Guest post by Women’s Health Expert Elizabeth Stein, CNM, MSN, MPH
Many women are reluctant to travel once they become pregnant, uncertain about the risks it imposes on their growing fetus. Most physicians and midwives agree that moderate travel during a healthy pregnancy is acceptable, however, it is important for pregnant women to understand safe travel techniques to maintain the highest level of health and comfort while away from home.
Elizabeth Stein, a leading women’s health expert and Certified Nurse Midwife, heads up the NYC practice Ask Your Midwife, PC. Here she lends advice on this important subject of travel tips for pregnant women. After delivering thousands of babies over a twenty-five year career, her wisdom is often called upon in public talks as well as private consultations with her clients.
TOP TIPS FOR TRAVEL DURING PREGNANCY:
1. Keep your insurance card and important phone numbers with you at all times. If you go into labor or your water breaks while out of town, call your midwife or physician immediately so that they can direct you to the appropriate hospital. Your medical records can be faxed, but a midwife or physician unfamiliar to you will be responsible for your care.
2. If you are considering plane travel, discuss your plans with your midwife or physician ahead of time to determine if it is a safe choice. Check with your airline to see if they require a letter of medical or obstetrical clearance if you are close to your due date. Once inside the plane walk up and down the aisle every 45 minutes to an hour. Eat, drink and use the restroom continuously. Most airlines, as well as midwives and physicians, strongly discourage flying after 35 weeks of pregnancy, when the mother is full term.
3. When traveling by car, keep your seat belt on at all times. The proper way to wear a seat belt during pregnancy is lap belt under the abdomen; the shoulder strap should be worn coming down between the breasts, securely fastened on the side. Stop the car every hour or so to walk and get the blood flowing in your legs, as well eat, drink and use the restroom.
4. Wear support stockings (also known as compression stockings) especially during travel. Sitting for a long period of time can put pregnant women at risk of blood clot formation. Support stockings can greatly reduce this risk.
5. It is ideal to be near your midwife or physician, and the hospital you plan to deliver at throughout your entire pregnancy. If a woman goes into preterm labor (between 24-34 weeks), the baby’s health will depend on the available technology and a qualified neonatal staff. After 35 weeks, which is clinically full term, you are better off staying home–eating, drinking, resting and keeping track of your baby’s movements–rather than traveling.
About Elizabeth Stein
Elizabeth Stein, CNM, MSN, MPH, is a well known midwife. Through her practice, Ask Your Midwife, PC, Elizabeth works closely with her patients to educate, encourage, and empower them to make choices that enhance their overall health, pregnancy experience and strengthens their family. She combines current medical knowledge and modern technology with the caring inherent in midwifery.
Elizabeth Stein practices obstetrics and gynecology in New York City. She offers full scope care which includes prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, breastfeeding support, annual GYN exam, breast exam, Pap smear, HPV testing, HPV vaccination (Gardasil), family planning, STD screening and treatment, infertility treatment, perimenopausal and postmenopausal care.
Stein completed her midwifery education at Columbia University in New York City and holds Master’s Degrees in Nursing and Public Health. Elizabeth Stein has been certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives since 1985 and is licensed in New York State. She has extensive experience with high-risk pregnancies as well as normal obstetrics and gynecology.
As a leading expert and practitioner of modern midwifery, Elizabeth Stein regularly comments on topics including women’s health, pregnancy, family planning, as well as public policy issues impacting the midwifery community.
To learn more about Elizabeth Stein and Ask Your Midwife, please visit AskYourMidwife.com.