Travelling can be more difficult during pregnancy, but there are things you can do to make it more manageable.
Although you may be able to cycle for much of your pregnancy, it’s best avoided if possible. Your joints are less stable, because of the hormone relaxin, and your centre of gravity changes as your bump grows. This can make cycling more difficult, and can increase the risk of you falling off your bike. A fall could hurt your baby, so we recommended not cycling, especially as your pregnancy progresses. If you usually cycle to work, see if you can find an alternative during pregnancy, such as public transport or getting lifts.
Make sure you have a bottle of water with you, especially when it’s hot. If you are struggling to stand or feeling dizzy, ask someone for a seat. If you have a long bus journey, consider where you might be able to get off to use the loo if you get desperate! Some train companies offer first class seats to pregnant women so it’s worth checking with the train lines you use.
It’s very important to wear your seatbelt so that the horizontal strap sits under your bump, and the diagonal strap is between your breasts. Make sure the seatbelt is not across your bump, as this could cause an injury to you or your baby if you have an accident.
Long car journeys can be really uncomfortable, especially in later pregnancy. Make sure you schedule lots of stops to stretch your legs and use the loo. Be sure to take a bottle of water with you so you don’t get dehydrated.
You can drive during pregnancy, but you should stop driving yourself if you can no longer do so safely and comfortably. Avoid making long journeys on your own if you can – have someone with you who can drive so that you can share the driving, and they can take over if you need it. As you get bigger you may find it more difficult to drive.
Flying isn’t harmful to your baby but you should always get advice from your GP or midwife before flying.
You need to consider how many weeks you are when you plan to travel and, crucially, when you fly to come back. Most airlines will refuse to let you fly after 37 weeks, but some airlines have much stricter rules and earlier deadlines, so it’s important to check the rules with the airlines you’re using.
Many airlines and some countries will insist that you carry a letter stating that you are safe to fly, and confirming your due date. Your GP can provide this for you and there is usually a charge for this.
Airline travel increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) so it’s important to discuss this with your GP or midwife before you fly. You can purchase compression stockings from a pharmacy which can help to prevent DVT and reduce swelling in your legs and feet. It’s really important to stay hydrated, do foot and ankle stretches, and keep moving around the plane when it’s safe to do so.
You will need to have vaccinations before visiting certain countries, and it’s important to check this before you book a trip. Some of these vaccinations contain live bacteria, and may not be suitable for use during pregnancy, so speak to your practice nurse about this.
Read more about travel during pregnancy.