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Health & Pregnancy

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Dos and Don'ts of Traveling While Pregnant

Learn the ins and outs of traveling safely when you're expecting a baby.

Pregnancy Travel: Road Trip

Pregnancy travel by car has some of the same risks and rules as traveling by plane, says Nye.

"The big problem is blood clots," she says. "If you are in a car and driving long distances, get out and walk every few hours," she says. "If you have been diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder, you may need special stockings to increase circulation and decrease your blood clot risk."

Calf exercises can also help keep blood flowing. "Lift your foot up and twirl or wiggle it around for exercise," Nye says.

Be seatbelt savvy. There are nearly 170,000 car crashes involving pregnant women every year, according to the March of Dimes. If you are pregnant, wear both the lap and shoulder belt and buckle the lap strap under your belly and over your hips, she says. Make sure that you rest the shoulder belt between your breasts and off to the side of your belly.

Pregnancy Travel: Cruise Control

Taking a cruise while pregnant may seem like the ultimate in relaxation, but if you have never been on a cruise before, pregnancy is not the ideal time to give it a go, says Nye. Why? Pregnant women tend to be nauseous in general, and seasickness may make this queasiness even worse.

"There are medications that we give for nausea during pregnancy, but is this how you really want to spend a vacation?" she asks.

There are often reports of a stomach virus spreading on cruises, she says, "These can be pretty bad in pregnancy because you are also putting your unborn baby at risk."

Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can lead to preterm labor, she says. "Drink a lot of water, especially if you have diarrhea or are vomiting," she says. Certain anti-diarrheal medications are safe during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor in advance of your travels.

Pregnancy Travel: Get out the Map

Traveling while pregnant is also contingent on where you are going and at what point in your pregnancy you plan to travel there.

"The end of pregnancy is not the best time to take that African safari," Chervenak says. "It's a good idea not to travel to a Third World or undeveloped country late in your pregnancy because the more pregnant you are, the greater your chances of going into labor, and it's important to have access to good medical care wherever you may be."

"Medical evacuation is tremendously expensive, and if you must go to Nairobi, you need to make sure that these arrangements are made ahead of time," he says.

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