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Traveling while pregnant: Your complete guide

Unless you're nearing your due date or have certain complications, your healthcare provider will generally give you the green light for pregnancy travel. Here's how to safely explore – plus what to consider before making plans.

Layan Alrahmani, M.D.

Is traveling while pregnant safe?

When to avoid pregnancy travel, when is the best time to travel while you're pregnant , can pregnant women travel during covid, when should you stop traveling while pregnant, your pregnancy travel checklist, when to call your doctor while traveling.

Yes, it's generally safe to travel during pregnancy as long as you're not too close to your due date and you're not experiencing any serious pregnancy complications. There are special precautions to take, of course, and you may find yourself stopping to use the bathroom more than you're used to, but that babymoon can be within reach.

Before you pack your suitcase, talk with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you to travel and that your destination is a good choice. You'll want to avoid places where infectious diseases are prevalent (or there are high outbreaks of Zika or malaria, for example). The COVID-19 pandemic has made people reconsider where they feel safe traveling as well; if you're fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can travel Opens a new window , but it's always best to check with your doctor first.

And bear in mind that the activities you take part in might be different than normal – you'll want to skip the Scuba diving lessons, for example (though snorkeling is okay!).

It's safe to fly when you're pregnant as well, and most airlines will allow you to fly domestically until about 36 weeks of pregnancy. International routes may have different rules, so be sure to check with your airline before booking anything. Your doctor will tell you to avoid flying, however, if you have a health concern that might require emergency care or any other health conditions that aren’t well controlled.

It's best to avoid traveling while pregnant if you have any health conditions that can be life-threatening to both you or your baby. If you have any of the following conditions, your doctor will almost certainly advise you against travel:

  • Placental abruption  
  • Preeclampsia
  • You're in preterm or active labor
  • Cervical insufficiency  (incompetent cervix)
  • Premature rupture of membranes (PROM)
  • A suspected ectopic pregnancy
  • Vaginal bleeding

You might also need to be extra-cautious or skip travel if you're experiencing intrauterine growth restriction , you have placenta previa , or you have other conditions that may place your pregnancy at a higher risk. It’s always a good idea to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider before travel regarding any medical conditions you have, and they'll be able to advise you on what's best, depending on the trip.

The sweet spot for pregnancy travel is during your second trimester , between 14 weeks and 27 weeks. By the second trimester, any struggles you’ve had with morning sickness and fatigue during the earlier weeks of pregnancy should have hopefully subsided – and after 12 weeks, your risk of miscarriage decreases significantly as well. And you're not too far along to worry about third trimester exhaustion or going into preterm labor yet, either.

Your energy levels are likely to be good during your second trimester too (bring on the sightseeing!), and it will still be relatively easy and comfortable for you to travel and move around at this time. Keep in mind that once you hit that third trimester, pregnancy travel might be more difficult as you find it harder to move around and stay still for long periods of time.

It's complicated (and often a personal decision based on your own risk factors), but the CDC says that if you're fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can travel. Of course, it's important you still do everything you can to keep yourself and others around you safe, including following all mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines in the destination you visit.

Women are at an increased risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 while pregnant , and they're more likely to experience preterm birth and other poor pregnancy outcomes. (This is why the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine all recommend that women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are planning on becoming pregnant get the COVID vaccine .)

If you're vaccinated and decide to travel, the CDC advises avoiding international destinations that are designated Level 4, due to high rates of local COVID-19 transmission.

Take all this information into account and talk to your doctor before you decide on where and when to travel while you're pregnant. And if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, whether while traveling or at home, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

The guidelines for when to stop traveling while you're pregnant vary based on your mode of travel, but more or less, you should wrap up travel before you're 36 weeks pregnant.

Most airlines will let pregnant women fly domestically until they're 36 weeks pregnant – and many cut that off earlier for international travel. This rule is often enforced on an honor system policy, but some airlines may ask for a doctor’s note – so make sure you have that from your healthcare provider if you're traveling in the third trimester, just in case.

Most cruise ships don't allow travel after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Some cruise lines' cutoff dates vary, so verify policies before booking a cruise.

As for road trips, there's no official deadline for when you need to stop traveling, but your personal comfort level (physically and emotionally) – and your doctor's advice – might help you decide. You can drive while pregnant all the way up until your due date, but things may get considerably less comfortable on longer trips as you approach full term.  

Travel of any kind requires advance preparation, but when you're pregnant and traveling, that pre-trip checklist gets a little longer. Give yourself a little more time than usual to plan for a trip – and use the tips below to stay safe and comfortable on your next adventure.

Before you travel

  • Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if your trip is safe for you and if there are any medical concerns to consider. It's a good idea to discuss any activities you plan to do while you're away too. If you're planning an international trip, make sure to ask about any vaccines you may need for the areas you're visiting.
  • Make sure you know your prenatal test schedule. Plan travels around any prenatal tests you need to schedule, including ultrasounds and other important screening tests.
  • Book an aisle seat. You'll likely be more comfortable being able to get up to stretch or go to the bathroom on longer flights.
  • Buy travel insurance. You don't need special travel insurance when you're pregnant, but it's never a bad idea to secure a policy. You may want to consider one with a “cancel for any reason” clause that reimburses you for money lost on cancelled trips for reasons (read: any reason) beyond what’s listed on the base policy. Check with your personal health insurance, too, to make sure it covers potential pregnancy complications while traveling internationally (some don’t). Consider adding evacuation insurance as part of a travel insurance plan, too.
  • Gather your medical records and health information . If you’re in your second or third trimester, ask your ob-gyn or midwife for a digital copy of your prenatal chart, and have that easily accessible during your trip. Typically, this chart includes your age, your blood type, the name and contact information for your healthcare provider, the date of your last menstrual period, your due date, information about any prior pregnancies, your risk factors for disease, results of pregnancy-related lab tests (including ultrasounds or other imaging tests), your medical and surgical history, and a record of vital signs taken at each visit.
  • Keep a list of key names and numbers you may need in the event of an emergency saved on your phone and written on a piece of paper (in case your battery dies).
  • Have a contingency plan for doctors and hospitals that will take your insurance where you're going in case you go into labor early or experience pregnancy complications that require urgent care while you're away from home.
  • Pack medicines and prenatal vitamins. That might include an extended supply of prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies , too. Bring enough to cover your entire trip and a written prescription that you can fill if you lose anything. It's a good idea to keep prescription medicine in its original container, so if your bags are searched it will be clear that you're not using medication without a prescription.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. On a road trip, that might mean an unexpected breakdown, so join an auto club that provides roadside assistance. Download any apps you use for renting cars and accessing boarding passes before you leave so you can easily reschedule things in the event of a last-minute cancellation.
  • If you're flying during your third trimester, be sure to call the airline to check about the cutoff week for pregnancy travel. A note from your doctor that says you’re cleared to travel is always good to have when traveling during your third trimester.

During your trip

  • Drink plenty of water and continue to eat healthy foods . Keep in mind that many restaurants abroad commonly serve unpasteurized foods (like soft cheeses and milk), which can be dangerous for pregnant women due to the presence of listeria.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or fish , drinks with ice (which may be contaminated), non-bottled water, and other foods that can cause traveler's diarrhea, which can be more of a problem for pregnant women than other people.
  • On long flights and drives, take time to stretch by pulling over for a walk or strolling up and down the airplane aisle. And when seated, always wear your seat belt .
  • Maternity compression socks are handy to have along – both in transit and worn under your clothes while you’re out and about exploring – because they can ease the symptoms of swollen feet and legs. These are a few of our favorite pregnancy compression socks .
  • Take advantage of help. Many countries have dedicated lines in shops and airports for pregnant travelers, so don't feel any shame taking a shorter wait if you see one.
  • Go easy on yourself. Remember, you're growing a baby. You might not have quite the stamina for sightseeing and late nights like you used to pre-pregnancy. Make the most of your vacation but don't fret you miss out on things because you need more downtime from exploring than you usually would.
  • Don’t forget to get photos of your bump. When your baby is older, you'll have fun showing them all the places you traveled with them before they were born.
  • Go for the comfy shoes. Travel during pregnancy is the best reason ever to forgo those strappy stilettos for your favorite sneakers .
  • Pack snacks so you always have something to curb your appetite if there’s a long wait for a restaurant or you get stuck in transit or someplace remote with no food offerings.
  • Try to be in the moment with your travel partners as much as possible. Once your baby is born, your attention will be pulled in a whole new direction.

If you have any medical concerns traveling while pregnant, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call your doctor for advice. The below are a few symptoms that definitely warrant calling your ob-gyn or health care provider or seeking emergency care while traveling or at home:

  • Signs of pre-term labor (including a constant, low dull backache, bleeding, etc.)
  • Ruptured membranes (your water breaks)
  • Severe cramping
  • Spiking blood pressure
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • COVID-19 symptoms

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Is it safe to fly while I'm pregnant?

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Is it safe to travel to high altitudes while pregnant?

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What to expect at your first prenatal appointment

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BabyCenter's editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you're seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies .

AAFP. 2020. Ultrasound during pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians.  https://familydoctor.org/ultrasound-during-pregnancy/ Opens a new window [Accessed April 2023]

ACOG. 2020. FAQ055: Travel during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/travel-during-pregnancy Opens a new window [Accessed April 2023]

CDC. 2019. Pregnant Travelers. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2020/family-travel/pregnant-travelers Opens a new window [Accessed April 2023]

CDC. 2022. Domestic Travel During Covid-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html Opens a new window [Accessed April 2023]

CDC 2023. International Travel During Covid-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html Opens a new window [Accessed April 2023]

CDC. 2022. Covid-19: Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnant-people.html Opens a new window [Accessed April 2023]

Terry Ward

Terry Ward is a freelance travel, health, and parenting writer who has covered everything from flying with toddlers to why you should travel with your kids even when they're too young to remember it. She lives in Tampa, Florida, with her husband and their young son and daughter, and enjoys camping, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, and almost anything else done in the great outdoors.

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Anna Everywhere

Traveling in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy: My Best Tips

Traveling in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy: My Best Tips

Traveling in the 3rd trimester?! Most people don’t realize that you can still travel just fine in the third trimester. Despite what you can read in many bias articles and forums, you can fly freely until 36 weeks. Naturally, assuming that you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. 

While most people might prefer to stay at home and nest in the third trimester, I didn’t feel that need and wanted to travel more before the baby shows up.

One can say that I got lucky that I felt fine for most of my pregnancy . Truth to be told, apart from the awful rhinitis that I described in my other post, I was definitely functional most of the time. Like most people, I had back pain and neck pain every other day, but I guess I must have a higher tolerance for discomfort than most as nothing has stopped me doing what I wanted during late pregnancy.

Flying When Pregnant in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

While some airlines officially say that while you’re allowed to travel until week 36th, you need to provide a letter from your doctor I was never asked to show such letter at any airport. Only on one occasion, when entering the plane Qatar Airlines staff hesitantly asked me if I was pregnant, but only to tell me to let them know if I needed anything during the flight.

Due to complications with birth I described in this post I had to fly at 39 weeks and still – no one wanted to see my doctor’s note.

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I read many opinions that the best seat to get on the plane for pregnant women is aisle as you can freely go to the bathroom, I’m not entirely sure I’d agree.

Somehow I never peed that much on planes (I guess the baby knew to behave as he’s an avid traveler now ), but in the aisle seat I felt constantly disturbed by people passing by and taking their luggage, flight attendants serving food, that I started booking window seats, so I could take a nap in peace.

Just don’t book an emergency exit seat because they don’t recline. A seat that doesn’t recline is a nightmare for a pregnant woman!

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qatar airlines business class

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Babymoon in the Third Trimester

Since Christmas fell at the end of my second trimester and we didn’t want to travel in the high season, we opted for a babymoon at the beginning of my third trimester.

What’s babymoon? It’s a vacation you take with your spouse before you have your baby – usually in the second trimester. It’s the last hurrah before a baby enters your world. Most people opt for a quiet resort stay or beach vacation.

In my case due my babymoon wasn’t the last trip, and it was definitely an active one. I was originally wanting to go to Bora Bora, but January is one of the worst months to go there (and to many other places we considered), so we opted for revisiting one of my old homes – South Africa .

We spent a week in and around Cape Town and it was awesome! While I couldn’t do certain activities due to pregnancy (like abseiling) they were many other things we could do, plus the food is delicious.

I played with the penguins, did some hiking (you can definitely hike when pregnant, you’ll just be slightly slower!), stuffed my face with fresh seafood, flew a helicopter, went up Table Mountain and relaxed at the beach.

babymoon in South Africa

Traveling in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

New York City

After our babymoon in South Africa we flew back home to Italy for a few days before taking off to NYC. While a flight to NYC wasn’t an issue, I was very uncomfortable on the way back. I ended up standing up and walking for the first few hours before using my husband as a pillow for the remaining time of the flight. Ironically, the moment I got off the plane I was comfortable again.

One problem I noticed during my trip to NYC was my sensitiveness to cold. I’ve never liked the cold weather, but when pregnant I felt about three times colder than usual until week 32, and then I started feeling about three times warmer than usual. Fortunately, I was still able to fit in my regular sized big coat, but if you don’t, you might want to consider investing in coat extenders . 

While in NYC we also picked up a stroller for our baby , since I was really set on the best stroller for traveling and it wasn’t available in Italy. Ironically, the airline broke our stroller seat on its first trip which turned out to be a good thing after all, as I’ve learned about different stroller policies and what to do in case your pram gets broken or lost .

babymoon South Africa

London & Warsaw

As living an expat life comes with a lot of paperwork in different countries, soon after our trip to NYC I had to make a pit stop in Warsaw and London . Flights were short and easy, so I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. 

travel in third trimester

I was very worried that once I enter the third trimester I’m going to start feeling like crap and wouldn’t be able to get up from the sofa. Talking to other pregnant friends or new moms didn’t help. 

Literally, everyone else who recently had a kid or were still pregnant were telling me that my hips will loosen up, that I’ll be waddling and tired all the time, that I’ll feel nauseous and have heartburn and my hands will get swollen. 

None of these things ever happened in my case up until week 37. Even right before my due date I was actually wearing high heels and running. Sure, I felt bad here and there, but a quick rest for a bit was enough to make me feel better. However, the further along I was in my pregnancy, the more comfortable I felt on my feet – standing, walking, or even running, than sitting or laying down.

The worst thing was actually my psoriasis getting worse and worse and I felt very uncomfortable and annoyed because of that.

I’m not saying that none of the bad pregnancy symptoms won’t happen to you, but there’s no rule. You might feel like crap, but you might not, so do yourself a favor and stop getting scared by what other moms tell you. You do you and adjust your lifestyle and travels to the way you feel.

Skiing When Pregnant

That said since I didn’t want to miss out on the Italian winter I decided I feel well enough to go snowshoeing in the Dolomites and skiing in the Alps. Most moms give up on sports apart from simple maternity yoga, but upon my research, I realized that I wasn’t the only one who skied while pregnant.

I know people who skied, surfed or kept running in the third trimester and the baby turned out just fine. One would ask, is it safe? I’m an advanced skier and haven’t fallen for years, plus I obviously wasn’t going in for the hardest slopes available.

Skiing Pregnant

Comfortable Clothes for Pregnant Travelers

While I was lucky enough to wear non-maternity clothes up until mid-third trimester, later on, I found many other alternatives. I discovered good maternity clothes that aren’t only comfortable for traveling, but also affordable and not ugly. 

Do you have any questions about traveling in the third trimester of pregnancy?

Traveling While Pregnant

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When First Pregnancy is Easy: On Invisible Postpartum Consequences – annainthehouse.com

Tuesday 10th of March 2020

[…] No vomiting, no unbearable pains, nada. Just a little anemia at the very end, but that’s expected in most pregnancies. I was even still hiking and skiing (carefully) in my third trimester. […]

Saturday 25th of May 2019

Great! I'm happy for you. In my third trimester, I had such bad back pain that I barely walk. And before that the only commute I could handle was from home to work. So, there was no way to travel

Angie Silver

You did so well! After travelling at 28 weeks, I was like right I'm done! lol

Pregnancy Travel Tips

Medical review policy, latest update:, can you travel while pregnant , read this next, when should you stop traveling while pregnant, how should you prepare for a trip during pregnancy, what do pregnant women need to know about travel and the zika virus, travel tips for pregnant people, when should you seek medical care while traveling during pregnancy.

While traveling during pregnancy is generally considered safe for most moms-to-be, you’ll need to take some precautions before making any plans — and get the green light from your practitioner first.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting , 5th edition, Heidi Murkoff. WhatToExpect.com, Zika Virus and Pregnancy , October 2020. WhatToExpect.com, What to Know About COVID-19 if You’re Pregnant , February 2021. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Travel During Pregnancy , August 2020. Johns Hopkins Medicine, Traveling While Pregnant or Breastfeeding , 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination , May 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People , May 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnant Travelers , December 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Travel: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers , April 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 and Cruise Ship Travel , March 2020.

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What to expect when traveling in each trimester of pregnancy

Summer Hull

So you're pregnant? Congrats! It's an exciting time but also one in which many aspects of your life will begin to change, including travel. While you'll quickly need to understand the airline industry's rules for flying while pregnant , there are some more personal tips I'd like to share with you based on my experience traveling throughout the first, second and third trimesters of both of my pregnancies.

A few truths about pregnancy

Picky, starving moms need to travel with snacks.

I didn't know I was pregnant when I took the first flight of my second pregnancy. I was on a mileage run from Houston to Los Angeles, and by the time we landed, I was super tired, kinda grumpy and oh-my-so-hungry.

Then began a mad search for food. Luckily, Counter Burger was open and serving up sweet potato fries and burgers. Out of habit, I went for the veggie burger but I quickly regretted my decision, which left me far from satisfied with ground-up veggie mush.

In the early stages of pregnancy, your normal travel habits of going a little hungry for a while, or making due with what's around, may not work well.

Throughout your pregnancy, travel with water to stay hydrated and snacks to stave off hunger pangs and keep you going through travel delays. If you're feeling particularly food sensitive, research the food options at your destination ahead of time. I virtually lived on chicken noodle soup for a whole week early in my pregnancy and then, for a couple of days, all I wanted were hush puppies. I know how to get those items at home but when you are on the road, you either need to do more research or be more flexible -- which is sometimes easier said than done.

Related: 4 tips for planning travel while planning a pregnancy

Research and make choices about inflight radiation and other risks

I'm not an expert, but because I fly often, I have given some thought to inflight radiation exposure , especially during the early stages of pregnancy.

For pregnant flight attendants and pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration recommends a limit of 1 mSv during pregnancy, with no more than 0.5 mSv per month. I don't fly as much as an airline employee, but it doesn't take much research to learn that the amount of radiation you (and your gestating baby) are exposed to in the air varies dramatically from route to route. The highest-level routes are typically longer, higher-altitude polar routes. Here's some information from NASA about polar flights and radiation .

Every expectant mother should discuss the risks of flying during pregnancy with her doctor before getting on a plane. For me, nine months was a tiny moment in my traveling life, so I was OK adjusting my behavior a bit out of an abundance of caution. However, I didn't adjust to the point of never leaving my house. We still flew when I was pregnant, but I was judicious about when and where I would fly.

Check your health insurance policy

If you aren't familiar with your medical insurance coverage for when you travel, brush up on those facts now. Look at in-network and out-of-network benefits, as well as coverage for procedures for medical emergencies in other countries, if relevant. Most likely, if you do have coverage for treatment in other countries, you will still be on the hook to pay for your care up front and then submit for reimbursement from your health insurer. Plan accordingly and plan for the unexpected. If your baby decides to arrive early, for instance, check to make sure your insurance would cover possible extended and expensive care in an intensive care unit in a hospital away from your home.

Be sure to check what your health insurance coverage provides if you deliver at another facility later in your pregnancy. I once had an insurance plan that specifically did not cover out-of-network deliveries after 36 weeks, so that is something you would want to know before venturing away from home late in pregnancy.

Consider travel insurance

Trip insurance can be helpful if you are traveling while pregnant. Read the plan's fine print to determine what might be covered and whether you are covered if you already knew you were pregnant when you purchased the plan. Typically, a normal pregnancy or normal delivery would not be covered but if there are unexpected complications with the pregnancy, then related trip-cancellation or trip-interruption coverage may kick in on certain plans in certain situations.

Here are some travel insurance providers to check out: Allianz Travel Insurance, Travel Guard and Travelex Insurance . You can also compare a variety of plans at a portal like SquareMouth .

Here are some articles that will help you brush up on your travel insurance knowledge:

  • The best travel insurance policies and providers
  • What is independent travel insurance and when is it worth it?
  • When to buy travel insurance versus when to rely on credit card protections
  • Is credit card travel insurance sufficient on its own?
  • Why I buy travel insurance

Traveling in the first trimester

Traveling in the first trimester can range from "no big deal" to "I think I'm going to die from misery right this very instant." Symptoms in early pregnancy can vary widely and can change by the day. A flight in your first trimester may be no different from any other flight you've ever taken or it may feel like you are flying with the worst hangover of your life.

Unless you are very high risk or have other extenuating medical issues, your doctor will probably give you the green light to travel in early pregnancy. Feeling extra tired, nauseous and queasy doesn't make for the perfect travel experience, so here are some tips to make travel easier:

Pick an aisle seat and move about the cabin

When you do hit the skies early on, choose a seat where you will be the most comfortable, likely an aisle seat so you can get to the restroom easily. I also recommend getting up to walk around and stretch your legs. (Here are tips for credit cards that will defeat basic economy and let you get a seat assignment in advance.)

Room service come to the rescue

In my first trimester of my second pregnancy, I went on a trip with my daughter and parents to New York City to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and I was met with another challenge. I was at the point in my pregnancy when I needed food immediately upon waking or I was going to get queasy. Since I was staying in a hotel room with my young daughter, this meant room service. I also had granola bars and fruit on hand, but that was not enough to really do the trick some mornings. Had my husband been there, he could have gone in search of a warm bagel and juice, but since he wasn't on this trip, we had to improvise. Thanks goodness Marriott elite status helped defray the cost of most of the breakfast!

travel in third trimester

Take it easy when you need to

Once you are further along in your pregnancy and you actually look pregnant, you will sometimes get a little sympathy or, at least, empathy while traveling. Strangers may offer to help with your bag and people may have more patience with you if you're moving slowly. However, in the first trimester nobody can tell you are pregnant, and no one is going to feel sorry for you. If you act queasy on the plane, you will pretty much be treated like you have Ebola, and any other issue or ailment will pretty much not interest anyone. I once told the flight attendant I was pregnant when she was giving me the eye about looking queasy.

Take care of yourself, don't overdo it and know when to say enough is enough. You may be used to very busy travel days, but now find yourself needing a nap during your first trimester, and that's OK. Listen to your body and adjust accordingly.

Traveling in the second trimester

You have probably heard that the second trimester is generally the easiest of the three trimesters for most expecting moms. You usually aren't as sick and or as tired as in the first trimester, and you aren't as large, uncomfortable and exhausted as in the third trimester. From roughly weeks 13 to 27 of a pregnancy, your activity and comfort levels are often good, and this means that it can be a great time to travel. Couples that like to take "babymoons" (one last couples trip before the baby arrives) often try to schedule them in the second trimester.

Related: The best babymoon destinations for every month of the year

The beginning and end of the second trimester are quite different

You will probably enter the second trimester not really looking pregnant, and end it looking quite different. This means that you may feel very different at the beginning and end of the second trimester. The second trimester is when lots of belly growing happens and this can mean that some types of travel will be more uncomfortable toward the end of these few months of pregnancy than at the beginning.

travel in third trimester

Consider where you are comfortable traveling

A very personal and important decision to make during the second trimester is to determine if there are certain restrictions you will place on yourself in terms of where you're comfortable traveling. Some types of travel will ban women from traveling during the second trimester. For example, many cruise lines will not allow a woman to book a cruise if she will enter her 24th week of pregnancy (or later) while on the voyage.

Royal Caribbean's policy bars pregnant women from sailing at and after the 24th week. It was developed in concert with the Cruise Lines International Association endorsement of the American College of Emergency Physicians Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities .

Many consider unborn fetuses to be viable if born beginning around 24 weeks (though that age threshold is getting earlier and earlier). This means that a baby born at 24 weeks gestation would have anywhere from a 50% to 70% chance of survival outside the womb if (and only if) there is immediate access to advanced medical care. A cruise ship clearly doesn't have an advanced neonatal care unit on board, so presumably the policy is related to why cruise lines draw the line for pregnant passengers.

I personally draw the line for travel at 23 or 24 weeks when talking about destinations that don't have the same level of advanced medical care as the United States -- or long flights or a flight path that could hinder prompt access to advanced medical care if I happened to unexpectedly go into labor. The Maldives is an example of somewhere I would not want to travel in this instance because there would be significant delays in obtaining medical care on these remote islands.

Plan big, but not too big

The second trimester is a great time to squeeze in a pre-baby trip or two since you will probably feel relatively like to your pre-pregnant self much of the time. We went to Aruba when I was 14 weeks pregnant and it was a fantastic trip. I had lots of energy and a normal appetite. Flying was not uncomfortable because my belly was still pretty small and the only real adjustment was to make sure I had a somewhat larger bathing suit before the trip.

At 23 weeks, I traveled to Spain and still felt pretty energetic and "normal." I will admit that the flight in economy wasn't super comfortable since I did have a belly that was hindering curling up in positions that usually help me sleep on the plane, but our time on the ground in Spain wasn't really impacted at all by the pregnancy other than missing out on the Spanish wine.

The great thing about both of those trips was that they were at my own pace. This meant that if I didn't feel like doing much one afternoon, I could take it easy. Even though you may feel great in the second trimester, you can still tire more quickly than normal, so be sure to limit your vacation activities to those you can manage. There are also activities that some doctors might advise against by the second trimester like thrill rides, scuba diving or horseback riding, so double-check any restrictions before planning more adventurous outings.

travel in third trimester

Traveling in the third trimester

Pregnancy isn't an illness or disease. For many families, it's just a normal phase in a woman's life before a new baby joins the family. Assuming things are going well, it's not a time when you have to cancel all travel. However, once the third trimester rolls around, travel can get a more complicated and does eventually have to stop.

The beginning and end of the third trimester are quite different

Changes come even more quickly in the third trimester. You enter the third trimester about 28 weeks pregnant and end it with a newborn. This means that types of travel that are possible at 27 and 28 weeks pregnant may be inadvisable, or even prohibited, at 37 and 38 weeks pregnant.

Select destinations and activities carefully

In the final months of pregnancy, some activities are probably going to be more comfortable and enjoyable than others. For example, swimming and spa time may be exactly what you need.

I give strong preference to visiting beach and resort destinations in the final trimester. Trust me when I say that few activities are as comfortable in the third trimester as floating in the water! We went to The Phoenician (a Marriott property) in Scottsdale, Arizona, when I was about 31 weeks pregnant and even with my big belly, it was the perfect mix of spa, swimming and fun activities for our 5 year old before both our lives changed.

travel in third trimester

You are going to get uncomfortable

Maybe this isn't universal and there are some magical creatures out there who never feel uncomfortable during pregnancy, but every mom I know eventually hit a point in her pregnancy when she wasn't comfortable. For many, this means that sitting for an extended time in a small airline seat, standing in long lines or trekking around in the heat to explore a city all day eventually become pretty miserable activities.

No one can tell you when you will hit that point, but it will likely happen in the third trimester. For me, my back started giving me a bunch of trouble at around week 30 or 31. I was incredibly grateful there were no more flights scheduled during that pregnancy beyond that point.

If you are going to fly during the later weeks of your third trimester and have the ability to secure a more comfortable seat up front, or at least one with extra legroom so you can stretch out, it may well be a good investment in your comfort. I brought a tennis ball with me when I flew so I could give myself a bit of a "back massage" against the airplane seat.

travel in third trimester

Bring your own pillows

Sleep becomes a challenge in the third trimester for many women and a pillow fort of sorts becomes a necessity to get some good shut-eye. Many pregnant moms find that using some sort of body pillow or pillow arrangement helps to keep their bellies supported and comfortable at night. You can't assume that the hotel will have similar pillows, so bring your own if they become essential to good rest in your third trimester. I had no shame in hauling my pillow fort with me on our last road trip at eight months pregnant.

See if you are allowed to fly

Even if your doctor OKs it, many airlines have rules about women flying in the third trimester. Check out airline rules for traveling while pregnant for complete details, but generally speaking, most U.S. airlines don't have many flight restrictions until the last month of pregnancy. However, many international airlines do have restrictions and documentation requirements beginning at 28 weeks. If you are pregnant with more than one baby, the restrictions kick in even earlier.

Decide when to stop traveling

I'm all for traveling while pregnant but, realistically, most women will want to stop traveling at some point in the third trimester. I would imagine by about 36 or 37 weeks, most women will probably decide to stay closer to home. I went on a road trip about three hours from home at 35 weeks and then called it quits for the rest of the pregnancy. There's still a whole new world of travel waiting once a new baby joins the family .

travel in third trimester

Bottom line

There is usually no reason to stop traveling when you're expecting. During my last pregnancy, I went on 12 trips, 28 flights, visited four countries and I'm very glad I had the opportunity to stay that active. I'm also glad that I grounded myself from flight after 31 weeks and from road trips at 35 weeks because those were the right decisions for my comfort level.

Healthy Pregnancy

Tips For Having a Healthy Pregnancy

Traveling While Pregnant: Tips and Cautions for Traveling During the Third Trimester

Reisen im dritten Trimester: Empfehlungen und Vorsichtsmaßnahmen 3

In today’s modern world, it’s often necessary to travel while you’re pregnant. While it’s best to restrict your activity during the third trimester, it’s still possible to travel safely provided you adhere to some basic principles. The comfort levels and safety of traveling while pregnant vary dramatically from one month to the other. Traveling during the first two trimesters is generally regarded as safe with no restrictions. The first trimester is often completely safe, but you may experience a bit more fatigue during this time. Only pregnant women that have been advised by their doctor to avoid travel during the first two trimesters should be concerned. Generally, airlines will prohibit you from traveling in your ninth month of pregnancy and some may limit your travel before then.

The Case for Avoiding Travel

Traveling While Pregnant: Tips and Cautions for Traveling During the Third Trimester 4

Complications of Pregnancy

While most women can travel throughout the majority of their pregnancy and into the beginning of their third trimester, there are some women who should minimize all travel. Women who experience preterm contractions, pregnancy-induced hypertension, bleeding or gestational diabetes should limit their travel at all stages. If you feel a need to travel with any of these conditions, aim for short trips that are close to home. Often, you can find enjoyable activities within a 30-minute drive of any location. Your pregnancy is a good time to become more familiar with your home and area if you are in the high-risk pregnancy group.

Best Modes of Travel

Traveling While Pregnant: Tips and Cautions for Traveling During the Third Trimester 3

Traveling by train is another good option for your first two trimesters. It should generally be avoided in the third trimester, but at other times it can be an enjoyable way of going a long distance. Traveling by train offers the convenience of a bathroom when you need it, comfortable seats and the ability to walk around whenever needed.

Boat traveling is also okay during the first two trimesters. Since most boats have medical personnel available, you should be able to get the help you need should a problem arise. Check with the cruise ship to ensure they will be able to accommodate you. Some insurance plans may not cover issues that occur aboard boats during a pregnancy since it’s not seen as an essential mode of transportation.

Flying is a good option during your first two trimesters, but many airlines may prohibit you from traveling during the third trimester without a recent note from your doctor. In some cases, they may not allow travel at all. It’s important to check with the airline you plan to travel with ahead of your travel dates to ensure you won’t experience any issues with the airline’s policies. If you have connecting flights, leave enough time to get between flights so that you don’t have to hurry. Drink lots of water or juice and wear support hose while flying to keep your circulation going.

When to Avoid Travel

Traveling While Pregnant: Tips and Cautions for Traveling During the Third Trimester 2

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Pregnant Travelers

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Pregnant travelers can generally travel safely with appropriate preparation. But they should avoid some destinations, including those with risk of Zika and malaria. Learn more about traveling during pregnancy and steps you can take to keep you and your baby healthy.

Before Travel

Before you book a cruise or air travel, check the airlines or cruise operator policies for pregnant women. Some airlines will let you fly until 36 weeks, but others may have an earlier cutoff. Cruises may not allow you to travel after 24–28 weeks of pregnancy, and you may need to have a note from your doctor stating you are fit to travel.

Zika and Malaria

Zika can cause severe birth defects. The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites and sex. If you are pregnant, do not travel to  areas with risk of Zika . If you must travel to an area with Zika, use  insect repellent  and take other steps to avoid bug bites. If you have a sex partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, you should use condoms for the rest of your pregnancy.

Pregnant travelers should avoid travel to areas with malaria, as it can be more severe in pregnant women. Malaria increases the risk for serious pregnancy problems, including premature birth, miscarriage, and stillbirth. If you must travel to an area with malaria, talk to your doctor about taking malaria prevention medicine. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes, so use  insect repellent and take other steps to avoid bug bites.

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider or a travel health specialist  that takes place at least one month before you leave. They can help you get destination-specific vaccines, medicines, and information. Discussing your health concerns, itinerary, and planned activities with your provider allows them to give more specific advice and recommendations.

Plan for the unexpected. It is important to plan for unexpected events as much as possible. Doing so can help you get quality health care or avoid being stranded at a destination. A few steps you can take to plan for unexpected events are to  get travel insurance ,    learn where to get health care during travel ,  pack a travel health kit ,  and  enroll in the Department of State’s STEP .

Be sure your healthcare policy covers pregnancy and neonatal complications while overseas. If it doesn’t get travel health insurance that covers those items. Consider getting medical evacuation insurance too.

Recognize signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention, including pelvic or abdominal pain, bleeding, contractions, symptoms of preeclampsia (unusual swelling, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, and vision changes), and dehydration.

Prepare a  travel health kit . Pregnant travelers may want to include in your kit prescription medications, hemorrhoid cream, antiemetic drugs, antacids, prenatal vitamins, medication for vaginitis or yeast infection, and support hose, in addition to the items recommended for all travelers.

During Travel

Your feet may become swollen on a long flight, so wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing and try to walk around every hour or so. Sitting for a long time, like on long flight, increases your chances of getting blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis. Pregnant women are also more likely to get blood clots. To reduce your risk of a blood clot, your doctor may recommend compression stockings or leg exercises you can do in your seat. Also, see CDC’s Blood Clots During Travel page for more tips on how to avoid blood clots during travel.

Choose safe food and drink. Contaminated food or drinks can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases and disrupt your travel. Travelers to low or middle income destinations are especially at risk. Generally, foods served hot are usually safe to eat as well as dry and packaged foods. Bottled, canned, and hot drinks are usually safe to drink. Learn more about how to choose safer  food and drinks  to prevent getting sick.

Pregnant women should not use bismuth subsalicylate, which is in Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate. Travelers to low or middle income  destinations  are more likely to get sick from food or drinks. Iodine tablets for water purification should not be used since they can harm thyroid development of the fetus.

After Travel

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If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider immediately, and tell them about your travel. Avoid contact with other people while you are sick.

More Information

CDC Yellow Book: Pregnant Travelers

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What to Know If You're Traveling While Pregnant

Your guide to cruising, road tripping, and flying when pregnant, including how to prepare, what to pack, when to go, and more.

Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.

travel in third trimester

You might think you have travel all figured out — you can pack your carry-on like a pro and have a knack for finding deals on everything from rental cars to train tickets — but add pregnancy into the mix and you could be thrown for a loop. With a literal baby on board, your awareness of things like Zika, long-haul flights , and food poisoning are heightened. You want to get out there, but you also know you need to do it safely.

So, where do you draw the line? What constitutes safe travel and when is it OK to hit the road, skies, and waters? To answer these sensitive questions, we spoke with Pamela Berens, MD, professor of OB-GYN with McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, for a dose of expert advice.

When You Should and Shouldn't Travel

Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you need to hide out in your house for nine months, but it does mean you should keep a few things in mind. "Traveling in the first trimester could be uncomfortable if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)," Berens noted. On the flip side, she explained, "Traveling during the third trimester may be a bit physically uncomfortable, especially if the trip is long." In short, your sweet spot in terms of comfort might be the second trimester, although every pregnancy is different. And you should probably stop traveling (at least by air) once you hit 37 weeks.

"Most airlines will allow travel until 37 weeks of pregnancy, but you may need a note from your healthcare provider. Check with the airlines you'll be traveling with for specifics," said Berens.

What to Do Before You Go

Before booking a flight or hop aboard a cruise ship, talk to your doctor or midwife. They know you and your pregnancy experience so far and will be able to give you personalized advice on what sort of travel is and isn't a good idea.

"If you have a complicated pregnancy, speaking with your prenatal provider is even more important. If something happens while you're traveling, it's important for the health providers to know the details of your complications and specific plans related to your delivery or any special care needs you might have for your baby," advised Berens.

Either way, you'll need to ask yourself a few questions before traveling internationally. "The big consideration here is what would happen if you experienced a complication while traveling to a foreign country. Can you speak the language? How good is the medical care? What insurance coverage do you have while traveling abroad? I have, unfortunately, had patients who delivered a preterm infant in a foreign country. They had to stay there for quite some time until the baby could be discharged and had communication difficulties," said Berens.

What to Pack

There are plenty of things pregnant women might want to bring along on a trip — from anti-nausea medicine and compression socks to plenty of water and snacks. But one thing many women don't think about is their prenatal records.

"Always have access to your prenatal records when traveling, just in case," said Berens. That way, if you end up laboring while you are away from home, the new hospital or doctor will be able to access your history and come prepared. If you're traveling close to your due date, you'll also need to bring a note from your healthcare provider. On American Airlines, for example, you must provide a doctor's certificate stating that you've been examined and are fit to fly if your due date is within four weeks of your flight.

What to Watch Out For

If you're used to eating street food and drinking local water when traveling internationally, you may need to adjust your habits. Berens suggests sticking to bottled water, noting, "It's very unpleasant to experience a diarrheal food borne illness while pregnant."

In addition to paying extra attention to food and water, you'll also need to keep an eye on the health situation in the country you're visiting. The Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, is particularly dangerous to your unborn baby. "In areas of mosquito borne illnesses, wear long sleeves and pants. Keep covered. Use an insect repellent," said Berens. It's always a good idea to check for travel advisories before booking your trip.

In addition, all pregnant travelers — domestic and international — will need keep a close eye on their health and bodily functions while traveling. "Notify your care provider for bleeding, change in discharge, increased contractions, or a decrease in your baby's movements if you are over around 24 weeks of pregnancy," said Berens.

Flying While Pregnant

Air travel is usually safe for pregnant women, but you won't want to pop in your headphones and settle in for the duration of your long-haul flight .

"Pregnancy itself causes an increased risk of blood clots. Air travel and prolonged immobility can also increase your risk of blood clots," said Berens, suggesting that pregnant women "stay well hydrated, move around every few hours , and make sure to keep good circulation in [their] legs."

Chances are, when you get up to stretch your legs, you'll also need to use the bathroom. "There is often more pelvic pressure and pressure on your bladder in the third trimester, so you may need to stop and use the restroom more frequently," said Berens.

Because you'll be getting up and walking around more than most travelers, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests booking an aisle seat and moving your feet, toes, and legs often. For your comfort, you'll want to skip carbonated drinks and wear your seat belt low on your hip bones, below your belly.

Traveling by Car or Train While Pregnant

Just like air travel, long-haul road trips and train journeys mean a lot of sitting and not a lot of moving. To avoid problems with blood clots, Berens suggests walking around every few hours.

For road trips, you'll also want to plan out stops along the way where you can stretch your legs and use the bathroom.

Traveling by Cruise Ship While Pregnant

Many women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester of pregnancy, two conditions that might be increased when you hop aboard that luxe cruise. "If you are not familiar with boat or cruise ship travel , you may want to try this first when you are not pregnant. You may need additional medication for nausea and vomiting," warned Berens.

What to Keep in Mind With COVID-19

COVID-19 has made travel complicated for everyone, but pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness . Berens recommends that pregnant women finish their vaccinations before traveling, also adding, "Mask up! Stay six feet apart, and maintain good hand hygiene."

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Traveling While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Special considerations for traveling while pregnant.

Traveling during pregnancy is normal and a lot of women do it. But it's important to think about potential problems that could come up during international travel. Also think about how you would get quality health care in the countries you are visiting. Get all of the vaccines you need before becoming pregnant instead of waiting to get them during pregnancy.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the safest time for a woman to travel is in the second trimester of her pregnancy, from 14 to 28 weeks. This is the time when you will feel your best. You are also at the lowest risk for spontaneous abortion or premature labor. During the third trimester (25 to 40 weeks), many healthcare providers and midwives advise staying within a 300-mile radius of home because of potential problems such as high blood pressure, phlebitis, and false or preterm labor. Generally, women are not allowed to travel by air after 36 weeks for domestic travel, and after 28 to 35 weeks for international travel. The decision on whether to travel and how far to travel at any time during pregnancy should be a joint decision between you and your healthcare provider or midwife.

According to the CDC, pregnant women with the following conditions may be advised against traveling to countries that require pre-travel vaccines. This list may be incomplete. So discuss your health history with your provider or midwife before planning travel:

History of miscarriage

Incompetent cervix

History of ectopic pregnancy

History of premature labor or premature rupture of membranes

History of or current placental abnormalities

Threatened miscarriage or vaginal bleeding during current pregnancy

Multiple fetuses in current pregnancy

History of toxemia, high blood pressure, or diabetes with any pregnancy

History of infertility or trouble getting pregnant

Pregnancy for the first time over the age of 35 years

Heart valve disease or congestive heart failure

History of blood clots

Severe anemia

Chronic organ system problems that need to be treated 

You may also be advised against traveling to places that may have hazards. The list below may be incomplete. Talk about your travel plans with your healthcare provider or midwife before planning a trip.

Places with high altitudes

Places that have outbreaks of life-threatening food- or insect-borne infections

Places where malaria is common

Places where live-virus vaccines are needed or recommended

Healthy tips for traveling while pregnant

Here are tips for traveling while pregnant:

Try to plan ahead for any problems or emergencies that could come up before you travel. Check that your health insurance is valid while you are abroad. Also check to see whether the plan will cover a newborn, should you deliver while away. You may want to think about getting a supplemental travel and medical evacuation insurance.

Research medical facilities in your destination. Women in the last trimester of pregnancy should look for places that can manage complications of pregnancy, toxemia, and cesarean sections.

If you will need prenatal care while you are abroad, arrange for this before you leave. Talk with your healthcare provider or midwife to figure out the best way to handle this.

Know your blood type and check that blood is screened for HIV and hepatitis B in the areas you will be visiting.

Check that safe food and beverages such as bottled water and pasteurized milk are available at your destinations.

If flying, ask for an aisle seat at the bulkhead. This gives you the most space and comfort. If morning sickness is a problem, try to arrange travel during a time of day when you generally feel well. Seats over the wing in the midplane region will give you the smoothest ride.

Try to walk every half-hour during a smooth flight. Flex and extend your ankles often to prevent blood clots in the veins (thrombophlebitis).

Fasten your seat belt at the pelvis level, below your hips.

Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Aircraft cabins have low humidity.

Try to rest as much as possible while away. Exercise and activity during pregnancy are important. But try not to overdo it.

Special considerations for traveling while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding gives babies the most nutritional start in life. It also gives them vital protection against certain infections. But traveling internationally while nursing can be challenging.

If you are breastfeeding only, you don't have to worry about sterilizing bottles or having clean water. You may get vaccines to protect against disease, depending on where you are traveling. But diseases such as yellow fever, measles, and meningococcal meningitis may be a threat to infants who can't be vaccinated at birth. Discuss this with both your healthcare provider or midwife and your infant's care giver before you travel.

If you are feeding your baby formula, it's best to use powdered formula made with boiled water. You may also want to carry a supply of prepared infant formula in cans or ready-to-feed bottles for emergencies.

Breastfeeding helps lower the chance of your baby getting traveler's diarrhea. If you get traveler's diarrhea, drink more fluids, and continue to nurse your baby.

Watch your eating and sleeping patterns, as well as your stress levels. This will affect your milk output. Drink more fluids. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine, as well as exposure to smoke.

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Traveling While Pregnant

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Planning to travel while you're pregnant? You'll want to know what's safe, what isn't, and which precautions to take before, during, and after your trip.

There are several factors that can affect travel during your pregnancy: your pregnancy stage when the trip is planned; whether there have been any complications during the pregnancy; the type of travel; and the distance that the trip will take you from home.

Pregnancy Stage: Travel Implications

Travel during the first and second trimesters is usually considered to be safe, although it may be more tiring than usual.

Traveling during the first trimester of pregnancy may pose a few challenges, especially if you're experiencing morning sickness, nausea, or fatigue. And the risk of bleeding or miscarriage is the greatest during these months.

The second trimester is the time in your pregnancy when you probably feel the best and have the most energy. This is a great time for a trip. In fact, vacationing with your partner during this period might be an ideal chance to spend some fun time alone together before the baby arrives!

Travel in the third trimester may be uncomfortable and can be risky, because you could go into labor many miles away from your own healthcare providers and hospital. Some airlines do not let women fly during their last month of pregnancy without a doctor's letter of permission. Quite often, that letter must be written within 72 hours of flight time.

Types of Travel

Traveling by car is likely to be the most comfortable means of getting around during pregnancy. When driving or riding in a car, stop every hour or two and walk around to stretch your legs — this will promote good circulation. Remember to always fasten your seat belt. Place the lap belt portion under your abdomen and position the shoulder harness between your breasts.

Flying shouldn't cause any problems in your first two trimesters. Be sure to:

Plan your schedule so that you're not rushed and have plenty of time between connecting flights

Request an aisle seat so that you have a little more room and can easily get to the bathroom as needed.

Walk up and down the aisle every hour or so to promote circulation in your legs.

While sitting, flex your feet toward your face and make circles with your feet.

Wearing support hose or flight socks also stimulates circulation in your legs when you have to sit for long periods of time.

Drink enough fluids to stay well hydrated.

Travel by boat, particularly if it's a large cruise ship, also should pose no particular problems in the first two trimesters. And most cruise ships have medical personnel aboard should you need assistance. If you're sensitive to motion, you might want to take medication to prevent motion sickness; ask your healthcare provider what would be safe to take during pregnancy. You can also wear the anti-nausea acupressure wristbands that are available over-the-counter at your pharmacy.

Long Distance and International Travel

If you plan to travel far from home, you can be prepared by being sure there are good sources of medical care at your destination. Take your pregnancy records with you, including tests you've had done, medications you're taking, your blood type, and any other information that might be helpful when you're out of town.

If you have to travel out of the country, it is important to take copies of your prescriptions for medications, in case your medications become lost. Be sure your immunizations are up to date before planning a trip to countries where vaccinations are necessary; also, keep in mind that some vaccines may not be safe to update during pregnancy.

Be aware that changes in climate or altitude and types of food could cause you more discomfort when you're pregnant. Limit exertion for a couple days after your arrival at your destination, particularly if the climate is hot or the altitude is high; this will allow your body to adjust to these changes.

In addition to the above considerations, always consult your healthcare provider before planning a trip, particularly if you'll be experiencing changes in altitude. She may be able to give you a medical contact in the area of your destination, in case you'd need to see a physician while you're away from home.

With a little advance planning and some wise precautions, travel during your pregnancy can be safe and enjoyable. Bon voyage!

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Travelling in pregnancy

With the proper precautions such as travel insurance, most women can travel safely well into their pregnancy.

Wherever you go, find out what healthcare facilities are at your destination in case you need urgent medical attention. It's a good idea to take your maternity medical records (sometimes called handheld notes) with you so you can give doctors the relevant information if necessary.

Find out more about getting healthcare abroad .

Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any eventuality, such as pregnancy-related medical care during labour, premature birth and the cost of changing the date of your return trip if you go into labour .

When to travel in pregnancy

Some women prefer not to travel in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because of  nausea and vomiting and feeling very tired during these early stages. The risk of  miscarriage is also higher in the first 3 months, whether you're travelling or not.

Travelling in the final months of pregnancy can be tiring and uncomfortable. So, many women find the best time to travel or take a holiday is in mid-pregnancy, between 4 and 6 months.

Flying in pregnancy

Flying isn't harmful to you or your baby, but discuss any health issues or pregnancy complications with your midwife or doctor before you fly.

The chance of going into labour is naturally higher after  37 weeks (around 32 weeks if you're carrying twins), and some airlines won't let you fly towards the end of your pregnancy. Check with the airline for their policy on this.

After week 28 of pregnancy, the airline may ask for a letter from your doctor or midwife confirming your due date, and that you are not at risk of complications. You may have to pay for the letter and wait several weeks before you get it.

Long-distance travel (longer than 4 hours) carries a small risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis (DVT)) . If you fly, drink plenty of water and move about regularly – every 30 minutes or so. You can buy a pair of graduated compression or support stockings from the pharmacy, which will help reduce leg swelling.

Travel vaccinations when you're pregnant

Most vaccines that use live bacteria or viruses aren't recommended during pregnancy because of concerns that they could harm the baby in the womb.

However, some live travel vaccines may be considered during pregnancy if the risk of infection outweighs the risk of live vaccination. Ask your GP or midwife for advice about specific travel vaccinations. Non-live (inactivated) vaccines are safe to use in pregnancy.

Malaria tablets

Some anti-malaria tablets aren't safe to take in pregnancy so ask your GP for advice.

Zika virus is mainly spread by mosquitoes found in some parts of the world. For most people it's mild and not harmful, but can cause problems if you're pregnant.

If you are pregnant, it is not recommended to travel to parts of the world where the Zika virus is present, such as parts of:

  • South and Central America
  • the Caribbean
  • the Pacific islands

Check before you travel

It's important to check the risk for the country you're going to before you travel.

Find out more about the Zika virus risk in specific countries on the Travel Health Pro website

Car travel in pregnancy

It's best to avoid long car journeys if you're pregnant. However, if it can't be avoided, make sure you stop regularly and get out of the car to stretch and move around.

You can also do some exercises in the car (when you're not driving), such as flexing and rotating your feet and wiggling your toes. This will keep the blood flowing through your legs and reduce any stiffness and discomfort. Wearing compression stockings while on long car journeys (more than 4 hours) can also increase the blood flow in your legs and help prevent blood clots.

Tiredness and dizziness are common during pregnancy so it's important on car journeys to drink regularly and eat natural, energy-giving foods, such as fruit and nuts.

Keep the air circulating in the car and wear your seatbelt with the cross strap between your breasts and the lap strap across your pelvis under your bump, not across your bump.

Road accidents are among the most common causes of injury in pregnant women. If you have to make a long trip, don't travel on your own. You could also share the driving with your companion.

Sailing in pregnancy

Ferry companies have their own restrictions and may refuse to carry heavily pregnant women (often beyond 32 weeks on standard crossings and 28 weeks on high-speed crossings ). Check the ferry company's policy before you book.

For longer boat trips, such as cruises, find out if there are onboard facilities to deal with pregnancy and medical services at the docking ports.

Food and drink abroad in pregnancy

Take care to avoid food- and water-borne conditions, such as stomach upsets and travellers' diarrhoea . Some medicines for treating stomach upsets and travellers' diarrhoea aren't suitable during pregnancy.

Always check if tap water is safe to drink. If in doubt, drink bottled water. If you get ill, keep hydrated and continue eating for the health of your baby, even if you're not hungry.

Find out about a healthy diet in pregnancy , and foods to avoid in pregnancy .

Page last reviewed: 17 August 2022 Next review due: 17 August 2025

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Travel During Pregnancy

As long as there are no identified complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is generally safe to travel during your pregnancy. The ideal time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester .  In most cases, you are past the morning sickness of the first trimester and several weeks from the third stage of pregnancy when you are more easily fatigued .

Is it safe to travel during pregnancy?

Traveling by air is considered safe for women while they are pregnant; however, the following ideas might make your trip safer and more comfortable.

  • Most airlines allow pregnant women to travel through their eighth month. Traveling during the ninth month is usually allowed if there is permission from your health care provider.
  • Most airlines have narrow aisles and smaller bathrooms, which makes it more challenging to walk and more uncomfortable when using the restroom. Because of potential turbulence that could shake the plane, make sure you are holding on to the seatbacks while navigating the aisle.
  • You may want to choose an aisle seat which will allow you to get up more easily to reach the restroom or just to stretch your legs and back.
  • Travel on major airlines with pressurized cabins and avoid smaller private planes. If you must ride in smaller planes, avoid altitudes above 7,000 feet.
  • Although doubtful, the risk of DVT can be further reduced by wearing compression stockings.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the International Air Travel Association recommend that expecting mothers in an uncomplicated pregnancy avoid travel from the 37th week of pregnancy through birth. Avoiding travel from 32 weeks through birth is recommended for women who have complicated pregnancies with risk factors for premature labor, such as mothers carrying multiples.

Risk factors that warrant travel considerations include the following:

  • Severe anemia
  • Cardiac disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Recent hemorrhage
  • Current or recent bone fractures

Traveling by Sea During Pregnancy

Traveling by sea is generally safe for women while they are pregnant; the motion of the boat may accentuate any morning sickness or make you feel nauseous all over again. There are a few considerations to make your trip safer and more comfortable:

  • Check with the cruise line to ensure that there is a health care provider on board in case there are any pregnancy complications .
  • Review the route and port-of-calls to identify if there is access to any medical facilities if needed.
  • Make sure any medications for seasickness are approved for women who are pregnant and that there is no risk to the developing baby.
  • Seasickness bands use acupressure points to help prevent upset stomach and maybe a good alternative to medication.

International Travel During Pregnancy

Traveling overseas has the same considerations that local or domestic travel has, but it also has additional concerns that you need to know about before making an international trip. The information below is provided to help you assess whether an international trip is good for you at this time:

  • It is important to talk with your health care provider before you take a trip internationally to discuss safety factors for you and your baby.
  • Discuss immunizations with your health care provider and carry a copy of your health records with you.
  • With international travel, you may be exposed to a disease that is rare here in the United States but is common in the country you visit.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at (800) 311-3435 or visit their website at www.cdc.gov to receive safety information along with immunization facts related to your travels.
  • Diarrhea is a common concern when traveling overseas because you may not be used to the germs and organisms found in the food and water of other countries. This can lead to a problem of dehydration .

Here are some tips to avoid diarrhea and help keep you safe:

  • Drink plenty of bottled water
  • Used canned juices or soft drinks as alternatives
  • Make sure the milk is pasteurized
  • Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or can be peeled (such as an orange or a banana)
  • Make certain that all meat and fish has been cooked completely; if you are unsure, do not eat it

Travel Tips During Pregnancy

Whether you are going by car, bus, or train, it is generally safe to travel while you are pregnant; however, there are some things to consider that could make your trip safer and more comfortable.

  • It is essential to buckle-up every time you ride in a car. Make sure that you use both the lap and shoulder belts for the best protection of you and your baby.
  • Keep the airbags turned on. The safety benefits of the airbag outweigh any potential risk to you and your baby.
  • Buses tend to have narrow aisles and small restrooms. This mode of transportation can be more challenging.  The safest thing is to remain seated while the bus is moving. If you must use the restroom, make sure to hold on to the rail or seats to keep your balance.
  • Trains usually have more room to navigate and walk. The restrooms are usually small. It is essential to hold on to rails or seat backs while the train is moving.
  • Try to limit the amount of time you are cooped up in the car, bus, or train. Keep travel time around five to six hours.
  • Use rest stops to take short walks and to do stretches to keep the blood circulating.
  • Dress comfortably in loose cotton clothing and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Take your favorite pillow.
  • Plan for plenty of rest stops, restroom breaks and stretches.
  • Carry snack foods with you.
  • If you are traveling any distance, make sure to carry a copy of your prenatal records.
  • Enjoy the trip.

Want to Know More?

  • How to Treat Jet Lag Naturally During Pregnancy

Compiled using information from the following sources:

1. Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth Third Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 5. William’s Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.

2. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Air Travel and Pregnancy (Scientific Impact Paper No. 1), https://www.rcog.org/uk, May 22, 2013.

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travel in third trimester

By Kate Zernike

Two more states with near-total abortion bans are poised to have citizen-sponsored measures on the ballot this year that would allow voters to reverse those bans by establishing a right to abortion in their state constitutions.

On Friday, a coalition of abortion rights groups in Missouri turned in 380,159 signatures to put the amendment on the ballot, more than double the 172,000 signatures required by law. The Missouri organizers’ announcement followed a petition drive in South Dakota that announced on Wednesday that it, too, had turned in many more signatures than required for a ballot amendment there.

Both groups are hoping to build on the momentum of other states where abortion rights supporters have prevailed in seven out of seven ballot measures in the two years since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had established a constitutional right to abortion for nearly five decades.

Groups in about 10 other states have secured spots on the ballot for abortion rights measures or are collecting signatures to do so. Those include Arizona and Nevada, swing states where Democrats are hoping that voters who are newly energized around abortion rights will help President Biden win re-election.

South Dakota and Missouri are reliably Republican states. But their bans are among the strictest in the nation, outlawing abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Missouri, where post-Roe polls show that a majority of voters want abortion to be legal in all or most cases, appears to offer abortion rights groups the bigger chance of success. But both measures face significant hurdles.

Republicans who control the Missouri legislature are pushing another ballot question that would appear before voters in August and make it harder for future ballot amendments to succeed.

That measure would raise the threshold for victory, requiring not only a majority of voters statewide but a majority of voters in five out of the state’s eight congressional districts. Abortion rights supporters fear the requirement would allow a minority in rural areas that tend to oppose abortion rights to vote down the amendment.

Missouri legislators are expected to vote on that measure before their session ends this month. State officials will also have to decide whether the abortion rights measure appears on the primary election ballot in August, when turnout tends to be light, or in the general election in November.

The state’s Republican leaders have attempted to keep the measure from going before voters for more than a year. The secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft, attempted to change the language of the ballot measure in ways that could have inflamed fears that it would lead to dangerous and unregulated abortions; supporters of the measure successfully sued to block him.

The amendment in Missouri i s similar to ones passed in Ohio and Michigan. It would establish “the right to make and carry out decisions about all matters relating to reproductive health care,” including abortion. The Legislature could regulate abortion after the point when, “in the good faith judgment” of the treating health care professional, the fetus could survive outside the uterus without “extraordinary medical measures.”

In South Dakota, getting the signatures certified could be a challenge because Republican legislators passed a law in March allowing signers to withdraw their support. Backers of the amendment collected about 55,000 signatures, 20,000 more than needed, but anti-abortion groups are working to collect enough reversals to keep the measure off the ballot.

The amendment effort in South Dakota has been largely driven by one group, Dakotans for Health. Planned Parenthood and other usual allies of abortion rights have declined to support the effort. The groups say that the ballot amendment leaves open the possibility that the legislature could continue to regulate abortion so heavily that the amendment would allow, in the words of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, “abortion in name only.”

The South Dakota amendment would prohibit the state from regulating “a pregnant woman’s abortion decision and its effectuation” during the first trimester, but would allow regulations on the procedure during the second trimester only in ways that are “reasonably related to the physical health of the pregnant woman.” In the third trimester, the state could regulate and even ban abortion, as long as the ban included exceptions for the “life or health of the pregnant woman.”

South Dakota is one of a handful of states where polls show that less than a majority of voters — 47 percent in a recent survey — believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. (The other states in that same survey were North Dakota, Arkansas, Idaho, and Utah.)

Kate Zernike is a national reporter at The Times. More about Kate Zernike

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COMMENTS

  1. Travel During Pregnancy

    Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, and nausea and vomiting. While you are pregnant, you should not travel to areas where there is risk of malaria, including Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. If travel to these areas cannot be avoided, your ob-gyn may prescribe an antimalarial drug that is safe to use during pregnancy.

  2. When to stop traveling when pregnant

    Download any apps you use for renting cars and accessing boarding passes before you leave so you can easily reschedule things in the event of a last-minute cancellation. If you're flying during your third trimester, be sure to call the airline to check about the cutoff week for pregnancy travel. A note from your doctor that says you're ...

  3. Traveling in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy: My Best Tips

    Most people don't realize that you can still travel just fine in the third trimester. Despite what you can read in many bias articles and forums, you can fly freely until 36 weeks. Naturally, assuming that you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. While most people might prefer to stay at home and nest in the third trimester, I didn't feel that ...

  4. Pregnancy Travel Tips: Is It Safe to Travel While Pregnant?

    If you're planning to travel during pregnancy, here's when to plan your trip and strategies to make long trips more comfortable and safe. ... your doctor may advise against traveling at all in the third trimester. Just because you're feeling physically up to traveling, though, doesn't necessarily mean you'll be allowed to travel. Even in ...

  5. What To Know About Traveling While Pregnant

    Most people can safely travel by airplane during pregnancy, but talk to your healthcare provider ahead of time to make sure you don't have any medical conditions that could cause a complication ...

  6. Air travel during pregnancy: Is it safe?

    If your health care provider says it's okay for you to fly, and your plans are flexible, the best time to travel by air might be during the second trimester. The risks of common pregnancy emergencies are lowest during that time. When you fly: Buckle up. During the trip, keep your seatbelt fastened when you are seated, and secure it under your ...

  7. What it's like to travel during each trimester of pregnancy

    The beginning and end of the third trimester are quite different. Changes come even more quickly in the third trimester. You enter the third trimester about 28 weeks pregnant and end it with a newborn. This means that types of travel that are possible at 27 and 28 weeks pregnant may be inadvisable, or even prohibited, at 37 and 38 weeks pregnant.

  8. Tips for Traveling While Pregnant in the Third Trimester

    It should generally be avoided in the third trimester, but at other times it can be an enjoyable way of going a long distance. Traveling by train offers the convenience of a bathroom when you need it, comfortable seats and the ability to walk around whenever needed. Boat traveling is also okay during the first two trimesters.

  9. Pregnant Travelers

    Pregnant travelers should avoid travel to areas with malaria, as it can be more severe in pregnant women. Malaria increases the risk for serious pregnancy problems, including premature birth, miscarriage, and stillbirth. If you must travel to an area with malaria, talk to your doctor about taking malaria prevention medicine.

  10. What to Know If You're Traveling While Pregnant

    In short, your sweet spot in terms of comfort might be the second trimester, although every pregnancy is different. And you should probably stop traveling (at least by air) once you hit 37 weeks.

  11. Traveling in Your Third Trimester

    It's recommended to restrict long-term over-land travel during your third trimester. Again, that final month before you're due should be spent resting and preparing. While traveling by car or train isn't as restrictive as flying, there are still some considerations you need to make when traveling later in your pregnancy.

  12. Pregnancy Travel: Traveling Safely by Air, Car, and Cruise Ship

    Pregnancy travel by car has some of the same risks and rules as traveling by plane, says Nye. "The big problem is blood clots," she says. "If you are in a car and driving long distances, get out ...

  13. Traveling While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the safest time for a woman to travel is in the second trimester of her pregnancy, from 14 to 28 weeks. This is the time when you will feel your best. You are also at the lowest risk for spontaneous abortion or premature labor. During the third trimester (25 to 40 weeks), many ...

  14. Traveling While Pregnant

    Travel in the third trimester may be uncomfortable and can be risky, because you could go into labor many miles away from your own healthcare providers and hospital. Some airlines do not let women fly during their last month of pregnancy without a doctor's letter of permission. Quite often, that letter must be written within 72 hours of flight ...

  15. Travelling in pregnancy

    When to travel in pregnancy. Some women prefer not to travel in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because of nausea and vomiting and feeling very tired during these early stages. The risk of miscarriage is also higher in the first 3 months, whether you're travelling or not. Travelling in the final months of pregnancy can be tiring and uncomfortable.

  16. Travel During Pregnancy

    Travel During Pregnancy. As long as there are no identified complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is generally safe to travel during your pregnancy. The ideal time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester. In most cases, you are past the morning sickness of the first trimester and several weeks from the third stage of ...

  17. Traveling During Pregnancy

    Third Trimester Travel If you are without complications, traveling up to 36 weeks by car or air is acceptable as long as you are aware of the potential risks. Complications such as hypertension, preterm labor, and premature rupture of membranes often come without warning and can occur quickly requiring medical attention. If you are 36 weeks or ...

  18. Air Travel During Pregnancy

    Occasional air travel during pregnancy is generally safe. Recent cohort studies suggest no increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes for occasional air travelers 1 2. Most commercial airlines allow pregnant women to fly up to 36 weeks of gestation. Some restrict pregnant women from international flights earlier in gestation and some require ...

  19. Third Trimester of Pregnancy: Overview & When It Starts

    The third trimester consists of the final three months of pregnancy — or from weeks 28 to 40 (or until delivery). A pregnancy consists of three trimesters which each consist of roughly 12 weeks. The final months of pregnancy can bring many physical and emotional challenges. It may be harder to get comfortable, and you may be balancing ...

  20. 3rd trimester pregnancy: What to expect

    Pregnancy hormones relax the connective tissue that holds your bones in place, especially in the pelvic area. These changes can be tough on your back, and often result in discomfort during the third trimester of pregnancy. When you sit, choose chairs with good back support. Get regular exercise.

  21. Disneyland While Pregnant: A Guide to a Magical and Safe Trip

    And of course in the third trimester, with swollen feet and an aching back, the last thing you might want to be doing is standing in long queues. ... See a full list of shoes we love for travel and theme parks HERE. Ahh, Air Conditioning! Keep rested inside by finding attractions that combine sitting along with cool air. Soak in a little ...

  22. Travelling while pregnant

    You should avoid travelling to an altitude above 3,658 metres (12,000 feet). However, if you have a high-risk pregnancy and/or are in the late stages of pregnancy, the highest altitude should be 2,500 metres (8,200 feet). If you have pregnancy-related complications, you should avoid unnecessary high-altitude exposure.

  23. Missouri and South Dakota Join States Pursuing Abortion Rights

    By Kate Zernike. May 3, 2024. Two more states with near-total abortion bans are poised to have citizen-sponsored measures on the ballot this year that would allow voters to reverse those bans by ...