As your pregnancy advances into its third trimester, your unborn’s brain continues to progress while its lungs mature and its soft body hair (lanugo) begins to fall off.
If approved by your health care provider, traveling during the third trimester is an option. The optimal timeframe lies between 14 and 28 weeks when morning sickness has usually subsided and risks for complications are at their lowest point.
If your pregnancy is healthy, traveling during the second trimester (around weeks 13-27) may be the ideal time. That’s because most pregnant women don’t experience as many nauseated feelings and clumsy moments during this stage. Furthermore, couples often take their “babymoon” trips in this stage – one last trip before their little bundle arrives!
Flying during your second trimester should generally be safe, though you should always consult with your physician first to be certain. As your due date approaches, airlines may request a doctor’s note in order to allow you to board their plane.
As you progress into your third trimester (weeks 28-40), it may become increasingly challenging to remain energetic during pregnancy. That’s because much of your energy goes towards supporting an expanding fetus; many women find it useful to lie on their sides when sleeping at night and during daytime naps to rest more easily.
After Covid-19 was passed into law, pregnant travelers may want to pack hand sanitizer and a face mask as airplanes can be incredibly germy places; pregnancy makes you even more prone to illness than usual. You might also consider asking for a seat in the back to reduce odors as well as packing wet wipes to clean hands and face regularly; for tropical trips you might require packing a mosquito net too.
Don’t Forget About Your Maternity Clothes
Even if you don’t require maternity clothing when traveling, it is a wise idea to pack some. Not only might these pieces help if your flight gets uncomfortable; you could also rewear them later! For easy wearability as your belly expands look for stretchable pieces like leggings or wraparound dresses as these will stretch easily as your belly expands.
Before making your travel decisions too late into your pregnancy, always consult with a medical provider first. They’ll tell you exactly when it is safe for you to fly (international flights often have stricter cutoff dates while cruise lines do not allow pregnant women beyond 28 weeks).
Though most health care providers won’t recommend that you postpone traveling during your third trimester entirely, most will advise waiting until after the second trimester when your morning sickness should have subsided and your belly won’t have grown as large.
On your trip, make sure that you drink plenty of water and steer clear from foods that could expand in your stomach. Carrying a copy of your prenatal chart could also prove invaluable; include essential information like the date and contact number for your ob-gyn, your due date, any previous pregnancies listed and results from lab tests or imaging scans as part of this document.
Pack Comfortable Shoes
Traveling during pregnancy is a great opportunity to opt for comfortable sneakers instead of heels, as pregnancy hormones tend to relax ligaments in your feet, leading to flat feet or fallen arches and increased pressure from extra weight, often causing swelling.
Travel during your second trimester (weeks 14 to 27) should be ideal, as your energy levels should have stabilized and morning sickness should have subsided. Furthermore, this period reduces miscarriage risk significantly while also helping avoid fatigue caused by third-trimester gestation.
Search for shoes with cushioned soles and adjustable straps to support your feet, as well as breathable fabrics to prevent overheating. Brands such as Vionic offer comfortable sneakers that look stylish enough for any occasion; wide sizes are available as are flexible grooves in the outsole that move with, rather than against, your foot while you walk.
Don’t Forget the Toiletries
Packing toiletries is essential to your trip, whether by air, car, or cruise ship. Making sure that everything necessary for comfort during long flights and risk of blood clots.
For trips during the third trimester, travelers should carry travel toothbrush and toothpaste in their luggage in case they encounter bathroom stops and extra-long flight delays. When travelling in the last months of pregnancy, hand sanitizer and wet wipes should also be brought along in case any potential infections arise from flying passengers or public transportation users.
Most pregnant women find the second trimester (mid-pregnancy) the ideal time for travel as morning sickness tends to subside and energy returns. Travel is still possible during the third trimester but you may want to limit longer trips as your body expands and you become at increased risk for blood clots.