Travelling While Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Travelling while you are pregnant or breastfeeding can seem a little daunting, but with a bit of planning and research, it is entirely possible. These few tips will help you get the most out of your travel away from home.
Travelling while Pregnant
Before your trip
- Consult a doctor before you leave to confirm that the trip is safe. Be prepared to postpone travel if risks outweigh benefits.
- Visit your pharmacy 4-6 weeks prior to departure to make sure you get the vaccines and medicine you need. Pregnancy changes your immune response, so your vaccine and medication requirements may be different than the general population. Pre-travel consultations will include helpful information, such as medical resources (hospitals, clinics) in the area you are visiting in case of an emergency (bleeding, pain or contractions).
- Talk to your pharmacist about wearing compression stockings to increase your comfort and reduce the risk of blood clots in your legs (phlebitis).
- If you are planning to fly, check with the airline whether they will allow it. Depending on how close you are to your due date, you may need to fill out specific forms.
- When buying travel insurance, ensure pregnancy-related conditions, pre-term birth, full-term birth, and neonatal care are covered.
- Bring enough pre-natal vitamins for the entire trip. It may be difficult and inconvenient to find the brand you are used to while travelling.
On the plane
- Bring a note signed by your health care professional, which specifies your due date and provides an overview of your general health and your pregnancy. The airline may require this note.
- Try to be comfortable. Turn a jacket into a strategically placed cushion. Lift your feet often.
- Avoid travelling in an area higher than 2,500 meters altitude.
During your vacation
- Stay well hydrated.
- Avoid using iodine if you need to disinfect water.
- Avoid areas with a higher incidence of malaria and Zika virus, and protect yourself from insect bites and stings.
- Avoid contact with animals.
Travelling while Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a convenient way to feed your baby when travelling. To avoid any complication, visit your pharmacy 4-6 weeks prior to make sure you get the vaccines and medicine you need. Some medications can be found in breast milk, so your travel health requirements may be different than the general public. Here are some healthy travel tips if you are breastfeeding:
In your luggage
- Include products in your travel health bag to treat breastfeeding-related health issues, such as creams for irritated or cracked nipples, or minor fungal infections (from your baby getting thrush).
- Bring enough vitamins for the entire trip. It may be difficult and inconvenient to find the brand you prefer while travelling.
- Pack a towel and a change of clothes for both you and your baby in your carry-on bag.
- Bring a manual breast pump and accessories (bottles, formula, etc.) in case you cannot breastfeed.
On the plane
Breastfeed your baby prior to takeoff and landing to reduce the likelihood of ear problems. When feeding, your child swallows milk in small sips, which reduces the likelihood of pain caused by pressure changes. You will likely not be allowed to breastfeed during the actual takeoff and landing due to safety concerns, as the position of your child during breastfeeding is not the safest during such procedures.
During your vacation
- Before breastfeeding, wash your hands and breasts thoroughly, making sure to remove any chemical residues (sunscreen, insect repellant).
- Avoid strenuous physical effort and severe stress. Plan breaks in your activities and in your travel schedule.
- Drink plenty of liquids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.
If you have any questions about travelling while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist. He or she can help you plan and provide useful advice to help you get the most out of your travel.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.