It is very common for our patients to ask whether they can travel during pregnancy. It is safest for you to stay within an hour of your delivering hospital during your pregnancy. There is potential risk of complications anytime during your pregnancy. If it is essential that you travel, below are some guidelines we hope will be of benefit.
- Once you have had a normal ultrasound, travel during the first trimester is likely to be safe. There is still a 2% risk of miscarriage, which means there is a risk of hemorrhage requiring D&C. While a D&C is considered a minor procedure in Saginaw, it is virtually impossible on a cruise ship or on a beautiful beach in Cancun. Be sure you have easy access to a hospital that provides gynecologic services. Remember, even in Michigan there are now many hospitals that don’t provide gynecologic services.
- Once you become pregnant, pregnancy hormones increase your risk of developing blood clots in your legs. No matter what stage in the pregnancy, it is important that you not sit for extended periods of times. You should get up to walk every hour in an effort to decrease the risk of blood clot development. Call immediately if you develop leg pain, swelling, shortness of breath or chest pain. Although rare, blood clots can migrate to the lungs.
- If you choose to travel between 20-36 weeks gestation, there are special considerations. This is strongly discouraged for any patients with a history of preterm labor, preterm delivery, previous surgery on their cervix. This includes any other risk factors for preterm birth, such as infection, uterine anomaly, etc. If you find that travel is essential, we suggest that you make an appointment shortly before your departure so that we may check your cervix. Be sure that you travel to places within an hour of a neonatal unit (a special hospital that cares for premature babies.) Take your white card with you so that if you do experience problems, the physicians have information about you available to them.
- After 36 weeks, the baby shouldn’t have problems with maturity, but we recommend that prior to traveling, you locate hospitals that have in-house anesthesia coverage with epidurals available and in-house pediatric care similar to that at Covenant HealthCare-Harrison.