Should I refrain from traveling during pregnancy?
While many patients ask if they can travel during their pregnancies, we recommend that you stay within an hour of Covenant HealthCare – Harrison, as there is always potential risk of complications anytime during your pregnancy. However, if travel is unavoidable, Women’s OB-GYN has provided a list of guidelines which should be followed.
- Once you have had your first normal ultrasound, traveling throughout the first trimester (13 weeks gestation) is usually safe. However, even after the first trimester, there is still a 2% risk of miscarrying, and hemorrhaging, which would require a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. While a D&C is considered a minor procedure at Women’s OB-GYN, it becomes much more difficult when in an unfamiliar area, away from your provider. If you do choose to travel during the first trimester, be sure you have easy access to a hospital that provides gynecologic services – not all hospitals do.
- Pregnancy hormones increase the risk of developing blood clots in the legs. Although rare, blood clots can migrate to the lungs. Because of this, Women’s OB-GYN recommends that throughout your pregnancy, you refrain from sitting for extended periods of time. If you will be traveling either by airplane or car, you should walk every hour in an effort to decrease the risk of blood clot development. Call immediately if you develop leg pain, swelling, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
- Travel between 20-36 weeks gestation is strongly discouraged for patients with a history of preterm labor, preterm delivery, previous surgery on their cervix, or any other risk factors for preterm birth, such as infection, or uterine anomaly. However, if you find that travel is essential, Women’s OB-GYN recommends that you schedule an appointment to check your cervix shortly before your departure. Be sure that you travel to places within an hour of a neonatal unit (a special hospital that cares for premature babies,) and remember to take your white card so that if you do experience problems, the physicians will have your information.
- After 36 weeks gestation, Women’s OB-GYN recommends that prior to traveling, you locate hospitals that have in-house anesthesia coverage with epidurals available and in-house pediatric care similar to that at Covenant HealthCare-Harrison.