1. Ask your obstetrician if you are fit to travel.
Dr Ann Tan, a gynaecologist and obstetrician from the Women & Fetal Centre, says you should note: your previous history of cervical biopsy (where tissue is removed from the cervix to check for cancer or abnormal changes), your risk of preterm labour (you may not be able to cope with long periods of travel), and whether yours is a multiple pregnancy. Your main concerns should be radiation exposure, low oxygen (such as at high altitudes), deep-vein thrombosis, and going into labour.
2. Is it safe for me to fly?
“If you are healthy and fit, it should not be a problem,” says Dr Tan. “The second trimester is the best time to travel – your pregnancy would be more stable by then, so there’s a lower chance of miscarriage. You’re also less prone to fatigue. But note that most airlines will not accept pregnant women as passengers after the 36th week as there’s a high risk of you going into labour.”
3. What precautions should I take on long flights?
Wear compression socks, stay well hydrated, and walk up and down the aisle often to encourage blood circulation, says Dr Tan. At least move your ankles and feet often, or give yourself a leg massage. Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, head and senior consultant at the Inpatient Service Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women’s & Children’s Hospital, also advises against carrying heavy luggage as doing so may cause cramps or bleeding.
4. What medication should I pack?
Fever medication such as paracetamol, flu medication, anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medication are a good idea, says Prof Tan. If you have a medical disorder, for example, hypertension in pregnancy, remember to take your medication on time, Dr Tan adds.
5. What activities should I avoid when travelling?
“Be careful of speedboat rides – you don’t want your bump to hit the hard seat or side of the boat, as this may cause contractions,” says Dr Tan. “Also, be careful about food hygiene, as bad gastrointestinal infections can lead to dehydration and diarrhoea, which may cause contractions and bring about preterm labour. You should also avoid contact sports or any activity where there’s a danger of falling.”
This article was published in Simply Her August 2015.