Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not as simple as hopping on a plane and heading off on an adventure. This applies to any form of travel. When you’re pregnant, additional considerations need to be taken into account.
Chatting to a doctor is a necessity before any travel plans. While you might feel perfectly healthy, meetings with a GP can highlight underlying issues. This is perhaps no more important than when pregnant – as you’re caring for two lives, not just the one.
For some airlines, having clearance from your doctor isn’t just a recommendation - It’s a requirement. British Airways, for example, employ a strict policy which requires pregnant travellers to get their GP to fill out a PMCU (Passenger Medical Clearance Unit) before they can fly.
A covering letter is also required. This should:
Be written no longer than 7-10 days before the start of your journey
Highlight why there are absolutely no reasons not to travel - this includes stating the date of when the pregnancy started. You may find some airlines will deny access to a flight if you cannot provide evidence of this
Be kept safe and on your person during the entirety of your trip
While this is one specific example, it’s not uncommon for most airlines to expect some sort of proof from a medical professional when it comes to travelling. As Thomas Cook Airlines point out, this is common practice for anyone who’s beyond the 27-week pregnancy period.
Sometimes, even with proof from a medical professional, an airline might still prevent a pregnant person from boarding if they believe it might cause danger for themselves or other passengers – such as in the case of an emergency exit.
In some countries, it’s a requirement to have vaccinations ahead of travelling, owing to the high risks of disease in certain areas. As a result of an underdeveloped immune system, unborn children are susceptible to being affected by the strain of live virus, which is contained in a number of immunisation processes.
In all of these circumstances, it’s best you consult with your GP regarding specific vaccinations. There’s no guarantee it will have an impact at all – and they’ll be able to provide you with a clear structure of the risks involved for each vaccination. However, if you have concerns, it’s always best to discuss them with a medical expert. Leave nothing to chance.
It must also be stated, it’s far more dangerous to head somewhere which carries a high risk of a deadly disease without having a jab. If you really can’t avoid travelling where this is the case, a vaccine is always the preferential option. Otherwise, we’ve got some great holiday suggestions coming up.
While getting vaccinated for Malaria should be fine for pregnant mothers, the NHS also advises strongly against trips to nations where the disease is prevalent. This is primarily:
The Middle East
If you’re headed to any of these regions, it’s crucial to take as many steps as you can to prevent yourself from being bitten by mosquitos. This includes covering your body and wearing pregnant-friendly bug spray.
Things are very different when it comes to more common vaccinations. All of the following are perfectly healthy for pregnant women to have:
Seasonal flu vaccine
Whooping cough vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine
These contain strains of a virus which are less deadly, and will only serve to strengthen your child before they enter the world.
Finding the Right Documentation
Just as with any vacation, essential documentation is a prerequisite when it comes to flying. While some factors are consistent across the board for everyone, there are specific items which you might need when pregnant.
1) Passport: This is a standard for everyone. A passport is required to gain legal access across international borders. Despite the fact there are technically two of you, you won’t need to apply for any kind of special passport. In the eyes of the law, you’re still just the one person while pregnant.
2) Visa: Once again, there’s no necessity to apply for a specialist visa just because you’re heading abroad when pregnant.
3) Doctor’s note: As previously mentioned, if you’re travelling with an airline which requires medical clarification of your condition, you’ll need to keep a doctor’s note with you. This should be on your persons at all times throughout the trip.
4) Maternity log: A maternity log is another optional item of documentation, dependent on who you fly with. This can sometimes be useful when needing to quickly provide a member of airline staff (or a doctor overseas) with a full list of your progress to this point, in case of an emergency.
How to budget
Saving for your holiday is hard when you’re balancing the financial needs of an unborn child. So long as you embrace a saving strategy which takes all aspects of your life into account, you should be able to easily find the funds. To get you started, check out these top tips:
Calculate finances – Take a detailed look at the money which is coming in and going out of your account every month. Sometimes, budgeting for a holiday doesn’t need to be any more complicated than this. If you’re noticing more money in your account at the end of the month on a consistent basis, you can syphon some of this off and dedicate it towards your trip. Sadly, it won’t often be as simple as this. As such, other factors need to be taken into account.
Lower debts – Try and pay off your debts by as much as you can afford well in advance of your trip. Paying off just the minimum every time means you’ll have less money in the long run. This could have a detrimental impact on your future plans.
Monitor future and current expenses – While you’ll naturally be taking your current expenditure into account, you may not be focusing on the impact of future costs. Think ahead to what you’ll be spending per month after the baby arrives. Will a holiday in the immediate future change your financial situation when the child is born? You don’t want to find yourself suddenly lacking.
Set aside a holiday fund – Perhaps most logistically of all, it’d be wise to set aside dedicated funds to be used for a holiday. If you have long term plans to travel, start saving well in advance of when you’re due to set off. Naturally, a trip to somewhere closer to home, such as Spain, will cost less than a trip to the US.
Researching the trip
If you have a specific destination in mind, you’d be wise to find out as much as you can about the location. There are a series of questions you can ask yourself. Finding a solution to these will comprise most of your research. Just a handful of the many queries to consider include:
Where are the most pregnant-friendly locations?
Will I be able to get suitable emergency help if I need it?
Do I need to bring any specialist clothing?
Am I at risk of contracting any diseases?
Is it easy to get about a city or town easily when pregnant?
Ideally, you’ll do the research well in advance of choosing your eventual destination. Leaving it to chance that a location will be accommodating is incredibly risky. Pick a place which will tick every box.
Getting Travel Insurance When Pregnant
Most travel insurance policies will cover pregnancy as standard, and there is no need to declare your pregnancy to your insurer. The only time you would need to disclose this, is if you had any medical conditions related to the pregnancy, for example gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Each insurer will have different rules on how far into your pregnancy they will provide cover. Whatever you do, make sure to always check the T&Cs of any insurance policy.
However, a Holidaysafe policy includes:
Cover for medical emergencies and child birth from week 0-28. From week 29-40 they’ll still cover medical emergencies and complications, just not normal child birth.
Varied levels of cover which allow you to choose the optimum package
Cover which includes cancellation, medical emergencies, personal belongings, repatriation, cash and travel documents