The Pre-Baby Vacation (cont.)

Babymoon Dos and Don'ts

You're booked, packed, and ready to go. Here are some tips to keep in mind while traveling while expecting.

Flying the friendly skies. When flying, the ACOG recommends that pregnant women get up and walk every half hour if possible and flex and extend their ankles frequently to prevent blood clots. Also, wear your seat belt under your belly, and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Road trips. "Appropriate seat belt use is very important -- buckle it below the bulge of the belly," says Cesario. "It's a big deal because there is a myth that seat belts will hurt the baby, when they really save lives and it's always safer to wear it."

Always travel with a companion. Remember that while you may be on vacation, your heartburn, leg cramps, and frequent bathroom trips are not, so a travel partner at the very least will give you sympathy. More practically, your companion can search for a bathroom for you when you're in the middle of nowhere and need to go.

Know when to seek medical attention. "If a pregnant woman has bleeding, cramping, fever, pain, or contractions, she should seek medical care immediately, wherever she is," says Tabsh.

Don't drink the water. If you're in California, don't worry about it. But if you're in the rain forest in South America, don't drink the water. According to the CDC, hepatitis E, which can be contracted through water, is not vaccine preventable and can be especially dangerous for pregnant women.

"Pregnant women should drink bottled water when traveling in developing areas," says Tabsh. "Also make sure that the meat you eat is thoroughly cooked when traveling, and avoid salads, which might have been washed with tap water that isn't clean."

Avoid mosquitoes more so than usual. Diseases like malaria can be more severe in pregnant women and harmful to a fetus, according to the CDC. So avoid insects by wearing proper clothing, remaining indoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active, using bed nets, and applying DEET-containing repellents. Also, talk to your doctor about preventive medicine.

"If you are traveling to endemic areas of malaria, you should be on anti-malarial medication," says Tabsh.

Avoid scuba diving and anything with impact. "Anything that might have a high impact or high risk of falling, like bicycling or skiing, should be avoided," says Ivester. "Also avoid anything with extreme pressure changes, like scuba diving."

Relax while you still can. "Make it a relaxing vacation," says Cesario. "Enjoy yourself and try not to do too much."

Published Aug. 24, 2004.

SOURCES: Sandra Cesario, MD, College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston; co-chairwoman, continuum of newborn care advisory panel, Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Thomas Ivester, MD, division of maternal fetal medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Khalil Tabsh, MD, chief of obstetrics, UCLA. CDC. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 8:34:26 AM