What You Need To Know About Traveling While Pregnant

Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images.
It was just a few weeks ago that George and Amal Clooney confirmed that they were expecting twins, and they're already making some big changes in their life to accommodate the new additions. As George explained in an interview with French magazine Paris Match, the couple will be taking their traveling down a notch — especially when it comes to Amal's work in potentially dangerous parts of the world.
Of course, the Clooneys are worried about the kind of travel that could put anyone — not just pregnant people — in danger. But many expecting parents are concerned about how their trips (even their travel to places who aren't as potentially perilous as, say, Congo or South Sudan) might affect the health of their baby.
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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), there is a sweet spot for your vacay: the second trimester. That's because, if an emergency situation does develop, it's most likely to do so during the first and third trimesters. So during those months, you'll want to be somewhere where you know you can get reliable medical care in case something happens.
Airlines also have pretty strict rules when it comes to pregnancy that may vary by carrier. In the U.S., it's common for carriers to restrict your travel during the last month or after 36 weeks of pregnancy. They may require you to get a doctor's certificate saying it's okay for you to fly. And international flights may have even earlier cutoffs.
In general, it is safe for pregnant people to fly. But, the Mayo Clinic explains, it's still important to take a few extra steps on your flight for your safety and comfort: Encourage circulation by walking around when possible, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid foods that might make you gassy and uncomfortable.
Cruises, however, may require a little more planning: ACOG suggests checking in with your doctor about which medications it's safe to take for seasickness (even if you aren't necessarily planning on taking them).
The other major worry about cruise ships is the potential for a norovirus infection. This very contagious illness causes nausea and vomiting for a few days, and it's unfortunately common on ships. Although a norovirus infection won't directly affect your baby, it can cause dehydration and take you out of commission for a day or two — and you may be at a slightly higher risk for getting the virus because your immune system is a little overloaded during pregnancy. To prevent an infection, ACOG recommends checking that your ship has passed a CDC safety inspection. And the CDC recommends washing your hands frequently (and correctly!) while aboard.
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However you're traveling, it's a good idea to take some time to plan ahead for any potential medical issues just in case you do end up needing care while away from home. But everyone's pregnancy and travel plans are different. So, if you're getting ready for a trip, talk to your doctor about the best way to prep.
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