Travel & Pregnancy

People are now travelling more than ever before - both for pleasure and business.  Many women, therefore, need to know where and how they can travel if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

In most cases, pregnant women can travel safely but it is important to take extra care and especially with a number of activities such as diving, hiking and water sports, which make particular demands on a woman's body during pregnancy.

Travelling by Air

Most airlines allow pregnant women to fly up to and including the 36th week. Under IATA guidelines, pregnant women are allowed to fly in weeks 36 to 38 if the flying time does not exceed four hours. However, many airlines will not carry pregnant women after 36 weeks - make sure you check with the airline before booking.

On the Plane

The air humidity in the cabins of passenger aircraft is kept at only 8%, so pregnant women should drink plenty, particularly on long flights.

Choose your seat with care. You may want to reserve an aisle seat. This will make it easier for you to get up and walk around every hour or so. You also won't have to clim over others to get to the bathroom. Try to get a seat near the front of the plane. The ride often is smoother there.

Pregnant women run a increased risk of inflammation and blood clots in veins of the legs and should avoid sitting still for too long.  A pregnant women should have a aisle seat and move around as much as possible - at least 15 minutes every hour.  This can also be supplemented with vein pumping exercises like wriggling the toes periodically while seated.  The same advice also applies to long car and bus journeys.

The wearing of seat belts in both aircraft and cars is recommended for all pregnant women. They should be worn, as far as possible, low over the pelvis.

Vaccinations and Medicines

The use of medicines during pregnancy is a complicated issue.

The majority of the manufacturers state that there is insufficient information to recommend the use of their vaccine during pregnancy and advise avoidance. Others say there is a lack of information so their vaccine should be used with caution. Speak to your doctor or pharmacists about vaccination during pregnancy.

Travel Sickness Medicines

Pregnant women should, as far as possible, avoid taking drugs.  But if you suffer badly from travel sickness, there are some medications that can be taken during pregnancy, but only on the advice of your doctor.

Call 6355 3000 (NHGP) / 6663 6847 (NUP) to speak to our pharmacists or contact us at "Ask-Your-Pharmacist" for more information on the before taking any travel sickness medicines in pregnancy.

Medicines for Diarrhea

There is a risk of diarrhea almost regardless of where you travel.  A number of the drugs that can normally be taken to prevent and treat diarrhea are not recommended for pregnant women.

Anti-diarrheals like Loperamide (eg. Imodium) should be avoided completely in pregnancy.  Rehydration salts such as Repalyte will prevent dehydration from diarrhea.

Danger Signals for Pregnant Women

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical advice:

  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Severe abdominal pain, even without bleeding (particularly during the second, third and fourth months).
  • Increasing bouts of vomiting
  • Fluid accumulating under the skin, typically visible at the ankles (swollen feet) and hands/fingers.
  • Severe and persistent headaches (perhaps with disturbed vision and vomiting) and any oedema, particularly after the sixth month of pregnancy.
  • Severe gastric infections with numerous bouts of vomiting and diarrhea; fever and tropical heat can also lead to critical loss of fluid.
  • Watery discharge, spotting or labour pains late in pregnancy
  • Lost of fetal movements over a noticeable long period.
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