Travel during Pregnancy: some useful Tips.

Pregnant women require special care when traveling or on holiday. Many questions regarding pregnancy, travel during pregnancy and tourism were asked to our Medical Staff. Where to go? How to travel?  In fact, Pregnancy determine notable changes in the body physiology, particularly in the cardiovascular system (hyperdynamic circulation with low resistance) but also in neuro-endocrine and respiratory systems.

pregnant women and travel

Pregnant woman must not give up travel and tourism while respecting some precautions.

Some GENERAL RULES should always be kept in mind when choosing a holiday destination:

1) Adequate health care must be provided; pregnant woman can suddenly need specialized medical care, sometimes urgent. Find out then, before planning a holiday, that you go where medical facilities are eligible.

2) Evaluate climatic conditions; during pregnancy, the organism lives physiological changes that resent sudden and substantial temperature changes;

3) Do not change habits, particularly diet habits; avoid staying in places where recommended food can not be guaranteed.

MOUTAIN HOLIDAYS

Avoid holidays at altitudes higher than 1500 – 1600 meters and long and difficult trips. Avoid skiing. Pregnant women have an increased oxygen demand and acclimatization is slower. Excessive exposure may facilitate face blemishes (Chloasma).

SEASIDE HOLIDAYS

Moderate swimming and tanning. Go to the beach early in the morning or in the afternoon. Enter the water slowly, do not make swimming competitions. When you come back home, you must have a particular care in genitals cleaning. Excessive exposure to sunlight lead to heat stroke and Hypotension; it can help facilitate occurrence of face blemishes (Chloasma) and worsen the venous conditionin patients who already have some problems (eg, increase of Telangiectasias).

TRANSPORT (travel during pregnancy)

The plane is the best transport for a pregnant woman who has to face a long journey. The airlines require a certificate stating the period of pregnancy and the good state of health; when exceed the 31 ^ week it also adds a disclaimer (all the forms is provided by companies). The ship and train transportation are very comfortable (allow movements) and safe for pregnant (cruise ships have medical staff on board).

The car should be used with caution, avoiding long distances without stops and avoid driving during the warmest hours. Always fasten your seat belt if possible, and leave the driving to others, especially after the 32nd week when the uterine development makes movements awkward. The reaction times are slightly reduced and thus also the attention power. Fatigue occurs earlier.

For what concerns the two-wheeled vehicles, should be excluded the use of motorcycles and scooters for the excessive vibration; the bike is fine for short distances and on paved and comfortable roads (not ruined).

PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ACTIVITIES

Long walks outdoors are recommended. You can play tennis and other sports during the first quarter of pregnancy, but do not challenge. The sexual activity, if the course of pregnancy is normal, is not contraindicated: side position are preferable.

WHAT TO BRING

First thing to bring is a mobile phone with your gynecologist number and the Internet address of your on-line support. Today, in fact, mobile phones allow to communicate easily – even abroad – and to send and receive e-mail in a very simple way. Sometimes you just need an advice to deal with unexpected situations. Some websites allow to have personal medical records that can be consulted by a doctor or a hospital (on your authorization) in every part of the world: they are very useful. Bring with you the medications you are taking in sufficient quantity. Always avoid “self medication.”

HIGH TEMPERATURE PROBLEM

They are the issues of our time. High temperatures (> 35 ° C) are reached frequently also at our latitudes and high humidity can make them really unbearable. Pregnant women tend easily to Hypotension and particularly in the last months have a lower respiratory rate, so they particularly suffer in these situations. It is important to stay in climated or ventilated places; avoid the standing position for too long, as could occur in a too crowded place, maintain a good hydration and have the opportunity to relax.

Facilitate perspiration by wearing loose clothing, comfortable, lightweight and made of natural fibers (cotton, linen).

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Filiberto Di Prospero
Medical Doctor, Consultant in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Director of Gynecologic Endocrinology Unit at Civitanova Marche General Hospital (Italy). Private clinics in Civitanova Marche, Rome and Milan.

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