Traveling While Pregnant: Timing Your Trip

I have only a few days left to offer practical advice on traveling while pregnant before travel-related indignities like maternity swimwear, sleeping sitting up, and swollen tired feet disappear from my memory leaving only blissful images of perfect ultrasounds, baby's first movements and the nearly endless stream (once the nesting instinct set in) of homemade baked goods.

Not surprisingly, I have often traveled while pregnant. For the most part, traveling while pregnant is not a big deal, and those pre-baby trips provide especially priceless memories during the relatively less-mobile first few months with a new baby. Still, there are a few things to consider while planning a babymoon or other pre-baby trip.

This week, I will post a series of articles packed with tips for traveling while pregnant, hopefully before Baby3 shows up!

8 Months Pregnant with D in Paris
8 Months Pregnant with D in Paris

Timing Your Trip
Recommendations vary, but if you are having a healthy pregnancy, you should be able to travel during any trimester. I have had wonderful trips during all three trimesters. On our summer trip to Chicago with the kids and without my husband I couldn't figure out why I was so fatigued until I returned home and took a pregnancy test! When I was pregnant with D, I took an exhausting solo flight from Paris on the last day of my 8th month with 16 month old E as a lap infant -- a great "war story" now that it's in my past. You might not want to go to those extremes, but here are some factors to consider when timing your own babymoon:

  • Some women avoid travel during the first trimester while they are most fatigued and the risk of miscarriage (and therefore the desire to be close to your own doctor) is highest.
  • During the second trimester, your energy level is at it's highest. It can also be fun to shop for maternity clothing in a new city just as your body is starting to need more space.
  • During the last trimester, complications might mean that you are on bedrest or need more frequent checkups, and some families avoid scheduling a pre-planned trip during this time or make reservations that can be easily canceled.
  • Each airline and cruise line has its own policy on traveling while pregnant, with cutoff dates sometimes as early as 24 weeks (Disney Cruises) or as late as 38 weeks (Southwest). Other carries have no restrictions beyond a doctor's approval. Restrictions may also vary based on whether your flight is domestic or international, so check with your carrier before booking a reservation.
  • Check with your doctor about the timing of any tests you need to have. Each ultrasound and blood test has a specific time window during which it should be completed, and it is easiest to do these tests at home with a lab that your doctor recommends. With some tests, like amniocentesis, you may not be able to travel for a few days after the test.

Check back tomorrow for tips on what to ask your doctor before you go.

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  1. Tamara on May 11, 2009 at 2:24 a.m.

    Hi Debbie
    An interesting blog post. I guess also that all pregnancies are different. I traveled extensively whilst I was pregnant with Tom and it wasn't a problem at all. My last trip however was when I was 7 and a half months pregnant - a 14 hour trip to Singapore - I definitely won't be doing that again - I was very uncomfortable!

  2. Sharlene on May 11, 2009 at 4:06 p.m.

    Second trimester, second trimester, second trimester. When I was pregnant with twins I took a 2 1/2 week trip back east and it was by far my best time for travel. I have known so many people who overdid it walking around on vacation in their third trimester and ended up in preterm labor. I do have to say a long cross country flight even in your second trimester can be torture. If you can break it up with a layover it might be a good idea.

  3. Kristy on May 11, 2009 at 4:32 p.m.

    We work with a lot of expecting couples who prefer to book their babymoons last minute so they can better judge how they'll feel when they're ready to go. At one couples' request, we actually sent them off on their babymoon the day after they contacted us for help.

  4. Gretchen on May 11, 2009 at 7:42 p.m.

    My husband and I travel as a part of our work, so i was so happy to find your blog, i've used your info in New York and especially love all your tips. I'm expecting our second and traveling a bit with this pregnancy too, so i am excited to read your posts.

  5. Patrice on May 16, 2009 at 11:53 p.m.

    Love your post. Definitely, I'll use them as a reference on my travels when I'll get pregnant.

  6. Fathima on July 30, 2015 at 1:58 p.m.

    Can I travel to Europe if am
    Weeks pregnancy ? Please let me