Pregnant Travellers

Helpful hints for travelling while pregnant

Pre travel advice

Being pregnant whist travelling increases the risks for a number of common and less common health problems. Some commonly used vaccinations and medications are not appropriate to use in pregnancy. Each pregnancy and in different stages of each pregnancy may have different implications for the traveller. It is best to see a travel doctor as early as possible to help with planning safe travel during pregnancy.

Restrictions on travel

Most airlines will not allow travel beyond 36 weeks but it is important to check this and they may require a certificate from your doctor. Any prolonged travel where you are sitting for long periods increases the risk of blood clots. Compression stockings and regular getting up and moving around may help. In later pregnancy there may be physical discomfort and frequent needing the toilet. Consider this when planning how you travel.

Vaccinations

Routine vaccinations for travel are important, as you are often more at risk from some of these diseases than you would be normally. Some vaccines are best avoided in pregnant woman so you should discuss your needs with a travel doctor.

Food and drink

In addition to the precautions with alcohol and listeria, pregnant travellers need to be especially mindful of food and water born illness. Many of these diseases can be worse in pregnancy.

Malaria and other insect born illness

Malaria in particular can be more serious in pregnancy and there is a more limited range of prophylaxis. Talk to your Doctor about what is best to take on your trip. Preventing mosquito bites is also important for other mosquito born disease such as dengue and chikungunya. There are many different mosquito repellants available; ones containing DEET are proven to be effective and safe in pregnancy. Other repellants may be either less effective or less safe in pregnancy so check with your doctor if you want to use something else.

Activities

Certain activities may be more risky when pregnant, such as Scuba diving. Your body may feel different and you may have more problems with extremes of heat, altitude and certain activities.

Complications of pregnancy and seeking help

The risks of problems change through the different stages of pregnancy. Early in pregnancy there is a chance of complications such as miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. A health check with your Doctor before travel may help to check for any signs of problems but also consider how far from health care you will be on your travel if anything does happen.
Later in pregnancy other health problems may crop up that mean you should change your plans and it is important to consider provisions for checking your health and the health of the pregnancy if you are away for any length of time.

Insurance

It is important to ensure that you travel insurance covers you for pregnancy related care and medical evacuation if needed.