Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stop traveling solo. There’s no need to cancel that trip to that exotic location (if there are no health warnings for pregnant women!) or that you need to call off the visit to friends and family. Travelling alone is perfectly reasonable.
However, you will want to take a few precautions. You never know when emergencies happen. If you’re not showing yet, people won’t know that you’re pregnant. If you are showing, they won’t know if a medical problem is linked to your pregnancy or another medical condition you may have. By taking these following precautions you can keep yourself and your baby safe.
This is the time to put your health (and the health of your baby) first. Don’t worry about what others think of your precautionary steps. These eight safety tips can help to save lives.
Learn More About the Intended Destination
Before you decide on the trip, make sure you learn as much as possible about your intended destination. This isn’t just about the current health care or political situation. You want to know more about rights for women in specific countries, the customs and laws about pregnant women and cultural expectations. For example, you may be expected to dress in a certain manner or the locals may treat you negatively for choosing to travel alone while pregnant.
But that’s not all. It’s also important to look at the culture and diseases. Talk to your doctor about any health warnings. For example, during the 2016 Brazil Summer Olympics there were concerns about the Zika virus. These concerns are still around and can cause complications for your pregnancy.
If you already have a trip book, consider whether it is going to be wise to cancel or still go. Your doctor can help you make this decision when it comes to health issues.
You will also want to check your health and travel insurance. Make sure it covers you for traveling while pregnant. If not, you’ll likely want to look at upgrading your insurance or canceling your trip. You’ll also need to check that you’re not in the later stages, as this can make you unsafe to fly and some airlines can choose to not allow you to board your plane.
Now, look at where you are staying. While you don’t expect anything to go wrong, you’ll still want to know about local hospitals, the drinking water and the costs for receiving medical care while in the country. You’ll also want to look at pregnancy-friendly activities and check the walking distances, especially if you’re late in pregnancy.
Know where your embassy is. If you lose your passport or there’s a health/legal issue, you can get to your embassy easily and get better help and support. You should also have your embassy’s number in your phone just in case.
Ask Your Doctor for a Fit to Fly
Make sure your doctor gives you a note to say that you are fit to fly. This is especially the case if you plan to travel in the later stages of your pregnancy. The fit to fly note can often be a way to work around the airline expectations on allowing you to travel at a late stage. The airlines just don’t want you to go into labor or have medical problems while on board the flight for the safety of you and other passengers.
Your doctor will also discuss the health-related needs. They’ll go through vaccinations that you should have based on your destination and any medications you’ll want to take with you. Your doctor will also be able to discuss options should you go into early labor or suffer a medical problem.
The more precautions you take, the fewer risks you’ll face when you’re traveling. While you can’t prevent everything, you can take steps to look after your own health and that of your unborn child.
If you are traveling to have your baby in your home country or closer to relatives, let your doctor know. This will help to pass on medical notes or, so you can get a copy of your notes to take with you. There may be a small cost for this, but it’s worthwhile to ensure you get the necessary protection during your trip.
Watch Your Fluid Intake and for Blood Clots
Your fluid intake while traveling is easy to overlook. Many people don’t realize just how dehydrated they’ve become while traveling, especially on a flight. If you are traveling for five+ hours, make sure you have spare bottles of water. You don’t know what the access to water is going to be like during the travel and you want to avoid dehydration problems, which can put your child into distress.
If you can, make sure you walk around every 30 minutes. This is especially important if you’re on a flight. Sitting still for too long increases the risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Look out for orthopedic stockings. Sure, they don’t look fashionable, but they are highly beneficial for your legs. They help to prevent swelling in the legs and reduce the risk of other health problems. You can wear them on flights, trains and even in cars. You may also find they’re useful when you’re walking around to help manage the water retention during your pregnancy.
When you are on a flight, make sure the flight attendants know that you’re pregnant. This will help them understand why you’re walking around so much and will alert them to you quickly if there is a problem. You’ll also find they respond quicker to the call buttons, knowing that you likely would just like more water!
Have Energy-Filled Snacks
You’ll be surprised at how quickly your energy levels can be depleted while you travel, and this is without the added burden of pregnancy. Make sure you have some energy-filled snacks while you travel. A trail mix selection in your bag is highly beneficial. You can add a mixture of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to help keep you going, offering plenty of healthy fats, protein, and fiber to get you through.
Your flight may be peanut or nut free. This is something to call to discuss first before you put your trail mix together. The last thing you want is to find out you’re not going to be able to eat it when you need it!
You’ll also want to consider crackers or ginger biscuits. They can be useful if you have an overnight flight and still struggle with pregnancy sickness. Just a few nibbles can help to reduce the feeling of nausea.
Also, make sure you eat regularly. Small, frequent meals are the general advice for all pregnant women and are highly beneficial when traveling. Not only do you keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day, but you can help to reduce your need to snack and any fainting spells. Opt for more protein-filled dishes to help maintain your hunger levels throughout the day.
Before traveling, opt for a light meal that is mostly protein and fiber based. This will help to prevent pregnancy sickness, which can become worse when traveling or when around strong smells.
Connect with Other Female Travelers
There are plenty of sites that allow you to connect with other travelers. Connecting with other female solo travelers is important, whether you’re pregnant or not. By connecting with them, you’ll know more about the places in a specific area to go, local custom expectations and the places to be wary about.
Getting in touch with other female travelers will also help you learn about the danger spots. You’ll find out about the website to remain clear of and the people who are scammers. People can tell you about the trouble they’ve faced with individuals or with clubs and districts.
You can also find people who are going to the same place as you. This is a great way to make new friends but also find a way to travel solo with other people.
Make sure you do your research on any site you use for connecting with other female travelers. After all, people can be someone who they say they’re not!
Let Someone at Home Know Your Plan
Always make sure there’s someone else who knows where you’re going. This is worthwhile regardless of pregnancy, but during pregnancy, it’s even more important. You need to make sure the people who care about you know where you’re going, what you plan on doing, and when you’ll return. Give them a detailed list of a plan as much as possible.
No, your family is not trying to pry into your holiday. They want you to have fun and explore how you want to, but they want to make sure you are doing it as safely as possible.
If you’re traveling to meet the family, make sure they have an approximate time of arrival. Let them know flight numbers or train times and give them updates along the way. Make it easy for them to check where you are on your journey and call if you get stuck in traffic or have made a detour! Family members who aren’t kept up to date can start panicking!
When traveling somewhere alone, it’s also worth having someone you can call back home. Set up a regular time on a night or during the day to call or text. Calling is better, so they can hear your voice. After all, anyone can text from your phone!
Investigate International Phones and SIM Cards
Get your phone unlocked before you travel. This will allow you to pick up a local SIM card, so you can text and call in the local area without racking up a huge phone bill. This is especially beneficial if you do need to make a local call to the doctors or hospital due to your pregnancy or a health problem.
While you can call from your own phone, it will be a cost you’re constantly thinking about. Your phone provider may also block you from making phone calls from outside of the country.
Another option is to pick up a cheap phone from home or in the country you’re visiting. The cheaper phones are less likely to be stolen and you can keep it with you throughout your trip and afterward as a backup.
Don’t forget to let your phone provider and your credit card provider know that you are traveling. This prevents them from putting blocks on phones and cards to still make it easy to call and get funds.
Pack Light and Keep Valuables at Home
You don’t need grandma’s pearls or that beautiful family heirloom. When traveling, you can to keep your packing as light as possible and keep as many valuables at home. This includes the likes of your iPad, smartphone, and jewelry.
When you pack everything, there’s a higher risk of losing items. You forget what you’ve brought with you, especially if you’re also suffering from pregnancy brain fog! It’s easier to leave items behind, whether it’s something small like a scarf or something more serious like your passport!
Keep any valuables that you do have insight always, both while moving around and when in a hotel room. If the hotel room has a safe, make sure it’s one of those where you can choose the combination and use it.
Opt for a small folder to keep all your travel documents, passport, ID, and other similar items together. When you need something, you can quickly grab it from the folder. You should also take a photo or scan the documents into your computer and store on a cloud server. If things go missing, you’ve got copies.
Travelling While Pregnant Is Fine if You’re Safe
There’s nothing wrong with traveling solo while pregnant. It’s no longer the case where you must be with your partner or a family member. There are ways that you can remain safe and get any medical help that you need. However, you will need to take steps to ensure your safety.
The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor first. Make sure you understand the risks of traveling and get all the medical advice that you need. From there, you can get any vaccinations you need and make educated decisions.
Ensure your family members know you’re itinerary and you know as much about your intended location as possible. Should something change while you’re away, update the person who knows your itinerary and make sure you remain in contact throughout.