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How Long Can You Travel While Pregnant?

Are you too pregnant to travel?

As you’re reading this, I’m probably on my way out of town.

I’m almost 33 weeks pregnant, and I’m taking a car trip to spend a long weekend at my in-laws’ house.  But this begs the question: how long is it safe to travel while you’re pregnant?  By what methods?  And how long do you realistically want to, anyway?

I worried way too much during my first pregnancy.  I traveled at 32 weeks and had some minor contractions while I was gone — not real ones, as I know now.  But it was enough that the next time I traveled, at 34 weeks, I insisted we bring the baby’s car seat and diaper bag along with us.  I know, I know, it’s dumb.  But I was worried.  And that was trip where I bled, anyway, so even though it turned out fine, it’s a good thing I was prepared.  I refused to travel anymore after that.

This time?  I have no issues traveling now.  I might even travel — semi-locally — two or three weeks from now.  After that I’ll probably have to stop.

It is perfectly safe to travel in your first and second trimesters by basically any method — certainly by car or by plane.  I flew in my second trimester during my first pregnancy with no issues (around 21 weeks).  This is, of course, unless you are high-risk and your doctor recommends that you not travel and stay close to home.

If you are having a healthy pregnancy (not high risk, not in danger of preterm labor), you can safely travel well into your third trimester.  It’s probably okay to fly up to 32 or 34 weeks, although some airlines may prefer that you not do so, and your doctor may have something to say about this too.

It’s generally safe to travel by car (again, assuming you are healthy and not at risk) until 36 or 37 weeks.  If you are planning short trips — within an hour or two of your home — you can continue to travel a bit longer, if both you and your doctor feel comfortable.  I was asked to do a day trip an hour or so away from my house when I was about 38 weeks along with my son.  I wasn’t sure and my husband vetoed the idea, just in case.

Always ask your doctor or midwife about their opinion on traveling in your particular case.  Many healthy women can travel, at least short distances, until the last few weeks before their babies arrive.  Others, who are high risk, have had preterm labor scares, or who are in “prelabor” (i.e. having random contractions all day) should not travel.  If you may be in labor it’s probably safest not to drive at all.

How long did you travel while pregnant?  Why?

Top image by spaceodissey

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