Almost 60% of parents-to-be report taking a babymoon, or a pre-baby vacation, according to one survey by Liberty Travel and BabyCenter.com. While many parents are eager to book a flight for a last solo vacation before the baby’s arrival, however, those who are nervous about traveling while pregnant — or even soon after the baby is born — may have their reservations. Here’s what to expect when you’re expecting.
Flying while pregnant
While it’s generally safe to fly until 36 weeks in a healthy pregnancy (though some international flights may restrict travel after the 28th week), flying isn’t usually recommended for women who happen to experience a pregnancy complication — such as preeclampsia or preterm labor.
While flying during a healthy pregnancy isn’t generally a problem until the month before your due date, there are multiple considerations worth keeping in mind should you spring for a pre-baby trip. For example, your airline of choice may have regulations in place regarding pregnant passengers and may even require a medical certificate, so calling ahead of time and getting familiar with any policies is always a great idea. According to whattoexpect.com, the best time to travel during pregnancy tends to be weeks 14 through 18, since you may feel too nauseated or tired to travel comfortably during the first trimester. With that in mind, talking with your doctor and confirming that flying to your destination of choice before booking a flight is essential when planning a safe trip.
The risks of traveling with a newborn
While you can technically travel with a newborn baby, it isn’t recommended due to the several risks involved. While travel before one week of age is not recommended, it’s important to keep in mind that generally, doctors will advise against travel for the first several months as well — and for good reason. Because traveling involves being around large groups of people, the potential of exposure to illness and other infections is a major risk. Healthline notes that vaccine-preventable diseases are another concern at such a young age, because babies haven’t had the time to get vaccines and be protected against such diseases.
Tips for traveling with baby
While travel may be necessary for some new babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until your baby is two to three months old, (and has a more mature immune system). And, like when pregnant, consulting with a medical professional as well as your chosen airline is essential in ensuring that your baby is healthy to fly and meets any airline requirements, like a medical certificate.
That said, if you do travel with your baby, ensuring that you’re prepared and have plenty of supplies for the trip is imperative for a smooth journey. Bringing along supplies for yourself on the trip, such as a “new mom” gift from a friend can also make an overwhelming trip more bearable. For example, bringing along a cozy robe can be a great way to relax once you get to your destination, while a care package or even a list of movie recommendations can help to unwind on or after a stressful flight.
Planning to travel while pregnant or needing to travel with an infant can make for an overwhelming experience. However, by consulting with your doctor, getting informed on airline policies, knowing the risks involved and traveling with all the right supplies can all make for a smooth journey.