Traveling to the Caribbean While Pregnant

Robert Curley is a freelance writer and guidebook author specializing in Caribbean Island and Rhode Island travel.

Wooden pier to a tropical beach, Saona island

Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Whether you’re looking for a last getaway before your first baby arrives or a much-needed mid-trimester break, the Caribbean sun, and sand is a mighty appealing option for a pre-partum vacation. Jan Rydfors, M.D., co-creator of The Pregnancy Companion: The Obstetrician’s Mobile Guide to Pregnancy, says pregnant women should not hesitate to take a Caribbean vacation as long as they follow some simple rules to keep themselves and their baby as healthy as possible.

Hydration

Remember that hydration is extra important when you’re pregnant as more water evaporates from your skin during pregnancy. That’s especially true when traveling to warm locations like the Caribbean, as heat will enhance fluid loss. Try to drink at least 10, eight-ounce glasses of fluid every day, and even more on hot days.

The sun feels good, and getting a nice tan feels like a must when visiting the Caribbean, but be careful now that you are pregnant. High levels of pregnancy hormones will increase your chances of skin discoloration that might be permanent, so remember to put on ultra-strong sunblock of SPF 50 or more. If you want to be extra careful, put sunblock on your skin even under your clothes, since clothes only provide an SPF block of 10 or so.

Illness

Before flying or taking a cruise to the islands, have your obstetrician (OB) prescribe you some nausea medication and antibiotics in the event that you get sick. Nausea medication such as Ondansetron or the Scopolamine patch, and 1000mg of Azithromycin for travel diarrhea, are the drugs of choice in pregnancy. Also, bring over-the-counter Immodium with you to avoid dehydration in the event of diarrhea, and rehydrate yourself with coconut water and broth soups.

Plane Travel

Air travel is safe during pregnancy, despite some voiced concerns regarding cosmic radiation and low oxygen levels in the passenger compartment. The risk in both cases is negligible. But if you do fly, try to get an aisle seat so that you can go to the bathroom frequently and take repeated walks down the aisles. Wear your seatbelt below your belly. If you are in your third trimester and the flight is over a few hours, you may experience significant foot swelling, so consider wearing comfortable sandals and support stockings.

Finally, make sure you are aware of the airline’s pregnancy-age cutoff. Many use 36 weeks, but some set their travel prohibition earlier. It is always a good idea to get a note from your OB regarding your due date since the airline might ask for it. If you have any contractions or bleeding, contact your OB before leaving.

Auto Travel

If traveling by car once you arrive in the Caribbean, remember to wear your seatbelt at all times and make sure it does not cover your pregnant belly.

International Travel

If you are traveling outside of the U.S., there are extra precautions to take. Make sure you use safe drinking water (in the Caribbean, most tap water is safe to drink). Bottled carbonated water is the safest to use when unsure about the tap water. Alternatively, you can also boil your tap water for three minutes.

Remember that freezing does not kill bacteria so make sure you use ice from a safe water source. Also, don’t drink out of glasses that have been washed in unboiled water. To help prevent common travel diarrhea, avoid fresh fruits and vegetables that have not been cooked or that you have not peeled yourself. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat and fish.

Finally, with the Zika virus posing a particular threat to pregnant women, check the latest information on the Center for Disease Control’s Travel Health site to find out whether the mosquito-borne illness is present in your planned destination.

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About the Author: Dr. Jan Rydfors is a Board Certified OB/GYN specializing in fertility and high-risk pregnancy and Co-Creator of the Pregnancy Companion: The Obstetrician’s Mobile Guide to Pregnancy, the only app created and staffed by Board Certified OB/GYNs, Pregnancy Companion is recommended by over 5,000 doctors across the country.

Traveling while pregnant: Your complete guide

Traveling while pregnant is common, and can be just as enjoyable as ever, as long as you take some precautions. Talk to your healthcare provider before hatching plans, but unless you have a high-risk pregnancy or other complications, they’ll likely give you the go ahead to explore into your third trimester – though flying isn’t permitted after 36 weeks. While the CDC says those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can travel, it’s still important to follow all mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines in the destinations you visit.

A pregnant woman packing a suitcase

Is traveling while pregnant safe?

Yes, it’s generally safe to travel during pregnancy as long as you’re not too close to your due date and you’re not experiencing any serious pregnancy complications. There are special precautions to take, of course, and you may find yourself stopping to use the bathroom more than you’re used to, but that babymoon can be within reach.

Before you pack your suitcase, talk with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you to travel and that your destination is a good choice. You’ll want to avoid places where infectious diseases are prevalent (or there are high outbreaks of Zika or malaria, for example). The COVID-19 pandemic has made people reconsider where they feel safe traveling as well; if you’re fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can travel, but it’s always best to check with your doctor first.

And bear in mind that the activities you take part in might be different than normal – you’ll want to skip the Scuba diving lessons, for example (though snorkeling is okay!).

It’s safe to fly when you’re pregnant as well, and most airlines will allow you to fly domestically until about 36 weeks of pregnancy. International routes may have different rules, so be sure to check with your airline before booking anything. Your doctor will tell you to avoid flying, however, if you have a health concern that might require emergency care or any other health conditions that aren’t well controlled.

When to avoid pregnancy travel

It’s best to avoid traveling while pregnant if you have any health conditions that can be life-threatening to both you or your baby. If you have any of the following conditions, your doctor will almost certainly advise you against travel:

You might also need to be extra-cautious or skip travel if you’re experiencing intrauterine growth restriction, you have placenta previa, or you have other conditions that may place your pregnancy at a higher risk. It’s always a good idea to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider before travel regarding any medical conditions you have, and they’ll be able to advise you on what’s best, depending on the trip.

When is the best time to travel while you’re pregnant?

The sweet spot for pregnancy travel is during your second trimester, between 14 weeks and 27 weeks. By the second trimester, any struggles you’ve had with morning sickness and fatigue during the earlier weeks of pregnancy should have hopefully subsided – and after 12 weeks, your risk of miscarriage decreases significantly as well. And you’re not too far along to worry about third trimester exhaustion or going into preterm labor yet, either.

Your energy levels are likely to be good during your second trimester too (bring on the sightseeing!), and it will still be relatively easy and comfortable for you to travel and move around at this time. Keep in mind that once you hit that third trimester, pregnancy travel might be more difficult as you find it harder to move around and stay still for long periods of time.

Can pregnant women travel during COVID?

It’s complicated (and often a personal decision based on your own risk factors), but the CDC says that if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can travel. Of course, it’s important you still do everything you can to keep yourself and others around you safe, including following all mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines in the destination you visit.

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There’s no specific CDC guidance on pregnancy and travel during the pandemic, but women are at an increased risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 while pregnant, and they’re more likely to experience preterm birth and other poor pregnancy outcomes. (This is why the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine all recommend that women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are planning on becoming pregnant get the COVID-19 vaccine.)

If you’re vaccinated and decide to travel, the CDC advises avoiding international destinations that are designated Level 4, due to high rates of local COVID-19 transmission.

All that said, if you aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC doesn’t recommend you travel at all, unless it’s absolutely essential.

Take all this information into account and talk to your doctor before you decide on where and when to travel while you’re pregnant. And if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, whether while traveling or at home, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

When should you stop traveling while pregnant?

The guidelines for when to stop traveling while you’re pregnant vary based on your mode of travel, but more or less, you should wrap up travel before you’re 36 weeks pregnant.

Most airlines will let pregnant women fly domestically until they’re 36 weeks pregnant – and many cut that off earlier for international travel. This rule is often enforced on an honor system policy, but some airlines may ask for a doctor’s note – so make sure you have that from your healthcare provider if you’re traveling in the third trimester, just in case.

Most cruise ships don’t allow travel after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Some cruise lines’ cutoff dates vary, so verify policies before booking a cruise.

As for road trips, there’s no official deadline for when you need to stop traveling, but your personal comfort level (physically and emotionally) – and your doctor’s advice – might help you decide. You can drive while pregnant all the way up until your due date, but things may get considerably less comfortable on longer trips as you approach full term.

Traveling while pregnant: Your complete guide

Traveling while pregnant is common, and can be just as enjoyable as ever, as long as you take some precautions. Talk to your healthcare provider before hatching plans, but unless you have a high-risk pregnancy or other complications, they’ll likely give you the go ahead to explore into your third trimester – though flying isn’t permitted after 36 weeks. While the CDC says those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can travel, it’s still important to follow all mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines in the destinations you visit.

A pregnant woman packing a suitcase

Is traveling while pregnant safe?

Yes, it’s generally safe to travel during pregnancy as long as you’re not too close to your due date and you’re not experiencing any serious pregnancy complications. There are special precautions to take, of course, and you may find yourself stopping to use the bathroom more than you’re used to, but that babymoon can be within reach.

Before you pack your suitcase, talk with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you to travel and that your destination is a good choice. You’ll want to avoid places where infectious diseases are prevalent (or there are high outbreaks of Zika or malaria, for example). The COVID-19 pandemic has made people reconsider where they feel safe traveling as well; if you’re fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can travel, but it’s always best to check with your doctor first.

And bear in mind that the activities you take part in might be different than normal – you’ll want to skip the Scuba diving lessons, for example (though snorkeling is okay!).

It’s safe to fly when you’re pregnant as well, and most airlines will allow you to fly domestically until about 36 weeks of pregnancy. International routes may have different rules, so be sure to check with your airline before booking anything. Your doctor will tell you to avoid flying, however, if you have a health concern that might require emergency care or any other health conditions that aren’t well controlled.

When to avoid pregnancy travel

It’s best to avoid traveling while pregnant if you have any health conditions that can be life-threatening to both you or your baby. If you have any of the following conditions, your doctor will almost certainly advise you against travel:

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You might also need to be extra-cautious or skip travel if you’re experiencing intrauterine growth restriction, you have placenta previa, or you have other conditions that may place your pregnancy at a higher risk. It’s always a good idea to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider before travel regarding any medical conditions you have, and they’ll be able to advise you on what’s best, depending on the trip.

When is the best time to travel while you’re pregnant?

The sweet spot for pregnancy travel is during your second trimester, between 14 weeks and 27 weeks. By the second trimester, any struggles you’ve had with morning sickness and fatigue during the earlier weeks of pregnancy should have hopefully subsided – and after 12 weeks, your risk of miscarriage decreases significantly as well. And you’re not too far along to worry about third trimester exhaustion or going into preterm labor yet, either.

Your energy levels are likely to be good during your second trimester too (bring on the sightseeing!), and it will still be relatively easy and comfortable for you to travel and move around at this time. Keep in mind that once you hit that third trimester, pregnancy travel might be more difficult as you find it harder to move around and stay still for long periods of time.

Can pregnant women travel during COVID?

It’s complicated (and often a personal decision based on your own risk factors), but the CDC says that if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can travel. Of course, it’s important you still do everything you can to keep yourself and others around you safe, including following all mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines in the destination you visit.

There’s no specific CDC guidance on pregnancy and travel during the pandemic, but women are at an increased risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19 while pregnant, and they’re more likely to experience preterm birth and other poor pregnancy outcomes. (This is why the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine all recommend that women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or are planning on becoming pregnant get the COVID-19 vaccine.)

If you’re vaccinated and decide to travel, the CDC advises avoiding international destinations that are designated Level 4, due to high rates of local COVID-19 transmission.

All that said, if you aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19, the CDC doesn’t recommend you travel at all, unless it’s absolutely essential.

Take all this information into account and talk to your doctor before you decide on where and when to travel while you’re pregnant. And if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, whether while traveling or at home, call your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

When should you stop traveling while pregnant?

The guidelines for when to stop traveling while you’re pregnant vary based on your mode of travel, but more or less, you should wrap up travel before you’re 36 weeks pregnant.

Most airlines will let pregnant women fly domestically until they’re 36 weeks pregnant – and many cut that off earlier for international travel. This rule is often enforced on an honor system policy, but some airlines may ask for a doctor’s note – so make sure you have that from your healthcare provider if you’re traveling in the third trimester, just in case.

Most cruise ships don’t allow travel after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Some cruise lines’ cutoff dates vary, so verify policies before booking a cruise.

As for road trips, there’s no official deadline for when you need to stop traveling, but your personal comfort level (physically and emotionally) – and your doctor’s advice – might help you decide. You can drive while pregnant all the way up until your due date, but things may get considerably less comfortable on longer trips as you approach full term.

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/traveling-to-the-caribbean-while-pregnant-1487700

Source https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/your-life/eight-steps-for-safe-travel-during-pregnancy_1339353

Source https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/your-life/eight-steps-for-safe-travel-during-pregnancy_1339353

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