Traveling during pregnancy is cause for concern for many soon-to-be parents. So what are the facts? Can you travel throughout your pregnancy? Can seatbelts and airbags harm your baby? And are the screening tests at the airport really safe? We’ve got some great tips whether you’re traveling by air, land or sea.
Safe Travel During Pregnancy
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Ray P. Kamali: It happens to many soon-to-be moms. You plan a special trip and then you become pregnant. So is travel during pregnancy safe? What are some factors you should consider plus specific tips for traveling via air, land and even sea? I’m Dr. Ray Kamali, an OB/GYN affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center and this is Preggie Pals episode 54.
Sunny Gault: Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Preggie Pals is your weekly online on-the-go support group for expecting parents and those hoping to become pregnant. I’m your host, Sunny Gault. Thanks to all of our loyal listeners who have joined the Preggie Pals Club. Our members get all of our archived episodes, bonus content after each new show, plus special giveaways and discounts. You’ll also get a free subscription to Pregnancy Magazine. Visit our website PreggiePals.com for more information. And another way for you to stay connected is by downloading our free Preggie Pals apps available in the Android and iTunes marketplace.
We have a special Mother’s Day giveaway going on now throughout the month of May. We’re acknowledging all the amazing moms out there. You can win one of three prizes. One of the prizes is a Safety First Advanced Solutions Collection; it includes a no-touch thermometer, nasal aspirator, oral care set, hairbrush and comb, and nail clippers. You can also win the new Moby Go Carrier, which has all the amazing benefits that the Moby Wrap has. This is a brand new carrier on the market. It is convenient, great for parents on-the-go with slightly older children. And the other prize is the Peak Away. It’s a 4-in-1 Essentials Nursing Kit. I love this bag, it is so convenient, it’s innovative. It is a purse combo with a nursing pillow, built-in changing pat, removal wipes case and even a nursing cover for those of you who like to cover up when you’re out in public. So you can win one of these amazing prizes. Again, go to our website and sign up today.
Ok, ladies. I am excited about today’s show. We are talking about safe travel during pregnancy. But first let’s introduce you guys to all of our fabulous panelists. I’ll kick things off since I’m going to be part of the conversation today. Like I said, my name is Sunny, I am your host. I am 35 years old. I am pregnant again, which is really exciting! This is my third baby and I have two little boys already at home, so guess what I want for my third. And as far as the type of birth I’m going for… I know this is going to be a C-section; I had some complications with my first born, my second was a C-section, so I know this is going to be one as well.
And then as far as travelling while pregnant, this is always a tough thing in my family, because we have set vacations we like to take every year and whenever people find out I’m pregnant, they always do the math. “Ok, so it’s going to be seven months until this vacation we take every year, so you’re going to be able to do this?” I mean literally that was one of the first things out of my mom’s mouth when she heard that I was pregnant this time. She was like, “Well, I guess you’re not going on our November vacation.” So, anyways, I have done some modest travelling while pregnant, but nothing like in the third trimester. I usually cut it off at that point. So, Stephanie, what about you?
Stephanie Saalfeld: Hi! I’m Stephanie Saalfeld. I am turning 30 very, very soon. I am a gemologist, but I am also a producer for Preggie Pals now.
Sunny Gault: Yay! She’s one of our producers now. You were a panelist for a long time.
Stephanie Saalfeld: I was.
Sunny Gault: Now she’s on our behind-the-scenes team.
Stephanie Saalfeld: Yes. So I have a baby girl. She is going to be 4 months and I just love being a mommy.
Sunny Gault: And then how much travel did you do while pregnant?
Stephanie Saalfeld: Oh. Well we conceived in Africa, so I was about 6 weeks pregnant when we flew home. That was not a fun flight to take. And then I also flew to Chicago when I was about 18 weeks pregnant, so…
Sunny Gault: Ok. Alright. Cherri?
Cherri Christiansen: I can’t imagine flying that far that early. Oh my gush. I’m Cherri Christiansen. I’m 32 and it’s been a while since I’ve been on the show actually, because my daughter is 10 month old today. I can’t believe that.
Sunny Gault: Oh my gosh, it’s today?
Cherri Christiansen: Today. It’s 10 months today.
Sunny Gault: Awesome.
Cherri Christiansen: It’s kind of crazy when I think about where I was today ten months ago, right this very minute. But I did a fair amount of travelling. I used to travel a lot for my old job and I’m grateful that I didn’t have to travel as much during my pregnancy, but my first trip was – just as you described it – was unplanned. Well, the trip was planned; I didn’t know I was going to be pregnant when I took it. So I was 7 weeks pregnant and then I took some business trips all the way up until probably the end of the second trimester. So nothing more than like a four or five-hour flight, but that seemed like an eternity when you’re pregnant.
Sunny Gault: Right, right. Ok. Annie, what about you?
Annie Laird: I’m Annie Laird and I’m 34 years old. I’m a government contractor. I have two girls at home – seven-year-old and nine-month-old – and I’m pregnant again. Yeah, surprise! (Laughs) The baby is coming in October. It’s going to be a homebirth this time around. As far as traveling, while I was pregnant I didn’t do much traveling. I was getting my master’s degree when I was pregnant with my first, so it was just a lot of staying at home and studying, going to class… Second baby: I did a lot of traveling with my job up through, like Cherri, about my second trimester. And most of those trips were cross-country trips, most of them to Northern Virginia, Washington D.C, associated with my job. And then with this pregnancy… my husband is in the navy, his change of command is in Japan next week and so I’m flying to Japan next week, so that is going to be a long flight, yeah. I’m just grateful the kids aren’t coming with me, so…
Sunny Gault: I was just going to say, you have two little ones to bring along with you…
Annie Laird: No, they’re staying home with the babysitter and I’m going to watch movies the whole time. I am about to start my second trimester, so morning sickness has passed. But I do have a lot of questions, concerns about travelling such a long distance, which I’ve done with my job before, but never while pregnant, doing an international flight.
Sunny Gault: Got it. Alright. And Jessica, welcome to our show. She’s a new panelist. So tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jessica Quintanilla: So, like you said, my name is Jessica. I am 34 – seems to be a common age around here. I am active duty navy, so a lot like you, I’ve been all around and actually, with my first daughter – 14 months – I flew when I was about two months pregnant to my husband’s commissioning for his ship, not for him in particular. And then at 7 months I flew for holiday, because he was stationed here in California and I was stationed in Virginia. We are actually surprised that I’m pregnant again now. We just reconnected and have been stationed together here in California as of March and we got pregnant immediately. (Laughs) My first birth was an emergency C-section. The second one I’m hoping isn’t an emergency and I hope is… I haven’t really made plans yet on what I would like to do, but I’m hoping to have a little bit more of a choice in the matter.
Sunny Gault: Yeah. Ok, well welcome to the show, everybody.
[Featured Segment: Ask The Experts. Are you really eating for two?]
Sunny Gault: We have a question from one of our lovely listeners. This comes from Janine. Janine says:
“During the first 8-9 weeks of my pregnancy I was eating constantly, grazing mostly, but still eating every hour. So it made may morning sickness more bearable so I would just nibble on stuff around the day. Now that I’m 14 weeks I’ve noticed a decrease in overall appetite. Is this normal? And how much should I be eating throughout my pregnancy?”
Leigh-Ann Webster: Hi! This is Leigh-Ann with 52 Healthy Weeks. First of all your hormones are changing so much during the pregnancy that yes, it is very normal to have a decrease in appetite. And one of the things that women don’t realize is that you really only need about 300 extra calories per day. So just go ahead and focus on eating lots of healthy, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, and nuts, and lean protein such as chicken and fish that is low in mercury.
Ok, have a great pregnancy and have a great day! Thank you!
Sunny Gault: The summer months are quickly approaching, which means it’s vacation season and many of us pregnant moms are hitting the road for a little R&R, or maybe you had another vacation already planned. So, today we’re giving you all great tips on how to keep you and your baby safe if traveling while pregnant. Dr. Ray Kamali is back on our show and he is an OB/GYN affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista. Welcome back to our show, Dr. Kamali.
Ray P. Kamali: Thanks for having me here.
Sunny Gault: Absolutely. Alright, so some general questions off the bat: can you travel throughout your pregnancy?
Ray P. Kamali: Yes you can. If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy you can pretty much travel throughout your pregnancy. Depending on other complications and risk factors, you should discuss your risks and the timing of your travel with your healthcare practitioner and decide what is safe and what isn’t and what distance and what number of hours.
Sunny Gault: Right. Yeah, I’m sure there are a lot of factors that kind of weigh into this, right? But in general we can travel while pregnant if we take some precautions.
Ray P. Kamali: Absolutely.
Sunny Gault: Ok. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. When is the best time to travel during your pregnancy? Do you have to keep that in mind? First trimester, second, third?
Ray P. Kamali: Definitely. Second trimester is usually the best time to travel.
Sunny Gault: The honeymoon time.
Ray P. Kamali: The honeymoon time, exactly. So you’re recovering from your first trimester – the morning sickness, the nausea – and also you would have a confirmed pregnancy hopefully, so your practitioner would have done some sort of imaging study or checked the baby’s heartbeat and… So you have a confirmed pregnancy inside your uterus and you are kind of set in your pregnancy, you have a due date, and have gotten the initial testing, a blood test and everything out of the way. And then the nausea goes away, so second trimester is the best time. And third trimester, when it gets closer to your due date, sometimes the risk for preterm delivery and other things come into place. So second trimester is the best time.
Sunny Gault: Was anyone able to compare a first trimester travel experience to a second? Cherri, you’re nodding your head.
Cherri Christiansen: Yes, definitely.
Sunny Gault: Big difference?
Cherri Christiansen: Big difference. Because the first trip that I took I was only 7 weeks pregnant and I was incredibly sick with morning sickness and so it was even… to me, I remember one of the worst parts of my trip was just being in the airport and my plane was delayed and sitting at the gate with all the smells, all the food that’s right there.
Sunny Gault: Yes, that was the worst.
Cherri Christiansen: And I just wanted to get on the plane – not that I was going to feel better on the plane, but just knowing, “ok, I’m on the plane”, and then I can at least try and go to sleep. And it was just delayed and delayed forever. And so it was just the whole time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about how sick I was.
And the second time I travelled it was much further along in my pregnancy and so brought a whole other complication – now I had a belly, now I had to pee every 14 seconds… So a bunch of other things, but in general I didn’t feel sick and so those other things were a lot more manageable. You could get a seat by the aisle so you could get up every couple of minutes…
Annie Laird: I think what brings up a really good point, Cherri, is that when you’re in your second trimester you are obviously pregnant then and so you get a lot more sympathy. And not just sympathy, but things that a pregnant mom should be able to do, you know. You don’t get the stink eye, if you end up with the middle seat, asking the person on the aisle “hey, I need to get up and pee” every half an hour. In the first trimester they might think that there’s something wrong with you.
Cherri Christiansen: Well I remember travelling right about where you’re going to be at now, it was about 13 or 14 weeks, and I was barely showing, but I was sticking myself out at the airport because I was still feeling sick and – maybe we’ll talk about this a little bit later – I wanted to get a pre boarding card. And so I didn’t want to be like “Oh, I’m pregnant, have a look at me”. “Honey, you’re not pregnant.” I was sticking out my stomach like so much, rubbing the belly…
Annie Laird: Grabbing an airline pillow and stuffing it underneath your shirt, yeah.
Cherri Christiansen: I did get pre boarding by the way.
Sunny Gault: So Dr. Kamali, what are some of the essential items that we should bring? I mean should we have our medical card? Are there other things that we need to keep in mind?
Ray P. Kamali: Absolutely. So just some basic things, your prenatal vitamins are your best friends throughout your pregnancy, so definitely bring the vitamins with you. A lot of times I advise my patients to also have their prenatal record – nowadays we have most of our charting and records on electronic medical records, so it’s very easy to print out some essential or just basic records and giving the patients’ due dates… You’d be surprised how many people don’t know the exact due date, you know… And some of their lab work, or if there are any other risk factors… And they can just bring that with them so that they can share that with anybody on the plane if they’re having complications, or at their destination if there’s anything going on. Aside from that…
Annie Laird: I would mention something like blood type, it would be very important to know…
Ray P. Kamali: Absolutely. Especially if you’re RH negative, that’s very important. Aside from that, if you have heartburn, some tums would help you out, and other medication that you may be taking before pregnancy or during pregnancy. Aside from that, just some comfortable shoes and…
Sunny Gault: Water maybe?
Ray P. Kamali: Absolutely.
Cherri Christiansen: And some snacks. Because you know, they don’t give you anything on a plane anymore, so…
Ray P. Kamali: That’s right. And the peanuts just don’t…
Sunny Gault: They don’t cut it when you’re pregnant. Ok. So let’s break this down. Let’s start by talking about travel by land so to speak, so like in a car, in a bus – I don’t know how many of us are hopping on a bus when we’re pregnant, but I guess it’s possible. So let’s talk about seatbelts.
Ray P. Kamali: Absolutely.
Sunny Gault: Are they made for pregnant women? Is there anything we should be concerned about with seatbelts?
Ray P. Kamali: Well it’s definitely a safer travel with a seatbelt on than without it, just because of the risk of accidents and potential complications. So seatbelts aren’t made for pregnant women, but they actually are recommended, so basically the recommendations are to put the lap part of it under your bump or under the belly and the shoulder part to basically go across between the breast and just on the side of the belly. So that’s how it should be worn, it definitely does help in the event of an accident to protect you from serious complications.
Sunny Gault: Yeah. What’s been your experience with seatbelts?
Cherri Christiansen: So uncomfortable! Oh my gush!
Sunny Gault: Isn’t it?
Cherri Christiansen: I have a two-mile commute to work and… it’s just two miles, I mean it’s nothing. When I would get home the most excited to be would be to unbuckle it, so I can’t imagine driving further and I did have to do a couple business trips where I was driving… maybe to Los Angeles, like two hours, or four, depending on the traffic, and it was really uncomfortable. But like you said, I figured it safer to have it on than to have it off and I just could never sit in the car without a car seat on.
Sunny Gault: It feels weird, doesn’t it? If you’re used to it.
Cherri Christiansen: Sometimes I would just pull it down a little bit to kind of have a little bit of give so it wasn’t quite as tight, but definitely always wore it even though I hated it, so…
Sunny Gault: Right. Anyone else traveled long distances via land?
Stephanie Saalfeld: We drove to Vegas when I was about… well that was our little baby-moon, so I was I think…
Sunny Gault: So it was like what? 4 and a half hours away?
Stephanie Saalfeld: Yeah. And I think I was 39… 40 weeks. So yeah, I definitely had a bump. (Laughs) And… there’s a lot of other discomforts. The seatbelt was just one of them.
Cherri Christiansen: Having to pull over to pee every time.
Sunny Gault: Oh, yeah, that.
Stephanie Saalfeld: The seat is uncomfortable.
Annie Laird: Yeah. And more than the seatbelt I think… with my first daughter, way back when we were free, we lived up in Monterey County and we took a trip down Highway 1, which was beautiful. But a lot of twists, a lot of turns, so less than the seatbelt I think the issue was sitting in the car…
Cherri Christiansen: A little bit of motion sickness…
Annie Laird: A little bit of motion sickness and sitting in the car for a long period of time you can’t go 70 miles an hour down Highway 1 when you make these hairpin turns.
Stephanie Saalfeld: And trying to stretch out your legs…
Annie Laird: Yeah. And I think that more than the seatbelt was a herder thing. I could not sit for a long period of time before I had to get up and say, “Ok, we’re taking a scenic view here.” you know. And those were the most un-scenic places along Highway 1, and I was like “I don’t care. I just need to get out of the car and stretch my legs right now.”
Sunny Gault: So let’s talk about airbags. Are airbags safe? I’d be very scared that it would hurt me, hurt the baby.
Ray P. Kamali: Absolutely. So again it’s that risk and benefit thing, so… If there is an accident most people believe that having an airbag could potentially save the passenger and baby from serious complications. There was a large study done. It was a retrospective study that looked at pregnant women in a car accident – I think it was about 2000 people – and two thirds of the pregnant women had airbags, their car had airbags, one third didn’t have it. And there was no significant different as far as their outcome, complications with the airbag and without. So most people believe that airbags can help, but they don’t have any potential harm. Conceivably you could think that or you could see that there is a possibility that the airbag can push on the belly and cause a problem, but in real life, in that study, there was no significant difference.
Sunny Gault: Is this a concern for you ladies?
Annie Laird: Not really. Every time I see something with crush test dummies it seems to be coming up at the face.
Sunny Gault: Right.
Annie Laird: It prevents head injury more than anything else. It’s not like it extends down towards the belly.
Cherri Christiansen: I would think about how much worse it would be if I was in a terrible accident without the… there are so many worse things than airbag.
Annie Laird: Yeah. And have your belly hit the steering wheel.
Sunny Gault: Yes.
Ray P. Kamali: I have a lot of patients that come in to the prenatal appointment and they say “Oh, you know, yeah, I was in a car accident two weeks ago.” And I said, “Well why didn’t you call me?” And I just want to kind of tell the listeners that if you’re in a car accident, contact your healthcare professional. And usually, especially in second trimester, once your uterus starts peeking out of your pelvis into your abdomen, especially if there is trauma to your abdomen, but even if there isn’t, just the force of a nerve shock during an accident can sometimes cause complications. So at times we advise our patients, especially over 24 weeks, to come into the hospital, get monitored. And sometimes we just watch them over 4 hours, but if they’re contracting, sometimes we watch them for 24 hours because sometimes complications can happen a few hours after the accident, not immediately after the accident. So definitely, if there is an accident or you’re in a sort of trauma contact your doctor, your healthcare professional, just let them know what happened, seek their advice.
Sunny Gault: Yeah, that’s good advice. Ok, when we come back we’re going to discuss things to keep in mind when flying and also traveling by sea. We’ll be right back.
Sunny Gault: Welcome back, everyone. Today we’re learning how we can travel safely during our pregnancies. And our expert is Dr. Ray Kamali. He's an OB/GYN affiliated with Sharp Chula Vista. Ok. Dr. Kamali, so let’s talk about travel via plane, because I think this is where a lot of questions come into play, right? When is it safe to fly when pregnant?
Ray P. Kamali: It’s essentially safe throughout the pregnancy, but most airlines would have to check with your airline carrier. But usually after completion of the 35th week, before 36th week, which is around 9 months if you go by months. Most airlines and also most physicians don’t advise you to fly. So essentially from time of conception to 36 weeks you can fly if you have an uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancy.
Sunny Gault: I actually did some research on this and there are, by the way, whole websites that are dedicated to listing what the airline policies are. We’ll include a link to some of those in the additional resources section for this episode on our website. But it’s true, a lot of times if you’re over 35 weeks they require some sort of written permission from your doctor.
Ray P. Kamali: Some airlines actually want you to have some sort of a form or a letter after 32 weeks. Yeah, they want you to have it after 32 weeks, but after 36 weeks if you have to – and most of us will also advise our patients – if you really have to go somewhere after 36 weeks, whether it’s a funeral or a wedding or something really important, then go, but otherwise we try to advise our patients to stay local.
Annie Laird: My last pregnancy my grandmother died. She was actually the one who came up with the name Lucy, because we thought we were having a boy. She came up with a girl’s name. But anyway, she passed just a couple weeks prior to Lucy’s birth and there was definitely a discussion between me, my husband and my midwife. In the end I decided not to go to the funeral. My family was very supportive of that. Yeah, it was a discussion point that we had and my midwife in the end decided, she strongly advised “You know, you’re past 36 weeks, why don’t you just stay home?” type of thing. And we figured “Well grandma is in a better place right now anyways, it’s not like she’s going to miss us. She’s in a casket right now.” So I just wrote a letter and sent it to read at the wake. That was our own personal decision that we made. It was definitely a consideration. We talked about “Gush, do we go to the funeral or do we not?” I was 37 weeks pregnant.
Sunny Gault: Wow. That’s a tough decision.
Annie Laird: Yeah.
Cherri Christiansen: I think my last trip was probably around 30 to 32. I just didn’t want to have to get on a plane. I had some really negative experiences with some really rude, inconsiderate people.
Sunny Gault: Really? While you were pregnant?
Cherri Christiansen: Yes, yes, which is why I was excited about the show, because I wanted to give people some warning on how to deal with some mean people. But some people were just amazingly wonderful and would have like… you know, like a pilot that would have given up his seat if that would have made me more comfortable, so it just depends… But I just got to a point where I wasn’t comfortable.
Annie Laird: Yes. And I’m sure we’ll get to it with airport screening. When my husband left on deployment I was 7 months pregnant. And for me just getting through security to see him off… I mean… and I was in uniform, I was actively in the navy at the time and they were like searching underneath my uniform, my baby bump, like I had something hiding under that. I mean it was ridiculous, you know.
Cherri Christiansen: Yeah, you get to a point where you just don’t want to, even if your doctor or midwife has approved it.
Annie Laird: Exactly.
Sunny Gault: And you probably feel like everyone’s watching you, too. “Oh, look at the pregnant woman being felt up by the security.”
Annie Laird: Yes.
Sunny Gault: Dr. Kamali, are those screening machines safe for pregnant women?
Cherri Christiansen: Are they safe for anyone?
Ray P. Kamali: Good question. And there are different screening machines. The traditional metal detectors are basically fairly safe. They use non-ionizing radiation and it’s just basically similar to what we have in our blenders and different electric machines at home, so the radiation that you get exposed to whether you’re pregnant or not pregnant is very minimal. And, again, it’s non-ionizing, which means that usually doesn’t cause a lot of harm to pregnant or not pregnant people. So the traditional metal detectors are fairly safe. And that’s the similar technology that we use on the little hand ones. So those are ok.
The newer “body scanners” – and there are two different types of those and we’ll talk about that in a minute – there’s some controversy with that, with the scatter wave, it’s a type of X-ray machine. Because that is X-ray radiation… initially when they first came out I had a lot of pregnant women asking me whether it’s safe or it’s not. And I did some research and I wrote a letter to TSA and they responded fairly quickly and they basically provided me with some literature information about how the radiation that you get on the scatter wave X-ray machines are very minimal, about 1000 to 100th the amount we get on traditional X-ray that you would get – and sometimes pregnant women get X-rays. But there is some controversy and it is newer technology and we don’t know a lot about it and we don’t know what kind of effects it has on the baby and as a baby grows. There are some talks about possible leukemia, although that’s never been proven. But if you go online and you research, some people do talk about that. So I basically advise my patients, I kind of give them the information and I tell them, “If you can avoid it it’s better to avoid it, because we just don’t know a lot about the scatter wave type of the body scan machines.” And basically they can prefer to get… patted down.
Annie Laird: You can opt out, and hope that…
Cherri Christiansen: Feel me up instead. (Laughs)
Annie Laird: Hopefully it’s a hot TSA agent on the other end. (Laughs)
Cherri Christiansen: I’ve heard people say that the amount of radiation you’re exposed to actually just being on a plane and traveling is so much worse, which is something that people don’t think about. But I think the other thing to consider too is: are you going through this one time? Is this a onetime isolated trip? Many women who work for consulting firms and things like that where they’re traveling weekly and they could be on three-four flights a week for months and months and months… like over time how much exposure is that? You probably want to consider all of that. I always opt out, pregnant or not, and I think if you… I’ve learned, because I used to just get there and be like “I’d like to opt out” and then you have to wait for them to find someone… especially as a woman they have to find a female to come and pat you down. And I’ve learned actually that… now I don’t say that I want to opt out. I wait until the very last minute, because they don’t send everyone through. And about 50% to 70% of the time they don’t send me through anyway. And if I had said I… once you say you opt out, then you have to wait for that person. Even if there’s nobody there, they won’t let you go through the regular X-ray. So if you’re not in a rush I would say just wait, and if they ask you to go through then just say you’d like to opt out.
Sunny Gault: Let’s talk about pre-boarding. I know we mentioned this briefly in the first part of the episode. Do you guys have any tips for women? Did you guys pre-board? Did you opt to do that when pregnant?
Cherri Christiansen: I did, yeah.
Sunny Gault: You did?
Cherri Christiansen: I did. Not the first couple of trips, because I didn’t even know that that was a possibility. And I wish I had had those trips when I was severely morning sickness. But I did later on in the pregnancy, especially I’d say probably between 14 and 30 weeks, at that period of couple months there. And I just found it was a lot easier. The reason that I used to do it was the first time I was like “I don’t need to pre-board. There’s nothing…” There were people in a wheelchair and other things and I was like “I’m just pregnant, there’s nothing wrong with me.” And I hate the idea of people thinking that because you are pregnant there’s something wrong. And so I was like “I don’t need this.” And I actually got really, really bumped around on the plane. I was actually in one of the first rows and I had gotten on to the plane and I was trying to get my bag up – not a single person offered to help me put my bag up. I was just… I was livid the whole flight, with rage, because I’m continuously amazed at how rude people can be. And so after that every time I flew I actually did request the pre-boarding, just so I could get on the plane and not have to worry, and be in my seat once everybody else was coming by. And usually then they would be more helpful with my bags or anything like that. So I did do it. And it’s fairly easy. You just go… you don’t do it when you check in at the airport initially, but once they open up the flight and the gate agent is there waiting for people who stand by and all of those issues. You generally just go up to them and they’ll give you a little special pass or something to put with your boarding pass to let you on early. Some airlines are required that if you’re noticeably pregnant, when they call pre-boarding you can just go on up.
Sunny Gault: Right. Do you guys have preferences for seats? Do you like to be close to the bathroom? We talked about aisle seats earlier or hopping over whoever is in the aisle seat.
Stephanie Saalfeld: Depending on what point in your pregnancy you are, being close to the bathroom with its smells may not be ideal.
Annie Laird: It really depends on the airline.
Cherri Christiansen: And, Sunny, to answer your question, I think we’ve all been sort of talking about this from the assumption that we’re on our own. But if you are traveling with someone else, what I always do if it’s just one other person, like with my husband, I always book the aisle and the window. The middle seats are the last seats to fill up, especially for people travelling by themselves and so if it’s not a full flight there’s a good chance you’re going to get that open seat. And if it is a full flight who in the middle seat is not going to switch… “Would you like my window? Would you like my aisle seat?”
Sunny Gault: Yes. That’s a really good tip, Cherri.
Cherri Christiansen: Yeah. If you’re traveling with someone else – I hope really not too many people are listening, because it’s going to make it hard for me when I’m travelling (laughs).
Sunny Gault: Ok. So briefly I want to talk about traveling by sea. I don’t know how many people are traveling by sea, but…
Cherri Christiansen: Maybe taking a cruise…
Sunny Gault: That’s what I was thinking! Taking a cruise, because you are isolated, right? So what are some of the things that you would recommend if you had a patient come in and say “Hey, I’m thinking about taking this cruise and I’m 30 weeks pregnant”? What are some things that you would tell them to keep in mind?
Ray P. Kamali: Well the biggest complaint or issue while traveling by sea is just really sea sickness. And most of us, even when we’re not pregnant, can actually develop that - about 30% of people while traveling by sea, even if you’re an experienced sea traveler you will get some symptoms of sea sickness.
And aside from that, again the same thing as with the other travel modes, just your prenatal chart or information, because there is some sort of healthcare practitioner on board, so just to be able to have your information.
But the sea sickness is the biggest issue and there’s Dramamine and some of the over-the-counter stuff that you can buy and that’s safe in pregnancy, that’s category B. There’s Scopolamine patches, which most people… it’s a prescription medication but you can get it from your physician, but it’s category C, which is not really safe in pregnancy or we don’t have enough information about it, so you have to avoid or you can’t use.
Aside from that there’s the little wrist bands that basically kind of go into acupressure and pressure on your pressure point. That sometimes can help. So you can also try to use those too.
I just wanted to also touch on hydration. It’s very important, we always forget about doing it. Just make sure you just drink lots and lots of water, even if it you have to go to the bathroom and you try to avoid the water. Just make sure you stay hydrated, especially in air travel and any other mode of travel. You can get dehydrated and just drink lots and lots of fluid, water. And also snack and make sure you eat regularly.
Sunny Gault: Ok. Well thank you, Dr. Kamali, for joining us today. For more information about our expert and our panelists visit the episode page on our website. This conversation continues for members of our Preggie Pals Club. After the show we’ll discuss some exercises and things to keep in mind to keep your blood circulating throughout your body, which is very important when traveling for longer periods of time. To join our Preggie Pals Club visit our website at PreggiePals.com.
[Featured Segments: From Our Listeners. How do you access the bonus content?? ]
Sunny Gault: We have a comment from one of our listeners. And this comes from Carrie. Carrie writes:
“Hi, Preggie Pals! I just joined the Preggie Pals Club and I have to say my favorite part is extra bonus content after each new show. I usually listen through the app, but I was wondering if there’s a way of listening online as well.”
So, Carrie, yes there is. All you have to do is head on over to PreggiePals.com, our website, click on the Members section. You’ll see a log in section there. Log into your account using the same information that you used on your app and you’ll be able to download the content right there, or you can listen to it online. It just allows you into our members area and you can do a whole bunch of cool stuff, get access to all of our extra features. So, Carrie, thank you so much for your question.
Sunny Gault: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Preggie Pals. Don’t forget to check out our sister show Parent Savers for parents with newborns, infants and toddlers, and our show the Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies. Next week we’re continuing our series on pregnancy exercises: is running safe during pregnancy? We’ll see what our expert has to say. This is Preggie Pals, your pregnancy your way.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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