By Dr. Jan Rydfors
Summer is here, and you are pregnant! Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your summer and potential travel plans.
Hydration. Remember that hydration is extra important now. Frequent fluid intake is needed since more water evaporates from your skin when you are pregnant, and the summer heat will enhance that fluid loss. Try to drink at least 10 eight-ounce glasses of fluid every day and even more on hot days. The free mobile App, Pregnancy Companion® has a fun hydration counter to make it easy to keep track of your fluid intake!
Sun. You will be seeing a lot of sun this summer. Sun feels good and getting a nice tan is always fun, but be careful now that you are pregnant. The high pregnancy hormones will increase your chances of skin discoloration that might be permanent, so remember to put on ultra strong sun block of SPF 50 or more when you go out. If you want to be extra careful with the sun, do remember to put sun block on your skin even under your clothes since clothes only provide a SPF block of 10 or so.
Plane travel. Plane travel is safe in pregnancy despite some voiced concerns regarding cosmic radiation and low oxygen levels in the passenger compartment. The risk in both cases is negligible. Try to get an aisle seat so that you can go to the bathroom frequently and take repeated walks down the aisles. Attach your seat belt 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 cut off. Many use 36 weeks as a cut off, but some use an earlier age. 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, do contact your OB before leaving. Finally, if you are prone to nausea, ask your OB for some nausea medication.
Car and boat travel. A lot of you will be taking car trips this summer, and it is a good idea to plan a little. Do remember to wear your seat belt at all times and make sure it does not cover your pregnant belly. Try to limit the car trip to 6 hours per day and remember to take frequent breaks every 1 to 2 hours to stretch and go to the restroom. This will also help to prevent blood clots in your legs. Being stuck in a car for hours might be a little uncomfortable so be sure to bring a pillow or two with you. If you are prone to nausea, consider nausea bands or some prescribed nausea medication from your OB. Finally, it is a good idea to bring some snacks and bottled water as well as a small roll of toilet paper. For those of you who prefer the leisure of a cruise trip, do remember to plan for potential nausea and ask your OB for some nausea medication such as Odansitron or the Scopolamine patch. They are both felt to be safe in pregnancy.
International traveling. Many of you will be going abroad for a last hurrah before your baby comes. Plan wisely to ensure a memorable trip. Make sure you use safe drinking water. Bottled carbonated water is the safest to use when unsure about the tap water. Alternatively, you can also boil your tap water for 3 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.
Before going, have your OB prescribe you some nausea medication and antibiotics in the event that you get sick. 1000mg of Azithromycin is the drug of choice in pregnancy if you get travel diarrhea. In order to avoid dehydration from the diarrhea, you can use over the counter Immodium that is felt to be safe to use in pregnancy. Rehydrate your self with coconut juice, Pedialyte and broth soups. Finally, toilets abroad will often not have any toilet paper so bring with you a small roll at all times!
About the Author:
Dr. Jan Rydfors is a board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist (OB/GYN) who received his medical degree and specialty training from Stanford University Medical Center. He has a clinical faculty position at Stanford University Medical Center and co-wrote the popular Handbook in Obstetrics and Gynecology (known by OB/GYNs as the Red Book), now in its 10th edition and translated into twelve languages. He’s the Co-founder and Chief Medical Advisor of OB-on-the-Go, creators of the popular Pregnancy Companion app. http://www.obonthego.co