Pregnant and Travelling
Talk to your Doctor or Health Professional.
A lot of health professionals do not recommend travelling after your 30th week.
It is important you talk to your doctor or health professional as they can advise you on any vaccination or medications needed for your trip and which ones are safe during pregnancy.
You're more at risk of Thrush whilst pregnant and travelling to a hot humid climate increases the chances. Loose cotton clothing will help and possibly packing some anti-fungal cream. Consult your doctor about which treatment is safe for your stage of pregnancy.
If you are travelling after your 26th week don't forget to ask the doctor for a health statement / letter as you may need to provide it to your airline.
Check the pregnancy polices of all the airlines you are using.
The rules vary across all the airlines so do your research, understand the restrictions and obtain any documentation you'll need. If you are flying during your third trimester this is extremely important to prevent delays.
Some airlines will only take women up until 26 weeks of pregnancy and some will allow travel up until 36 weeks with the correct documentation. Most airlines will have their policy available online or will be able to assist you over the phone. If you are 28 weeks pregnant or more, some airlines will require a letter from your healthcare provider stating that you're fit to travel, dated no more tan 10 days prior to travel. Some airlines require quite a bit of detail so do your research.
Domestic flights of short duration generally have no restrictions for pregnant women. However it is recommended that you check with the airline as the may have a specific policy or restriction on a complicated or multiple pregnancy.
Make sure you have all the medications you need.
Ensure you take enough of any prescription medicine, especially if you're going somewhere they might not be readily available. Pack them in your hand luggage in case your checked luggage goes missing. Keep the medication in the existing packaging and take a copy of your scripts for any overzealous customs inspectors.
For more information on travelling with prescription medicines see our article Travelling with Prescription Medicine
It is also a good idea to take adequate amounts of vitamins supplements and any other over the counter products you might require. A small first aid kit is also a good idea.
Do your research and plan your trip carefully.
The 2nd trimester of pregnancy is usually the best time to travel as the chances of complications are lower. The most important consideration when planning your trip is the standard of local medical care at your destination. Avoid travelling to places where emergency services are not readily available, such as going on a safari in the middle of Africa. If complications in the pregnancy develop inadequate medical services are a major concern.
Reconsider if you are planning to travel to an area with a high malaria risk. This is less than ideal during pregnancy as you are twice as likely to be bitten by a mosquito due to increased body heat and the release of volatile substances from the skin surface. Malaria is more dangerous when pregnant and anti-malaria tablets are a problem during pregnancy.
Travelling with a companion is always advisable to make the trip easier or case of any complications.
You are more prone to problems such as bladder and respiratory infection during pregnancy so carry antibiotics that are safe to use during pregnancy. Any fever increases the risk of miscarriage particularly in the early stages of pregnancy.
Avoid dehydration and be careful selecting food and drink while overseas. Bacteria are more dangerous when pregnant; Escherichia coli (E. Coli), salmonella and cholera are the most common water-borne bacteria along with protozoan such as giardia and cryptosporidium which are usually associated with poor hygiene and sanitation. Many of the drugs used to treat these are not safe to use whilst pregnant.
You are also at a higher risk of dehydration, particularly when flying. Ensure you drink enough liquids and be careful where your get your water from. For more information see our article on Drinking Water Overseas
Destinations higher than 3,000 meters are not recommended when pregnant. You should seek specialised travel health advice if you are visiting a high altitude destination. Also avoid activities such as scuba diving, waterskiing, snowboarding, along with waterslides or amusement park rides as sudden acceleration/deceleration or forceful landings could harm your baby.
It is also recommended to avoid saunas and hot tubs as some studies that show increasing your body temperature is a concern particularly during the early stages of pregnancy.
Pregnancy, Airports and Flying.
Flying in small non-pressurized planes is not recommended when pregnant. There are concerns that women and their babies might not receive enough oxygen during non-pressurized flights. Ask for oxygen if you feel faint or short of breath.
Travel in pressurized aircraft is generally safe but there is a slightly increased risk of deep vein thrombosis. There is special travel socks designed for flying which can also relieve swollen ankles and prevent various veins.
Book an aisle seat for the bathroom trips and wear your seatbelt low, around the pelvis.
Keep a bottle of water with you as well. It's always important to avoid dehydration, and you're particularly at risk when flying. Drinking extra fluids will help prevent swollen feet and ankles too.
Keeping hydrated whilst flying will help prevent swollen feet and ankles too. Also pack a lot of healthy snacks in your hand luggage to keep hunger at bay.
Before you leave, prepare a list of key names and phone numbers you'll need in case of emergency and pack it in your carry-on luggage
Metal detectors used in airports use low-frequency electromagnetic fields to look for metal objects. These are considered safe for everyone including pregnant women. The metal detecting wands are also considered safe.
The new type of security scanner used in some airports is a backscatter X-ray system. The strength of the x-ray beam is so low it just penetrates your clothing and your internal organs receive virtually no dose. They are also considered safe, however if you have safety concerns or feel uncomfortable being scanned, ask for a physical "pat-down" search instead.
How your Travel Insurance policy relates to you?
Travel Insurance providers have different conditions and coverage relating to travelling whilst pregnant. For more information see our article Travel Insurance and Pregnancy.