Traveling Abroad During Pregnancy

Prepare for unsafe food and water

Travel in other countries brings you in contact with diseases that are not common in the United States. Natives of a country are used to the organisms found in the food and water, but the same organisms can make a visitor ill. As a rule, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid tap water and undercooked meat while visiting another country. There may be some countries or American resorts where this is not the case, so speak with your doctor about it if you have any doubts. Here are some ways to avoid unsafe food and water:

  • Drink only bottled water, bottled or canned soft drinks, hot tea or broth. Iodine used to purify water may not be safe for pregnant women.
  • Don't use ice in your drinks and don't use glasses that could have been washed in tap water. Drink out of the bottle or use paper cups.
  • Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables unless they have been cooked or can be peeled.
  • Stay away from raw or lightly cooked meat. It can contain organisms that cause toxoplasmosis. This disease may injure the fetus.
  • Make sure the milk you drink has been pasteurized.

Eating or drinking these unsafe organisms can cause traveler's diarrhea -- which may be a minor nuisance to someone who is not pregnant, but is a greater concern for pregnant women. If you do get diarrhea, drink plenty of fluids. Do not take any medication without checking with a doctor first. A doctor can arrange for medication that is safe for use during pregnancy.

Source: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Copyright © 2001 Meredith Corporation.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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