Travel smart while you're pregnant & you can avoid catastrophe

When I first heard of people taking babymoons, when expecting parents go on a honeymoon-like trip to celebrate their upcoming birth, I thought it was a great idea. Why not take a little break just before you're saddled with 18 years of responsibility? Well if you  travel while pregnant you may face some risks and dangers—like Australian couple Brett and Sonia Broom, who had their baby while on a cruise to the U.S. and are now saddled with a potential $1 million dollar medical bill and waiting months for a visa to take the baby back home. Crazy, isn't it? But if you want to avoid a babymoon catastrophe, take some of these tips about traveling while you're pregnant.

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1. Listen to your doctor: Although traveling while pregnant is safest during your second trimester, always consult with your obstetrician before finalizing any travel plans. Your doctor can warn you of the risks and let you know whether it's safe for you to travel if you need to during your third trimester. He or she can also prepare you with a copy of your medical records, which you should definitely keep with you while traveling (along with the phone numbers for all of your doctors).  Also make sure that all of your vaccinations are  up-to-date and, if you need extras, that are you get ones that have an inactive viral or bacterial component so that they present a low risk of harming your developing child.

2. Consider driving vs. flying: Driving for long distances while pregnant requires you to wear a seat belt with both a lap and shoulder strap (with the lap pad tucked under the belly) as well as stopping at least once every two hours to stretch your legs for 10 minutes. For flying, you should also keep your seat belt on while seated (with the strap below the belly) and get up to walk up and down the aisle every 30 minutes or so. You also need to stay very well hydrated (by drinking lots of water), as dehydration can lead to Braxton Hicks contractions—which can be extremely stressful in an airplane.

3. Beware of international travel: Try to refrain from traveling overseas in your third trimester to avoid the potential risk of premature labor and other complications. But if you absolutely must go somewhere during this time, carefully research the hospital accommodations where you're going—like whether they can perform a Caesarian section in case of emergency and how well they can care for a premature infant. Also check in with your insurance if they cover pregnancy-related conditions during travel and, if they don't, purchase supplemental insurance to avoid the nightmare that the Brooms experienced.

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Have you ever traveled during pregnancy? What was the hardest part?

Image via Sean Dreilinger/flickr