Tips For Traveling To High Altitude And Pregnancy

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Are you wondering how high altitude and pregnancy will work?

I’ve been pregnant twice at altitude and I’m using that experience to provide these tips and considerations for traveling to altitude when pregnant.  These thoughts in no way constitute medical or professional advice, they’re simply the advice of one mother who’s experienced altitude while pregnant a couple of times!

Tips For Traveling To High Altitude And Pregnancy
Overlooking Cusco, Peru enjoying a high altitude pregnancy with baby #1
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Traveling To A High Altitude And Pregnancy Tips

Consult Your Doctor About High Altitude And Pregnancy

First up, before booking your trip, consult your doctor.  Talk about how advanced you will be in your pregnancy if it’s got any risks and their opinion about high altitude and pregnancy.

Consider Whether This Trip Is Really Necessary

Do you really need to do this trip to high altitude right now?  Is it something that you could do with children, later on? Are you prepared to risk your pregnancy for the travel?  If the answer is “Yes, I’m healthy, I’m fit, and I have an uncomplicated pregnancy,” then read on.

altitude sickness and pregnancy, peru
Cusco, Plaza de Armas

Be Honest With Yourself About Your Health

This sounds obvious, but make sure you are in optimum health and are not suffering unduly from the pregnancy.  Are you still able to walk considerable distances without huffing and puffing?

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Without getting technical, the blood at altitude runs through your body at a different rate – so that you need to have a good deal of fitness to be able to pass the oxygen around your blood while at higher altitude.  You need to have a good level of fitness to even walk short distances.  It goes without saying you should also have good iron levels!

altitude sickness and pregnancy, peru
Visiting Santa Rosa de Lima after spending several months in Cusco pregnant.

What’s Your Attitude To International Doctors

If you have a hiccup with your pregnancy, are you willing to go and seek out help from an international doctor?  Will you accept their opinion?  You need to have had some travel experience or be open-minded in order to be able to do this.

altitude sickness and pregnancy, peru
Spending time at lower altitudes before going to high altitude is very important.

Have an Excellent Medical And Travel Insurance Policy 

If you are going to travel to altitude while pregnant, make sure that your insurance policy covers pregnancy and especially the number of weeks of pregnancy that you will be at.  Different insurance policies have different conditions or will cover you to a certain amount of weeks, so make sure that you have done your insurance research.

Please take a look at World Nomads which will insure you up to 26 weeks of pregnancy.  You can find more about their medical insurance and pregnancy here.

high altitude and pregnancy tips
At the Nazca Lines at about 16 weeks on pregnancy #1… en route to Cusco! Hardly looking pregnant!

Carry Your Medical Records

Take all your medical records with you so that if you are to visit a doctor, you have all the information and scans that you need available.  Of course, also take any medications that you are taking and ensure that you do not run out.

Plan An Easy Trip

I think it is definitely possible that high altitude and pregnancy can be managed. Yes,  you can still have an adventurous holiday while pregnant, but make sure that you allow time in the itinerary to rest.

Altitude makes your body work harder than usual.  When pregnant, your body is working harder than usual.  So altitude and pregnancy means you MUST allow time to rest.  While a very simple piece of advice,  don’t over exhaust yourself and tax the pregnancy.

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How to avoid altitude sickenss when pregnant

Acclimatize To The Altitude Very Well

As your body has extra blood pumping around it due to pregnancy, it means that it will be working doubly hard at altitude.  These are the top tips for avoiding altitude sickness while pregnant:

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Make sure that you acclimatize extremely slowly, which would mean going to low altitude type places first and then high altitude places later.  If you’re flying into somewhere directly, like Cusco, we would recommend spending the first three to four nights at the Sacred Valley, which is a lower altitude of around 2800 meters rather than flying into Cusco and staying in Cusco.  This kind of trip itinerary organization will make it much better for you when you’re pregnant.

As an example of this, when I was pregnant with my second child and had spent many years and experiences in altitude, I flew straight first to Arequipa, then upon arrival in Cusco drove straight to the Sacred Valley.  I spent 2 nights in Ollantaytambo, and then another two in Urubamba.  For my recommendations of where to stay in the Sacred Valley, please refer to this hotel recommendations list.

  • Take it easy – don’t overexert yourself
  • Avoid coffee and any other stimulants
How to avoid altitude sickenss when pregnant
That’s a big belly feeding the llama!

Investigate Your Options

I have never taken Diamox, so would especially not take it for a trip to altitude when pregnant.  However, I would investigate natural remedies for altitude sickness and pregnancy.

Other Considerations For Travel To Peru When Pregnant

When pregnant, you should avoid listeria in foods.  That means to avoid things like blue cheese or unprocessed cheeses and ham.  This advice obviously applies while traveling anywhere overseas or even locally.

So our recommendation is to not eat adventurously at all and instead stick to well-established restaurants in hotels.  In addition, always exercise extra precautions with regard to hygiene.

Pro tip

Peru has an amazing thing called ‘atenciona preferencial’ which basically means that if you are traveling with children you can skip the queue.  Better still, the locals know this and will usher you to the front of the line.  Bonus points if you are pregnant, they always look after a pregnant woman in lines and public places!

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Tips For Traveling To High Altitude And Pregnancy
With my mum in Cusco.

Conclusion – Avoiding Altitude Sickness While Pregnant

If you are considering to travel to altitude while pregnant we hope you that you have found this list of considerations and tips helpful for planning your trip.

We strongly encourage you to seek help or medical professionals before doing your booking so that you can be properly prepared for your trip to high altitude, and your baby bump!

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Tips For Traveling To High Altitude And Pregnancy

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