Last year, right after the Olympics in Sochi, Natalie Spooner and I had the chance to compete on Season 2 of The Amazing Race Canada, and we finished first on a few legs.
Well, she and I are finally using one of the trips that we won on the show to tour around ITALY!
That’s right… I have left my husband at home and have headed off on what will most likely be my last “girls trip” before our baby boy arrives.
Planning for this trip was somewhat different in comparison to planning for others. After all, travelling while you are expecting is not exactly the same as travelling while you are not.
Especially when you are heading out of your home country.
After speaking with my doctor and doing plenty of research, and being told that it is perfectly safe for me to travel at this stage in my pregnancy, I wanted to prepare as best as I could for this trip. Below are the necessary precautions I have taken based on my destination and current health status.
So here’s a travel checklist for moms-to-be:
Remember Travel Health Insurance
Before heading off on an out-of-country trip, it is important to have adequate travel health insurance. As advised by my doctor, if we are less than 24 weeks, we only need insurance for ourselves. But if we are further along than 24 weeks, we need insurance for both baby and ourselves. Reason behind this is that a baby born after 24 weeks is deemed to be a viable birth. If you happen to go into labor after 24 weeks while you are away, you want to make sure that you and baby are both covered in case of emergency.
Take Your Medical Records
When I went in to see my doctor prior to our trip, she printed off my health chart to take with me in case anything happens. This way, if I need to see a doctor, they will be well aware that I am pregnant and the current status of my health. I also am carrying with me a list of important contacts and phone numbers that may be needed in case of emergency.
As I am in Italy and my vaccinations are up-to-date, I did not need to do anything in regards to vaccines. But depending on where you are travelling, this may be necessary.
I have also packed Tylenol and other medications that are safe to take during pregnancy that I may need in case any unexpected occurrences pop up.
Watch what you EAT and DRINK!
As we are travelling in Italy, the guidelines for nutrition in pregnancy are a bit more laid back than in North America. With plenty of unpasteurized fresh cheeses (which could contain listeria), deli meats, rare cooked meats, and wine of course, I am mostly sticking to pasta, pizza, bottled water, and being cautious that I am still following the same guidelines as I do while I am at home to steer clear of food and water-borne diseases.
And whether you are laying on a beach or doing plenty of walking while touring, like we are doing in Italy, it is of course important to stay hydrated. I am making sure that I am always with bottled H2O, no matter what we are doing.
Looks like I am going to have to make another trip to Italy to make up for all of the wine I am missing out on!
Anticipate Your Travel Needs
The length of your travel will determine whether or not you need to take extra precautions. With a 24hr + travel day from Calgary to Italy (same going home), I wore compression socks on the airplane and made sure that I got up and walked around relatively often to keep my circulation going. We are at higher risks of blood clots while pregnant, so I wore my super tight socks, got up and walked around (having to get up to go to the bathroom quite often anyways!), and stayed hydrated.
Be Choosy at Airport Security
In most airports, passengers walk through metal detectors at airport security, which use a low-frequency electromagnetic field to look for weapons.
When I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I would be travelling quite often, and I wanted to be sure that going through security at airports would not harm our baby. At the low levels of frequency that a metal detector emits, this exposure is considered safe for everyone, including pregnant women. The same holds true for the wands that security personnel sometimes pass over individual passengers.
When you are selected for additional screening, you are given the option of the wand or the big the "backscatter" machine, which uses low-level X-rays. Whether or not these machines are harmful to baby or not seem to be inconclusive, so I opt for the good old-fashioned pat down and err on the side of caution!
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR!
The most important thing we can do in preparation for a trip is to consult a health care professional before finalizing plans and packing our bags.
At 21 & 22 weeks, healthy, and travelling to a country that has a fairly good health care system, I was given the green light to head overseas. From the research that I have done, the cutoff for flying is 36 weeks. Where you want to go, where you are in your pregnancy and your health status will ultimately determine whether or not your doctor gives you the green or the red light to travel.
The upside of not being able to indulge in fine Italian wine? More pastries, pasta and pizza!
Travelling while pregnant? Please share your comments, stories with me on Twitter and Instagram using @Mikkelson12 and #hockeymom.
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