Advice for Pregnant Travellers
Travelling during pregnancy is usually possible but there are important things to keep in mind:
- Always seek a medical check-up before planning your trip and again shortly before departure.
- Airline policy may vary with regard to pregnant travellers and it is advisable to check when booking as some may require medical forms to be completed.
- Domestic travel is usually acceptable up to 36 weeks gestation and international flights between 32-35 weeks, depending on the airline.
- The most risky times for travel are during the first 12-15 weeks of pregnancy when miscarriage could be more likely and after 30 weeks when complications such as pre-eclampsia are more common.
- Ante-natal facilities vary greatly between countries and you should think carefully before travelling to a country with poor medical facilities or where there are major cultural and language differences from home. This could be important if you have health problems such as threatening to miscarry or going into early labour.
- Illness during pregnancy can be more severe so take special care to avoid contaminated food and water and insect and animal bites. Avoid partially cooked meat, unpasteurised milk products and soft cheeses. In some countries infections such as tuberculosis or meningitis can be spread from close personal contact with locals and these can be serious during pregnancy both to yourself and your unborn child.
- Appropriate immunisation and malaria prevention is sometimes different during pregnancy so seek advice. Some vaccines are best avoided during pregnancy, for example those that contain live organisms. However vaccination may be safer than travelling to some high risk areas without protection. Discuss this carefully with your doctor or nurse.
- Medical Records. It is important to get the 'all clear' from your own doctor or obstetrician before departure. Taking written records including details of your blood group are likely to be helpful if you need medical attention while away.
- Ensure your insurance policy covers pregnancy but remember insurance policies are only as good as the facilities available.