are trying to get pregnant just in case the bun in the oven happens right before you start cruising.

Although you may think you’re past the morning sickness stage or you’ve never had motion sickness in your life, we HIGHLY recommend being prepared for it. Pregnant women are more susceptible to motion sickness mainly because of hormone imbalances, but also because your increased fluid volume also relates to the inner ear which causes motion sickness like you’ve never previously experienced. Motion sickness is no joke. 

If you have a slight preconceived notion that you may have sea sickness including getting sick during car rides, vertigo, dizziness on rollercoasters, easily nauseous, or a known history of motion sickness please go visit www.NoMoNausea.com, it can save your entire sea vacation. The drug-free and natural combination of essential oil and acupressure is not only waterproof, but NoMo Nausea is clinically proven and used by doctors in surgery in too many hospitals to count to help people and children not get nauseous after surgery and during labor and delivery. At only $12.99 for TWO bands it is definitely a deal, and much better than being underprepared. You don’t want to be given Zofran which can be over $200 for the pill and $200 for the doctor visit and is NOT considered safe for pregnant ladies.  However, since it is an effective anti-nausea medication it is what most cruise doctors have on hand.

Although you may really want to, don’t buy a spa package. Regardless of how many weeks gestation you are, most spas will not give you a massage, massage your feet during a pedicure, or use any scented product that could potentially cause harm to the baby. Don’t waste your money on something they might not be able to provide for you. Maybe this seems frustrating, but in the end, it’s to make sure you and your baby are healthy.

Tips & Tricks for Traveling While Pregnant

Avoid Dehydration and Prolonged Sitting

Traveling while pregnant by air, land, or sea all have the same concerns: hypersensitivity to sun and heat, and dehydration and prolonged sitting. Check out our blog: How to Cool Down in the Summer Heat Wave for more tips on how to stay hydrated during your vacation. But here are some of the basics:

  • Drink water! (If you’re flying, bring an empty water bottle and then fill it up when you get past TSA so you don’t have to pay for overpriced water in the airport)
  • Wear sunscreen (It should be SPF 15 or greater)
  • Move around when you can (take walks on those pee breaks)
  • Pack a wide-brimmed hat(I love this one from Target: https://bit.ly/2TIdIfK)

Take Care of your Immune System

Foreign countries, cruises, and airplanes are notorious for communicable diseases because they can spread very quickly when you have crowds of people.  Same is to be said about taking tour buses, eating at buffets, and the hugging and kissing of family members, especially children. To prevent a cold or illness from ruining your vacation be sure to:

  • Bring hand sanitizer(I love Bath & Body Works Caribbean Escape plus liquid amount is TSA approved)
  • Load up on Vitamin C before and during your travel 
    • Emergen-C is a powder that you can simply mix into your water. You can get a FREE sample of Emergen-C or coupons here: https://bit.ly/2P3noiw
    • Oranges, apples (which are also great for nausea), and broccoli are great dietary sources of Vitamin C. 
  • Watch what you eat. For a full list of foods to avoid while pregnant check out Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 5: Foods to Avoid when Pregnant or check out the blog version on our website. Listen to "Foods To Avoid While Pregnant Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 5" on Spreaker.

Be Aware of Geographical Health Concerns

Think about the destinations, and make sure you are not going to a country or state where the Zika virus outbreak is on the rise. Zika is a virus carried by mosquitos that can cause birth defects like microcephaly (abnormally small head) which leads to concerns of infants’ brain growth and intellectual disabilities For more education, visit the CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an up-to-date listing of health advisories.

Think about What You Want

Use common sense when booking excursions or trips.  Malaria on an African Safari is not a forever treasure you want to bring back, and even if you are going to Africa some anti-malaria vaccinations are not safe for pregnant women, so it is not worth it. As a pregnant woman, you might not want to book a 6 flags adventure and ride rollercoasters, so also consider zip lines, parasailing, rock climbing, and scuba diving as no go’s. You will probably feel exhausted from the vacation and traveling, so don’t try to do too much. You are growing a human, that is your incredible superpower, so enjoy your time off.

Treat Yourself

Look your best on your vacation! After all, you’ve just taken on a full-time job (literally), growing a baby. So, go on a shopping spree for things you love and will feel comfortable in. If you’re on a budget, I highly recommend going to thrift stores. People often donate their old maternity clothes and more often than not, they are in great shape! Here are a few of our recommendations:

  • Invest in a maternity swimsuit.
  • Avoid heavy formalwear gowns that you are going to try to squeeze into.
  • Stay away from rompers (Remember: you have to get completely undressed just to pee, and I know you pee every 5 minutes.)
  • Flowy dresses are perfect for pregnancy.
  • Stretchy maternity pants (great if you’re sitting for a long time)
  • Compression socks (These are awesome for circulating blood).
  • Buy comfortable shoes for walking, and cushioned sandals just in case your feet swell.

So now you know that flying after 36 weeks is not recommended, cruise lines won’t let you on after 6 months, and long road trips just aren’t the wisest when pregnant. Plus, these tips make pregnancy travel a breeze! As promised, below is a list most airline’s and cruise line’s pregnancy policies and rules and the podcast version of this blog. And remember: ENJOY yourself and don’t forget your NoMo Nausea band for all-natural relief from motion sickness in the air, on the road or at sea.

Listen to "Traveling While Pregnant Episode 18 - Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast" on Spreaker.

 

List of AIRLINE Pregnancy Policies

Each airline has its own set of rules especially when you’re considering traveling outside of the country. It is generally considered safe to travel by plane less than 36 weeks gestational age, or less than 33 weeks for multiples. But, here is a full list of airlines and their pregnancy travel restrictions. Calling your airline to make sure you have everything they need is always a good idea too. Remember: don’t hesitate to ask for help, some airlines even allow you to board early.

 

Airline

Before 28 weeks

Between 29-36 weeks

After 37 weeks (or 33 with multiples)

Air Canada

No restrictions

No restrictions

Travel NOT permitted

Air France

No restrictions

No restrictions

Travel NOT permitted

Alaska Airlines

No restrictions

No restrictions

Travel NOT permitted

Alitalia

No restrictions

No restrictions

Requires medical certificate dated within 7 days of departure

American Airlines

No restrictions

Travel permitted but requires medical certificate

Requires medical certificate dated within 7 days of departure

 

For international travel, clearance from a special assistance coordinator & medical certificate dated within 2 days of departure required

British Airways

No restrictions

Requires medical certificate dated within 7 days of departure

Travel NOT permitted

Cathay Pacific

Travel permitted, but for pregnancies with known complications, must complete Cathay medical form no less than 48 hours before travel and receive clearance from the airline

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate dated within 10 days of departure

Travel NOT permitted

 

Medical clearance required for mothers traveling within 7 days after birth

 

Infants within 48 hours after birth NOT permitted, and require medical clearance between 3-7 days after birth.

Delta Airlines

No restrictions

No restrictions

No restriction but does NOT waive pregnancy-related change fees and penalties.

Emirates

No restrictions

Travel permitted but requires medical certificate

Requires prior clearance from Emirates Medical Services.

 

Infants are not permitted to travel within 7 days of birth and only with prior medical clearance.

Etihad

No restrictions

Travel permitted but requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

 

Frontier

No restrictions

No restrictions

Pregnant passengers are urged to consult with their doctor on whether it is safe to travel by air, including the possibility of turbulence, cabin pressurization (increased risk of deep vein thrombosis), and lack of access of medical care.

Jet Blue

No restrictions

No restrictions

Requires medical certificate dated within 7 days of departure.

KLM Royal Dutch

No restrictions

No restrictions

No restrictions but note for pregnancies with complications required

Lufthansa

No restrictions

No Restriction, but medical certificate recommended

Travel permitted but requires medical certificate

Singapore Airlines

No restrictions

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate dated within 10 days of departure

Travel NOT permitted

Southwest Airlines

No restrictions

No restrictions

Travel permitted but not recommended after 38 weeks. Pregnant women may be asked to not sit in emergency rows.

 

Medical certificate required, dated no later than 3 days before departure, but 24 hours preferred.

Spirit Airlines

No restrictions

No restrictions

Women in their 8th month are urged to obtained an examination from their physician shortly before flying to confirm it is safe for them to travel

United Airlines

No restrictions

No restrictions

Original certificate must be presented to airline at check-in and the other 2 copies must be kept on hand during travel.

Virgin America

No restrictions

No restrictions

Travel permitted but medical certificate dated within 72 hours of departure.

Virgin Atlantic

No restrictions

Travel permitted but medical certificate required

Travel NOT permitted unless necessary for urgent medical or compassionate reasons.

Travel under these conditions requires approval from Virgin Atlantic’s medical team (contact the airline directly for details) and companion strongly recommended.

Virgin Australia

No restrictions

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate dated within 10 days of departure

For flights longer than 4 hours, travel is not permitted after 36 weeks (or 32 weeks for multiples), or within 48 hours of normal vaginal delivery.

 

For flights shorter than 4 hours, travel is not permitted after 40 weeks (or 36 weeks for multiples), or within 48 hours of normal vaginal delivery.

Volaris

No restrictions

No restrictions

May travel but a medical certificate is required or by executing a release of responsibility available at the gate.

 

List of CRUISE LINE Pregnancy Policies

Most cruise lines do not allow pregnant mothers traveling during or after their 6thmonth. And be sure to get a “fit to travel” letter by your OBGYN doctor or midwife stating the health of the mother and baby, whether or not the pregnancy is considered high risk, and estimated date of delivery as calculated from both last menstrual period and ultrasound.  Make sure it is dated close to when you are departing.

Cruise line

Up to 23 weeks

Over 24 weeks

AMA Waterways

Travel permitted

May travel until 36 weeks.  Advises to check with your insurance company

Avalon Waterways

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Azamara Cruises

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Carnival Cruises

No restriction

Travel NOT permitted

Celebration

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Celebrity Cruises

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Costa Cruises

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Crystal Cruises

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Cunard

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Disney Cruises

No restriction

Travel NOT permitted

Festiva Sailing Vacations

No restriction as long as doctor approves it

No restriction as long as doctor approves it

Fred Olsen

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted more than 28 weeks pregnant

Holland America

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Lindblad Expeditions

Travel permitted on a case by case basis between their physician and Lindblad consulting doctor that must approve all pregnant travelers

Travel permitted on a case by case basis between their physician and Lindblad consulting doctor that must approve all pregnant travelers

MSC

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted more than 28 weeks pregnant

Norwegian Cruise Line NCL

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Oceania

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

P & O Cruises

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Paul Gauguin

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Princess Cruises

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Regent Seven Seas

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate. Master and Ship’s doctor has the right to deny boarding in his/her professional opinion

Travel NOT permitted

Royal Caribbean RCL

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Seabourn

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

SeaDream Yacht Club

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Silversea

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Star Clippers

Travel permitted but reserves the right to refuse or revoke passage to anyone who, in its judgement, is until to travel due to physical or mental conditions.

Star clippers regards third trimester pregnancy as a travel risk and reserves the right to refuse passage to pregnant women.

Steps of Paul Cruises

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted more than 28 weeks pregnant

Swan Hellenic Cruises

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted more than 28 weeks pregnant

Uniworld

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Viking River

Travel Permitted.  No policy in regards to pregnancy.  No pregnant woman would be prevented from boarding if they are able to make it to the ship. Viking River cautions that NO doctors are aboard.

Travel NOT permitted

Voyages of Discovery

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted

Voyages to Antiquity

Travel permitted and requires medical certificate

Travel NOT permitted

Windstar Cruises

Travel permitted

Travel NOT permitted due to limited medical facilities 

 

 

March 19, 2019 by Maya Glander
Tags: travel
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