Travelling when pregnant is fine and normally safe, up until a certain point within your trimesters. You will need to be speak thoroughly with your GP or nurse before you travel to make sure you are fit enough to travel, it is safe for baby and to also be advised of the best way to look after yourself and baby for the duration.
Vaccinations & Preventions
Many countries require vaccination, some of which may not be advisable to have during the first trimester of pregnancy. If it is essential that you travel to a destination where Yellow Fever vaccination is required, talk to your doctor about a certificate of exemption.
Yellow Fever is an often serious viral infection, which is spread via the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus is injected into the bloodstream via the saliva of the mosquito as it bites. The virus can then be transported around the body, and it can reproduce itself in a variety of the body's cells – usually the liver, kidneys and blood vessels.
The disease presents itself after an incubation period of about 3-6 days with flu like symptoms such as aching muscles, fever and sore throat, with death occurring in around 5% of those who become infected. In serious cases, the patient will develop a high temperature and may have a series of after effects, such as internal bleeding, kidney failure and meningitis. There is currently no treatment for Yellow Fever.
If it is essential that you travel to a malarial area, medication may be required. This will need to be discussed with your GP well in advance of departure, as many medications will need to be taken before, during and after your holiday. Folic acid supplements are sometimes recommended with certain anti-malarial tablets. In general, it is advisable you avoid countries considered to be a risk.
Where possible, use a repellent that contains a natural-based repellent such as lemon or eucalyptus, or those that have DEET. Apply liberally to the entire body, even areas that you would normally have covered, as a precaution. Make sure to keep reapplying your chosen repellent, as they normally have a life span of just four hours. After this time, you are not protected.
While clothing alone will not protect you against mosquito bites, it can help in prevention. Clothing that covers a large proportion of the body, such as long sleeve shirts, full length trousers, and socks, are helpful in preventing you from being bitten. Although mosquitoes can bite through different materials to penetrate the skin, wearing these types of clothing will substantially lower the risk. It’s worth remembering denim jeans and canvas boots will make it more difficult for mosquitoes to penetrate the material, although in hot climates this may be not be ideal for all travellers.
Permethrin is a repellent that can be used on your clothing to help prevent mosquitoes further. If impregnating your day to day clothing is not something you would be happy with, there are permethrin impregnated wrist and ankle bands that can also help. It is important that fellow travellers are protected in a similar way, as repelled mosquitoes will go to another person who is not protected!
Research has shown mosquitoes are attracted to sweat, which may explain why they are more common in hotter climates. Because of this, you should keep your clothes as clean as possible, particularly socks and shirts, and keep yourself fresh and clean with regular showers and by wearing a strong anti-perspirant. It has also been suggested that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours of clothing, so it may be best to switch from black, grey and blue to beige, white and even yellow instead.
Although air conditioning does help to keep mosquitoes at bay due to the low temperature, it is important that it is left on throughout the day to keep the room at a consistent coolness. It is also highly recommended the windows are not left open at night and the mosquitoes will fly into the room and will be hard to then remove. Sleeping with a mosquito net is always a good idea, as there may be a couple of pesky mosquitoes in your room that you aren’t even aware of. These are widely available and help to keep mosquitoes at bay. To increase your protection, you could always have your net impregnated with permethrin as an extra deterrent.
As with any insurance policy, you will need to detail any current health issues or pre existing medical conditions. Pregnancy must be mentioned when taking out an insurance policy, otherwise the policy may be void if you should need to claim back any monies. Never withhold any information from insurance providers.
DVT is always a risk when travelling for long periods of time as the body is immobile. Your GP may be able to prescribe you some medication, or advise you otherwise.
All travellers, even those not considered a high risk, should make effort to try to exercise during long journeys. As this may be difficult in some circumstances, the exercise doesn’t need to be vigorous. Exercise the calf muscles by rotating your ankles, clockwise and anti clockwise, as well as stretching and going for a stroll wherever you can, even if it‘s just to the toilet and back.
Restrictions can encourage clots, so make sure you wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing for long journeys. Some hosiery can be good for encouraging circulation, so it may be worth investing in some good quality, well-fitted hosiery especially for your trip.
Since a plane is a dry environment, consuming too much tea, coffee, alcohol or other caffeinated beverages can increase your levels of dehydration, thus increased in your risk of clots. Try to drink plenty of water to flush your system of toxins, and keep you hydrated and alert.
In-Flight Stockings and DVT Socks
In flight stockings and specially made socks are proven to help reduce the risk of travel related DVT. And since deep vein thrombosis is so widely heard of, is it really any wonder more and more travellers are seeking easy, comfortable products like these to keep them safe? Research has shown that correctly fitting anti-thrombosis stockings or DVT socks increase blood flow, thus lowering the risk of DVT in those at risk. So check out our range of in flight stockings and socks in your fight against DVT.
At your Destination
Care should be taken in avoiding stomach problems by watching what you eat and drink.
- Stick to bottled water!
- Remember that ice cubes will be made using the local water, so avoid these from your drinks. You could always make some yourself using bottled water if you have apartment accommodation.
- Always remember to brush your teeth using bottled water. Although you don’t intend to drink any of the water you out in your mouth, you may swallow some by accident. It only takes a small amount to upset your stomach.
- Check the seal is in place when buying bottled water abroad and ask to open the water yourself. If you think the bottle may have been opened, don’t take the risk and go for carbonated water instead, again asking to open the bottle yourself.
- Be careful not to accidentally consume water when you are in the shower or washing your face.
- Avoid roadside food vendors selling ice cream and unwashed fruit.
- If you are eating from a buffet, be wary of food kept warm under food lamps, as these can be a source of infection.
- Eat from a buffet service early, as soon as the food is bought out, to make sure it is a fresh as possible.
- Avoid unpasturised milk, shellfish, soft cheeses, lukewarm food and empty restaurants!
- Remember; food should either be piping hot, or freezing cold.
- If you are self catering, always boil water before using it in cooking.
- Keep your personal hygiene standards high. Always wash your hands before eating, and after using the toilet. Keep a hand sanitiser with you for extra convenience.
- If you get diarrhoea, drink plenty of clear, clean fluids. You may want to take some medication with you in case this happens.