Pregnancy and Travel

All of us are travelling more than ever before, many women therefore need to know where and how they can travel if they’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

In most cases, pregnant women can travel safely , even to exotic destinations. But it’s important to be aware of a number of factors particularly relating to insurance, vaccination and medicines.

In addition, there are a number of special rules for pregnant women who wish to travel by air.
Under IATA guidelines, pregnant women can be allowed to fly depending on their past history, number of foetuses carried and weeks of gestation. For example an uncomplicated single pregnancy may be accepted in weeks 36 to 38, if the flying time doesn’t exceed four hours and with a letter of confirmation from the airline.
But a complicated multiple pregnancy may not be accepted beyond 32 weeks, many airlines will not carry pregnant women after 36 weeks. Airlines normally refuse to fly pregnant women who have previously given birth prematurely (pre-term) or have had blood clots in the veins of their legs. These factors also apply to the journey home. If you travelled out during the seventh month of pregnancy, there’s a risk that you may not be allowed to board the return flight if you’re in the eighth or ninth month of your pregnancy at the time of your return journey.

On the plane

  • The air humidity in the cabins of passenger aircraft is kept at only 8 per cent, so pregnant women should drink plenty of fluids particularly on long flights.
  • Pregnant women run an increased risk of inflammation and blood clots in veins of the legs and should avoid sitting still for too long.
  • A pregnant woman should have an aisle seat and move around as much as possible, at least 15 minutes every hour. This can also be supplemented with vein pumping exercises. The same advice also applies to long car and bus journeys.
  • The wearing of seat belts in both aircraft and cars is recommended for all pregnant women. They should be worn as far as possible, low over the pelvis. For pregnant women, the risk of damage from wearing a seat belt is considered to be less than that caused by not wearing one.
  • Travel Insurance and Pregnancy
    Your pregnancy is not a ‘pre-existing condition’,however you should check your policy to see if you will be covered for all eventualities . Hospital charges abroad can be enormous, a premature birth or medical problem are distressing enough without a huge bill at the end. The same level of medical cover as we receive in Britain is not available throughout Europe. Even when travelling in the UK consider insurance to cover costs such as cancellation or delayed return.

    Finally, there’s a need to be careful with a number of activities such as diving, hiking and water sports which make particular demands on a woman’s body during pregnancy. Although a pregnancy that progresses normally is not an illness, it will often mean that you have consulted a doctor or been referred for examination in a hospital within the last two months prior to departure. If this is the case, you might not be covered under the conditions of your travel insurance. Insurance companies vary in their requirements, so it’s advisable to check with your travel agent or travel insurance company about whether you need a written ‘pre-travel health statement’ prior to departure. This would usually be provided by your GP.

    Holidaysafe policies include emergency medical expenses cover for pregnancy and childbirth from week 0 to week 28 whilst you are away.
    From the start of week 29 to week 40 of the pregnancy, there is no cover for claims relating to normal pregnancy and normal childbirth, however, medical expenses cover will be provided if any of the following complications arise:

    • Toxaemia (toxins in the blood)
    • Gestational hypertension (high blood pressure arising as a result of pregnancy)
    • Ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that develops outside of the uterus)
    • Post-partum haemorrhage (excessive bleeding following childbirth)
    • Pre-eclampsia (where you develop high blood pressure, carry abnormal fluid and have protein in your urine during the second half of pregnancy)
    • Molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole (a pregnancy in which a tumour develops from the placental tissue)
    • Retained placenta membrane (part or all of the placenta is left behind in the uterus after delivery)
    • Placental abruption (part or all of the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus)
    • Hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive vomiting as a result of pregnancy)
    • Placenta praevia (when the placenta is in the lower part of the uterus and covers part or all of the cervix)
    • Stillbirth
    • Miscarriage
    • Emergency Caesarean section
    • A termination needed for medical reasons
    • Premature birth more than 12 weeks (or 16 weeks if you know you are having more than one baby) before the expected delivery date

    If at the time you purchase your travel insurance, you know that you will be 28 to 40 weeks pregnant during your trip, you will be unable to claim cancellation for your trip. In the event that you make a claim for any medical costs, our Claims Department will ask you for confirmation from your doctor that you were fit to travel.

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    Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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