Giving birth does not have to be the end of your adventurous and travelling life. While new mothers should take precautions to guarantee their safety and well-being on excursions, they can still travel securely in most cases. Learn more about postpartum travel here.
What can you read in this article?
- Postpartum travel: When can I travel after giving birth?
- 4 reasons why you shouldn’t travel right after giving birth
Postpartum travel: When can I travel after giving birth?
The pandemic, pregnancy, and giving birth may have put a pin on your travel plans, but until when should you wait before it is safe for you to travel again?
In most cases, you will not have to wait long to travel after giving birth. Most difficulties from labor occur within a few days of delivery, and if you have no complications, you can travel soon after, as long as you take a few preventive actions to secure your health.
If you have recently given birth, you may be eager to travel so that family and friends may meet your child, especially if you live far away from loved ones.
Not-too-strenuous travel a few weeks following a vaginal delivery or a c-section is likely fine with your healthcare provider’s approval for most new moms who have had few, if any, birthing issues and are healing well.
However, many providers and physicians may advise you to avoid non-essential travel (particularly air travel) with your newborn until they are at least three months old.
4 reasons why you shouldn’t travel right after giving birth
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1. You may put yourself and your baby at risk of infection.
So far, your newborn has not developed immunity (complex biological mechanisms that protect your body from hazardous, foreign chemicals). It takes approximately 2 to 3 months for babies to build immunity.
Postpartum travel with your newborn will expose your baby to the risk of infection. The first four to eight weeks of your baby’s existence require special care.
Some airlines may refuse to transport infants. Even your body is more sensitive to infections after childbirth. Your body is frail and susceptible to infection.
You are also at high risk of blood clots (gel-like lumps of blood) at this time. Unless there is an emergency, it is advisable to postpone your postpartum travel.
2. Caesarean (C-section) delivery may bring various complications.
If you’ve recently had a cesarean delivery, you might want to think twice about riding away on vacation. Doctors warn that problems from a C-section may include bleeding, oedema, infections in the stitches, blood clots, the opening of your stitches, and so on.
It is not recommended that you carry big luggage or move quickly. To avoid soreness or swelling, keep your legs elevated at all times. Mothers who have had a C-section should wait six weeks before thinking about postpartum travel.
3. It is not advisable to miss your doctor’s appointment.
After delivery, both you and your baby should have a schedule for your next doctor’s appointment. Your newborn must receive his or her vaccination on time. To be safe, your newborn’s wellness check-up should also be done at regular intervals.
Your obstetrician/gynecologist would schedule follow-up appointments with you to ensure that everything is in order. If you fly out, you will be unable to attend a doctor’s visit, and missing these important appointments is not recommended.
Labour and delivery are grueling experiences. Travelling will just make your condition worse. Rest is the best way to recover after giving birth to your child.
Long-distance postpartum travel causes jet lag, which can develop into a sleep disturbance. Sleep deprivation can cause irritation, depression, exhaustion, and a lower quality of life. It is critical to obtain enough rest before getting back on your feet.
Things to remember before postpartum travel
Consult your OB and pediatrician to ensure that you are safe to go.
Everyone’s body is different, therefore some women may need more time to recuperate following childbirth than others. Furthermore, because your infant’s immune system is still developing, she is at a higher risk of infection, which you can discuss with your health care specialists.
Wait one to two weeks following delivery if you had a vaginal birth, or three to four weeks if you had a Caesarean section.
The majority of difficulties from vaginal birth occur within the first week or two, while those after C-section usually occur within a few days. You will most likely not encounter any negative effects if you are past these time ranges. However, long-term weariness and pain from the surgery may occur afterwards.
In the event of an emergency or for your own peace of mind, locate the nearest medical care facility in your destination.
If you’re still keen on travelling with your baby, make sure you have planned the trip accordingly. Do your research on the nearest medical facilities in your destination, and have the phone number of your doctor and child’s doctor on speed dial in case of medical emergencies. Make sure you have medical insurance when you travel with your newborn as well.
Also, don’t forget to include a first aid kit and some medicines on your travel checklist.
Be as comfortable as you can when you travel.
Dress comfortably for your trip. Travelling may be more taxing on your body after giving birth, so pack clothes that are as comfy as possible.
You will find that travelling with a newborn can be expensive, you have to look into the most comfortable flights and accommodations for you and your baby, as well as reserve bassinets for the flight and additional baggage for your strollers. Also, you may need to consider your baby’s feeding schedule during the trip.
You may have to shell out a few extra dollars to travel in the most comfortable way possible, but that’s the cost of travelling with the most important person – your baby.
If complications happened during your delivery, pack any medical records. These documents will be critical if you require medical attention.
Things to remember while you’re in postpartum travel
Image source: iStock
Stand up and stretch on a regular basis.
You should stretch and walk at least once per hour, so if you’re travelling by car, plan on stopping frequently. Standing will prevent blood clots from developing, which women are more likely to experience after giving birth.
To stay hydrated while travelling, drink plenty of water.
Dehydration can cause complications, slow down healing and affect your milk supply if you’re breastfeeding. So make sure to drink lots of fluids especially if your trip includes some time outdoors.
Know where the nearest medical help is, both at your destination and along the road.
Postpartum travel may cause complications such as blood clots, bleeding, and infection but these are rare cases, especially during the first week or two following delivery. However, C-section recovery difficulties such as wound infection and incision separation are more likely to develop within the first few days after delivery.
If you had an episiotomy or any perineal tearing during your vaginal birth, you may be in discomfort for several weeks, which travel may aggravate. A C-section is also a severe surgery that requires several weeks to recuperate from.
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When can I drive after giving birth?
Whether you had a vaginal or C-section delivery, specialists advise you to avoid driving for at least one or two weeks, or until getting behind the wheel no longer feels uncomfortable or unpleasant.
Wait a week following a vaginal birth before driving a car, advises Robert Atlas, M.D., an OB-GYN at Mercy Medical Centre in Baltimore.
“You use your abs to transfer your foot from the throttle to the stop,” he said. Women who had a vaginal delivery but suffered a large tear or an episiotomy may also need to avoid driving for a while.
If you’ve had a C-section, you should anticipate being out of the driver’s seat for two to three weeks. You won’t be able to lift anything heavier than your baby’s weight after a C-section, so raising a car seat is out of the question. In an emergency, you won’t have the abdominal muscles to press down on the brake pedal.
If you’re taking opioids for pain relief, avoid driving totally and consult your healthcare professional before getting back behind the wheel. However, it is better to wait until any medication has cleared your system, you are not in pain, and you feel safe and confident before getting behind the wheel.
Image source: iStock
Margaret Dow, MD, an OB-GYN at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, recommends starting with this: Sit in the car and practice sliding your foot from the accelerator to the brake and turning to look over your shoulders numerous times. Check to see if you can perform it effortlessly and painlessly. Some women can do this several days following surgery, while others may have to wait a few weeks.
The main point is that you must rest for a few weeks after giving birth to your child. Unless and until there is an urgent need to fly with your infant, you can leave as soon as four to eight weeks after delivery. If you need to travel urgently, you must first visit your child’s pediatrician and your obstetrician to get medical clearance.