OBJECTIVE: The purpose of our study was to examine
current travel patterns and behaviors of pregnant women. METHODS: We developed
a questionnaire adapted from a publication by Kingman and Economides to examine
the travel behavior of women during pregnancy in a suburban community. RESULTS:
A convenience sample of 102 patients completed the travel questionnaire.
Forty-six (45.1%) traveled during the current pregnancy. Thirty-one (30.4%)
traveled more than once. A total of 257 trips were taken by the participants: 113
(43.9%) trips were taken in the first trimester, 87 (33.8%) in the second and
59 (22.9%) in the third trimester. Trip length ranged from 2-90 days with a
mean of 11 days. Reasons for travel included:193
(75.1%) for leisure, 37 (14.4%) work related, 10 (3.9%) trips for emergencies,
and 3 (0.4%) trips for relocation.？Eighteen women (17.6%) traveled
internationally. One (1.0%) woman was hospitalized while traveling.Manner
of travel was as follows: car 167 (65.0%), plane 67 (26.1%), train 13 (5.1) %,
bus 10 (3.9%) and none by boat. Nineteen
(41.3%) women sought travel advice. Thirteen (68.4%) asked for advice
from a doctor, 2 (10.5%) from a nurse, 2 (10.5%) from family and/or friends, 1
(5.3%) from the Internet and 1 (5.3%) from a travel book. Seventeen(37%),
traveled without suitable insurance. DISCUSSION: Travel ratesduring
pregnancy have remained surprisingly stable over the past 60 years. Almost 50%
of our cohort traveled during pregnancy, and the majority did not seek advice
prior to travel. In light of new infectious disease threats, obstetric practice
and advice needs reassessment. The majority of travel during pregnancy remains
optional. Improved patient education and consultations prior to travel could
decrease health risks.
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