Ask Your Midwife Elizabeth Stein, Certified Nurse Midwife Ask your Midife Articles
Top Tips for Holiday Travel During Pregnancy

Elizabeth Stein, CNM, MSN, MPH
Midwife & Leading Women's Health Expert

Keep your insurance card and important phone numbers with you at all times. If you go into labor or your water breaks while out of town, call your midwife or physician immediately so that they can direct you to the appropriate hospital. Your medical records can be faxed, but a midwife or physician unfamiliar to you will be responsible for your care.

If you are considering plane travel, discuss your plans with your midwife or physician ahead of time to determine if it is a safe choice. Check with your airline to see if they require a letter of medical or obstetrical clearance if you are close to your due date. Once inside the plane walk up and down the aisle every 45 minutes to an hour. Eat, drink and use the restroom continuously. Most airlines, as well as midwives and physicians, strongly discourage flying after 35 weeks of pregnancy, when the mother is full term.

When traveling by car, keep your seat belt on at all times. The proper way to wear a seat belt during pregnancy is lap belt under the abdomen; the shoulder strap should be worn coming down between the breasts, securely fastened on the side. Stop the car every hour or so to walk and get the blood flowing in your legs, as well eat, drink and use the restroom.

Wear support stockings (also known as compression stockings) especially during travel. Sitting for a long period of time can put pregnant women at risk of blood clot formation. Support stockings can greatly reduce this risk.

It is ideal to be near your midwife or physician, and the hospital you plan to deliver at throughout your entire pregnancy. If a woman goes into preterm labor (between 24-34 weeks), the baby's health will depend on the available technology and a qualified neonatal staff. After 35 weeks, which is clinically full term, you are better off staying home --eating, drinking, resting and keeping track of your baby's movements--rather than traveling. Better choice: invite your friends and relatives to join you.

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