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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Traveling While Pregnant

Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria and if infected, they are more likely to suffer a severe reaction. Pregnant women are twice as attractive to mosquitoes as other people. Researchers believe this is due to the fact that pregnant women breathe 20 percent heavier and have a higher body temperature, which may result in more perspiration. Breathing and sweat both attract mosquitoes. The mortality rate for pregnant women infected with malaria is 2 to 10 times higher than other adults. There are also a limited number of preventative drugs and treatments for malaria that are safe during pregnancy. While few problems have been reported, you should avoid excessive use of DEET-based insect repellents since they are absorbed through the skin. Lemon eucalyptus-based repellents are not readily absorbed through the skin, so they may be a better choice for pregnant women. However, neither type of repellent has been formally tested for pregnant women.

More research is needed to determine the effect of West Nile virus on unborn babies. In 2002 there was one case of transmission of West Nile virus from a mother to her fetus. The newborn was later born infected with the virus and had severe neurological problems. However, it was never proven that the West Nile virus caused the baby’s abnormalities. Several other mothers infected with the virus in 2002 did not pass the infection on to their fetuses and the baby’s were born normally. If you think you may be infected with West Nile virus (symptoms include fever, headaches, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, and sensitivity to light) you should see your doctor immediately and be tested for the virus.

Air Travel

Most airlines allow pregnant women to travel domestically up to their 36th week and internationally up to their 32nd week. However, each airline has its own policy, so check with your airline before you fly. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the safest time for you to travel is during your second trimester. You’ll generally be feeling your best and have the lowest risk of miscarriage or premature labor. Women in their third trimester are advised to stay within 300 miles of home in case of sudden complications.

Depending on your size while pregnant, you may have a harder time getting comfortable in a coach airplane seat. If you can’t afford to upgrade your seat, request an aisle seat at the bulkhead for maximum space. Be sure to bring a bottle of water with you on the plane and drink frequently to counteract the effects of the low-humidity cabins. Get up and walk around every half hour if possible and stretch your legs often to prevent phlebitis. Always wear your safety belt while seated, and be sure it is placed low on your pelvic bone, and never across your belly. While you are pregnant, travel on major airlines with pressurized cabins and avoid smaller (un-pressurized) planes. If you must take a smaller, un-pressurized plane, avoid flying at altitudes above 7,000 feet.


Traveling by sea while you are pregnant is generally considered safe. However, most cruise lines have restrictions against women sailing during their third trimester. If you are taking a cruise during your first trimester, the motion of the boat may exacerbate your morning sickness.

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