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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: 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.

Pregnancy Travel: Be Prepared

Regardless of how you travel, it's important to have your creature comforts with you such as snack foods and vitamins. This can be even more important when traveling while pregnant. "How prepared you are also depends on where you are traveling to," Chervenak says. "If you are heading to London or Paris, there is likely plenty of good water or snacks available, but if you are going someplace more rural then you have to consider bringing these things with you."

If you are planning to travel to an exotic location, contact the CDC at 800-311-3435 to receive safety information along with the relevant immunization facts.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends protecting your stomach in other countries by drinking bottled water, canned juices, or soft drinks, making sure the milk is pasteurized, and steering clear of fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or can be peeled; make certain that all meat and fish has been cooked thoroughly.

"Try to avoid eating in iffy restaurants," Nye adds.

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Reviewed on November 12, 2008

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