The Expectant Traveler

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As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” So although traveling while pregnant is something you usually might not consider, it may be a great way to energize your pregnancy. And sometimes expats in Thailand have no choice –— whether it’s that vacation you’ve already booked to Chiang Mai, a road trip for your visa renewal, or a visit to see family back home.


Here are some travel tips to ensure the safety of both mom and baby while traveling inside and outside of Thailand.
  • Plan ahead. A way to soothe any stress is to be organized and also invest in travel insurance before going on a trip. Unexpected hospital fees can be very expensive, from a medical check up to premature labour and delivery. Don’t forget immunizations and any medications you need. Some airlines restrict pregnant women from flying, particularly if they have complications in the current pregnancy or have had medical complications in prior pregnancies, or are carrying twins – always get the go-ahead from your family doctor.
  • Rest & relax. This is the prime time to splurge on all the luxuries that will make for a more comfortable trip – like upgrading your flight to first class. The big seat and extra wiggle room are worth the expense. Don’t be afraid to ask for a free upgrade at the check-in desk. An aisle seat is also ideal, so that you can easily get up, stretch and use the toilet.
  • Keep active. Being able to move around is of the utmost importance when traveling. Sitting still for hours is both uncomfortable and not recommended. Wearing comfy clothes and drinking lots of fluids will help. Five or six hours is the most any pregnant woman should stay in the same position.
  • Things to avoid. When it comes to traveling by boat or car, some pregnant women find they experience motion sickness. During this time, taking medication usually isn’t a good idea but there are a few things you can do to feel better. Hit the deck to get some sunshine and fresh air. Focusing on the horizon and breathing deeply are both good tricks. If there’s a buffet on board, be very careful about what you eat. Cold processed meats and pre-made salads are sometimes at risk of carrying Listeria a bacteria that causes food poisoning. It may be worth asking the crew to prepare a special hot meal for you. If you’re not sure, don’t eat it!
  • Food for thought. Depending on the destination, you may need to adapt upon arrival. If you are in locations like India, Mexico or Thailand, tap water, ice cubes and residual water on salad leaves and fruits can sometimes cause sickness for travelers, especially the pregnant traveler. If you know you’ll be on plane, train or automobile for a long period of time, pack plenty of fresh water and healthy snacks.

Most doctors discourage travel during the last six weeks of pregnancy. The best time to travel is generally during the second trimester. By then, early nausea has usually calmed and the baby isn’t so close to being due that you, as the mother, will worry the entire holiday away. Always keep in mind that safety is the main concern for yourself and your growing baby, especially when you’re on the road!

Baby on board
You baby’s first trip may very well be before it’s born. Thailand has it all: relaxing beaches, soothing breezes and tranquil sunsets. If you are planning to travel to Thailand during your pregnancy, here is a good resource to help you find the best medical care.

Do you have experience traveling while pregnant? We would love to hear your stories and learn from your experiences. Leave them in the comment section below.

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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  1. Jodie  /  October 2, 2012, 9:41 pm Reply

    My husband and I traveled to Sri Lanka when I was 6 and a half months pregnant. We knew that this would be the last pre-baby holiday. We had a great time! Plus, on the flight to Columbo, we were upgraded to first class! A first for me! See, pregnancy does have it’s perks :)

    •  /  October 3, 2012, 7:16 am Reply

      Hi Jodie, thanks for your comments.

      Can you tell us more about how you managed traveling at 6-1/2 months? Did the airline take any precautions? Did you take anything special with you or make plans for medical care in Sri Lanka before you traveled? We’d love for you to share your experience!

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