So, you have found out you are pregnant. Firstly, congratulations and secondly, good luck! I’m kidding, kind of. Pregnancy can be a time of mixed-emotions, constant fatigue and wanting nothing more than to settle down on the sofa with a cup of ice in one hand and chalk in the other. It’s no wonder so many expecting parents want to jet abroad for a chance to relax before the little one arrives.
Having said that, planning the trip can be anything but relaxing. This is why Travel Insurance Explained has got you covered with some handy tips and advice for travelling during pregnancy.
When to Travel During Pregnancy
Most people chose to travel during their second trimester (4-6 months). During the first three-months morning sickness and hormonal changes can play havoc with your body and during the third trimester, most airlines will not allow you to fly.
How to Travel During Pregnancy
While flying during pregnancy is perfectly safe, most airlines will not allow you to travel past 32-weeks – just in case you go into labour mid-flight! If you are flying during any point during your pregnancy make sure you get a doctor’s note to show the airline when boarding.
Not a fan of flying? Travelling by car is an option. Just make sure you take plenty of snacks, stay hydrated and take regular pitstops so you can get up and move. Also, if you can, share the drive with someone else – particularly if it is a long journey. Watch out for car sickness though; keep the window open a little and focus on the horizon if you start to feel nauseous.
A cruise may also be an option, but they carry the same 32-week rule as airline. They will also ask for a doctor’s note, so be sure to have this on hand otherwise you may be refused boarding.
The Right Travel Insurance
Pregnancy doesn’t need to be declared when taking out travel insurance, but it is a good idea to let your insurer know. Cover-wise, most travel insurers will cover for medical expenses related to pregnancy up to 28 weeks. After 28 weeks you will only be covered if a complication arises i.e. an emergency c-section is required. Costs relating to a premature birth, where the baby is born small but healthy, will not be covered.
You may be wondering if certain vaccinations are harmful to your unborn baby – and the answer is yes. Whilst we are not doctors, it is not advisable for you to have live-vaccines during pregnancy. If you are concerned, speak with your midwife or GP. It could be that you change your destination or use alternative methods to vaccinations such as insect repellent or tablets.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus is also a concern when pregnant. The disease is known to cause microcephaly (abnormally small heads) in new-borns which can lead to brain development issues. Our advice is to avoid travelling to countries that are known to carry the virus to eliminate any risk.
What happens if I give birth abroad?
Giving birth abroad can be a scary experience. Unfamiliar hospitals and surroundings, not to mention the language barrier can cause concern, but the best thing to do in this situation is remain calm and remember your midwife’s advice.
Depending on when your baby is born, you may need to stay abroad for a number of days, weeks or months. Premature babies are not able to fly home until they are at least full-term and strong enough to do so. Some travel insurance policies will cover the additional accommodation, flights and baby supplies – as well as someone to come and help with the baby until you can come home, so this is something to look into if you are travelling nearer your third trimester.
How long should I wait before going abroad after giving birth?
It is recommended that babies are at least two weeks old when they fly, but some airlines will have their own regulations so be sure to check this when you are booking the holiday.
Remember, your new-born will need a passport to travel – or a birth certificate for domestic flights.
Some final thoughts…
Go Short haul – Pregnancy can make travelling rather uncomfortable so you may want to keep flights as short as possible. Try to stick to Europe, or keep flights between 2-3 hours so they are not as taxing on your body.
Wear Compression Socks – Pregnancy women are more at risk of developing blood clots. To help prevent this, ensure that you wear flight socks when flying – or during long car journeys. You can find them at most pharmacies.
Combatting nausea – Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is likely you will experience nausea when travelling during pregnancy, especially if you opt to travel by boat. Although there are medications available, they may not be suitable to take during pregnancy. Having said that there are anti-sickness bands which use acupressure to relieve symptoms of nausea and herbal remedies that you can buy over the counter.
Food and drink abroad – Food poisoning, infections and extreme heat are known to bring on early labour, though this is rare. When on holiday it is a good idea to steer clear of shellfish and street food vendors. Also, try to stick to bottled water and avoid having ice in your drink.