Compare Travel InsuranceTravel Insurance TipsTravelling when Pregnant | The Ultimate Guide

Travelling when Pregnant | The Ultimate Guide

pregnant travel

Worried about travel during pregnancy?  This guide will provide you with tips on how to travel safely through the various stages.

Pregnancy travel guide - contents

1. Time to relax
2. Packing for pregnancy
3. Travel during first trimester
4. Travel during your second trimester
5. Travel during your third trimester
6. Pregnant women and vaccinations
7. Where to go on a babymoon
8. Pregnancy and travel insurance

Time to relax

Having a baby is one of life's miracles and for many women pregnancy will be the most exciting, life changing event they'll ever encounter!

With countless physical changes, hormones running wild, and of course a little human growing inside you, it's no wonder mums-to-be find themselves a little overwhelmed.

With such a wonderful and wild ride ahead, there’s no better time to de-stress and take time to rest.

Welcome the Babymoon!  Really just a fancy word for a get away before two-becomes-three. This is often a last chance opportunity for parents-to-be to pack a small bag and head off somewhere without needing to worry about anything but themselves.  Now, what to pack!?
 

Holiday packing when pregnant

Packing can be tough at the best of times, but with a case of ‘baby-brain’, it can prove downright impossible! When your mind in is a flurry it’s best to refer to a packing list, crossing off each item as you go. Ensure your suitcase is easy to wheel and try not to over pack- a strained back is the last thing you need! A clear manila folder for your medical documentation is also a top notch idea- just make sure it’s easily accessible. Don't forget the sunscreen, pregnancy meds, first aid kit, travel pillow, eye mask, ear plugs, sun hat and heaps of loose comfy clothes.

pregnancy travel kit

 

Travelling during your first trimester

OMG you’re having a baby! Are you suffering from morning sickness and headaches and finding it hard to concentrate at work? A week(end) away in your first trimester could be just what the doctor ordered.

Speaking of doctors....Most say it's perfectly safe to travel in your first trimester, but a little bit of pregnancy pre-planning can go a long way. There’s only nine months until your world is going to be turned upside down, so it’s time to get the holidays in.  Here’s some top tips to get you ready before you go…
 

Before you go

Visit your doctor before you book your trip as they might have some no-go destinations in mind. You’ll surely have a truckload of questions to ask so to sort you out we’ve provided you with a list of FAQ’s like:

-       What destinations should be avoided and why?
-       What activities should be avoided and why?
-       What food and drink should be avoided and why?
-       What pregnancy vitamins should you be taking?
-       What medicines are safe to take for heartburn, thrush, constipation, food poisoning etc?
-       What vaccinations do you need and which ones are not recommended?
-       What are the most common pregnancy complications and what do I need to look out for?
-       What to do if you suspect you are miscarrying?
-       Any tips for long flights?
-       Suggested morning sickness remedies? 

How to tackle morning sickness when travelling

Feeling nauseous can make you feel glum, but there are remedies for that turning tum!
 
It’s tricky to stop morning sickness all together due to low blood levels, but a few tips can certainly stop it from ruining your trip! These handy helpers may prevent morning sickness from making you miserable.

  • Stay clear of noxious odors - Certain smells will turn your tummy, so try to avoid any wiffy encounters if you can.
  • Bring anti-nausea aids - Carry ginger lollies and peppermint tea with you on your travels – these combat nausea by soothing and settling the stomach. If you’re feeling the burn of acid reflux – reach for some Rennie. A handful of almonds have also been known to combat the fire of acid reflux.
  • Medical treatments: If herbal remedies aren’t cutting it, it may be time to try over the counter medications like Emetrol (a non-prescription medication that’s safe for nausea). Anti-histamines can also be used to treat nausea as well as vitamin B6. Then there are the prescriptions meds like Zofran, Compazine and Phenergan. Always discuss any medications and potential side effects with your doctor.
  • Keep hydrated  - It’s more essential than ever to stay hydrated, as your body needs more water to cope with the demands of pregnancy. This is especially crucial in warmer climates.
  • Avoid rich foods - Eat little and often, and stick to carb heavy meals. Spicy, rich or creamy food can irritate the stomach lining.
  • Keep active – You might be feeling sluggish but being physically active has been found to improve the symptoms of morning sickness. Avoid intense aerobic sessions and opt for slow, leisurely walks or gentle yoga.
  • Comfort is everything – Go for loose, natural fibred clothing with plenty of extra room. Give the strappy sandals a miss and choose supportive, non-restrictive shoes. Your feet will thank you.

Pregnant women and vaccinations

It's important that pregnant women receive the necessary vaccinations before travelling. However, some vaccines are not safe to use in pregnancy. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor or midwife before you go to see what’s recommended and whether it’s suitable. Mums to be should consider the risk/reward benefits before booking an exotic trip.

pregnant travel

Disclaimer: This information is provided as a general only. Comparetravelinsurance.co.nz takes all responsible care when preparing this information, but it does not warrant its accuracy over time. You should consult your doctor or midwife before deciding which vaccinations are right for you and your baby.

Where to go with bump?

Babymoons are all the rage and are growing in popularity each year. But the million dollar question is…where to go? 

If your holidays until now have been thrills and spills, its time to take a chill pill. Adrenaline fast paced holidays are hardly ideal for expectant mothers who should focus instead on putting ‘zen’ at the top of their agenda.
 
Destinations and activities with an emphasis on relaxation should be on your itinerary. Strenuous hikes and adventure sports should be ditched in favour of gentle exercises like yoga, walking and swimming.

For all the logical reasons, you would be advised to avoid dangerous destinations, or those which carry a high risk of illness and disease. As we mentioned earlier, many immunisations are also not suitable for pregnant women so check with your doctor before making any rash destination decisions.

Whether you’re a city slicker, nature lover or beach babe, there’s a holiday go to for you!

popular pregnancy travel destinations

Travel during your second trimester

Woohoo say goodbye to the sick bag! For many women the second trimester (weeks 13-27) can be life affirming and a great time to take-off on a babymoon. During this period morning sickness has usually subsided and your energy levels are usually higher (due to increased hormone levels). Additionally, at this stage your ‘bump’ may be more visible, making it easier to get a seat on a train or access other amenities.
 

Second trimester travel tips

Lookout week 13! You may be feeling sky high during the second trimester but you should still take care not to overdo things. At this stage you will want to consider destinations that cater to your needs. When planning your trip consider the following:

Where you go: Where you travel can have a big impact on your safety. Developing countries, for example are not ideal during pregnancy due to their additional health risks. The vaccinations you may require for these regions may not be safe for pregnant women. Additionally you are more likely to be at risk of contracting diseases like food poisoning and traveller’s diarrhoea in developing countries. Consider destinations that aren’t too far from home and have the same level of advanced medical care as back home.

Weather wise: If you’re not a fan of warm climates note that you’ll probably suffer the heat more during pregnancy (as your body temperature rises). If a bit of sun and sand is exactly what you’re after consider destination like the Greek Islands or Hawaii. If you plan to travel to humid, bustling cities like Singapore or Hong Kong consider a hotel with a swimming pool so you can cool off easily.

Comfort first: Yep- you have doctor’s order to indulge! Now is the time to utilize any facilities that will ensure you stay safe and comfortable. If your travel budget can handle it, get a flight upgrade or opt for a taxi over a crowded bus ride. It’s easy to exhaust yourself during this time and little luxuries can make all the difference!

Take it easy: Got a hectic ‘to-do’ list for your trip? Cut it in half as you’ll most likely need more rest breaks than you anticipate. You may take twice as long making it through a museum and require plenty of down time in between activities.  Be kind to yourself and don’t try to do it all.

Fly at the pointy end: As you are now the proud bearer of a baby bump many airlines will require you to carry a doctor’s note at week 28 confirming the details of your pregnancy and any complications. Check your airline or cruise liner’s policy on pregnancy before you leave and don’t forget that it applies to your return trip too. The front section of the plane is roomier and less turbulent than down the back. You will also be able to get on and off the aircraft quicker and enjoy better air circulation. Although many pregnant women prefer an aisle seat for easier access, some prefer a window seat to alleviate nausea.  

Cruise alert: Ahh to sail the seven seas…while pregnant! Cruises can be a great way to kick up your feet during pregnancy. However, it’s worth knowing that many popular cruises will only accept guests who are 24 weeks or less at time of the cruise disembarkation (at the end of the cruise). Be sure to check in with your cruise company before you book as often refunds are not granted in these cases. 

Travel during your third trimester

You’re getting closer to the pointy end of pregnancy and you’re ping-ponging between lethargy to extreme euphoria. Now is definitely time for some R&R- so what are your holiday options?
 
The third trimester (weeks 28-40) can be a challenging time to travel although plenty of women will still do so. Indeed, most airlines won’t let passengers on board after 36 weeks and cruise companies can be even more restrictive. Of course, with the right information you can still travel safely in the third trimester- a period where many women are craving a little ‘me time’ before the big event.
 

Flight facts in your third trimester

Every airline will differ in their pregnancy policies during the third trimester. The following is typical for most airlines:

flight facts

 

Cruise control in your third trimester

Cruise lines can be quite restrictive when it comes to pregnancy travel. It’s worth noting that most cruise lines don’t allow pregnant women to sail starting around their third trimester. The following policies will usually apply for cruises:

24 week cut-offs: Most cruises will only accept guests who are 24 weeks or less at time of the cruise disembarkation. Such cruise lines include Disney, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival and P&O Cruises.

27 week cut-offs: A few cruises will allow guests to sail up to 27 weeks (at time of the disembarkation). These include Fred Olsen Cruise Lines  Star Clippers and Swan Hellenic.

No cut-off date: A few specialty cruise liners have no formal written and will allow you to cruise throughout your third trimester. These include AMA Waterways, Cruise West, Peter Deilmann and Viking River Cruises. You will most likely need a doctor’s certificate to do so and be highly aware of the risks associated with travelling during this time.

Medical certification: All pregnant women on board a cruise ship are usually required to produce a doctor’s or midwife’s letter stating that mother and baby are in good health, fit to travel and that you are not high risk. The letter must also include the estimated date of delivery (EDD) calculated from both the last menstrual period (LMP) and ultrasound (if performed). This documentation must be returned to the cruise company at least 60 days prior to the cruise departure (this will vary so check with your cruise company).

Drive easy in your third trimester

With flights often ruled out for women in their third trimester, road trips are often the holiday of choice. The following are some tips to stay safe and ease the comfort of driving during the third trimester.

Belt up: Wearing your seatbelt is absolutely essential (at all times) during pregnancy. In the event of an accident it can save both you and your belly from hitting the dashboard. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the best way to wear your seatbelt is with the shoulder belt placed over the collarbone and across your chest and the lap belt as low as possible on the hips and under the abdomen.

Safety cushion: Many women fear the impact of an airbag on their pregnant bellies but they needn’t worry. In the event of a collision you’ll be much safer with an air bag than without one. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) suggests leaving at least 10 inches between your breastbone and the steering wheel. Any closer and you can risk injuring your ribs and belly in a collision.

Break it up: Just like you would on any long journey, take frequent breaks. It hardly needs to be said, but you’ll definitely require frequent restrooms stops. Use those opportunities to move around and stretch any tired, aching muscles. Little walks every so often will also help to boost your circulation and prevent blood clots.

Rest and ride: Driving for long stretches at a time shouldn’t be a painful ordeal. Bring a pillow to act as a head rest or back support when you need it. As well, comfortable shoes, support stockings and light, natural fabrics like cotton or wool may not be stylish, but they’ll help to keep you calm and in control. The last thing you need is a tight waistband or constricting shoes during a long car trip.

Managing third trimester symptoms

You’re in the home stretch of pregnancy and the end is so close- yet symptoms like fatigue and heartburn can make it seem very far. Here’s how to manage those third trimester aches and pains.

third trimester symptoms 

 

Pregnancy and travel insurance

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and head off a well-deserved break. But what about holiday cover for you and your growing bump?

Travelling while pregnant can be nerve racking. Having the right policy for your holiday is always important, especially so when you’re expecting. And whilst travelling with a bun-in-the-oven is no longer a barrier to travel, it can be tricky to find travel insurance when pregnant….but lucky for you we’ve got the answers.

What’s covered?

Overseas medical expenses: Expecting a child makes you more vulnerable than the average traveller to potential risk. If you require medical care overseas your policy will be there to protect you, but not always to your newborn baby if it were to be born prematurely.

Trip cancellation: On the off-chance you do need to cancel your trip and hurry home for a close relative family emergency, travel insurance will have you covered.

Luggage & personal effects: Your luggage and personal effects will be replaced should they become lost, stolen or damaged during travel.

Accommodation and travel expenses: If, due to an insured reason your flight home is delayed or cancelled, you’ll be covered for any additional accommodation and travel expenses.

And much more..

What’s not?

It’s important to remember that exclusions apply to most policies whether you’re pregnant or not. In regards to pregnancy most insurers have cover limits and/or conditions of cover relating to gestation, pregnancy related complications and multiple babies… so it pays to do your research!

Some insurers consider pregnancy to be a pre-existing medical condition and a medical assessment may be required before you are covered. Others cover uncomplicated pregnancies up to a certain gestation without any fuss; and there are many insurers that simply will not cover pregnancy related complications at all.

Gestation: Each insurer will state the maximum number of weeks you are allowed to travel in their Product Disclosure Statement. These tend to be anywhere between 20-32 weeks, but 26 weeks is generally the standard. If you do travel over this time permitted you will be doing so without travel insurance protection. A handful of insurers allow you to pay an additional premium to increase the gestation time limits, but this rarely goes beyond 30 weeks.

Pregnancy related complications: Pregnancy complications are defined as “Any secondary diagnosis occurring prior to, during the course of, concurrent with, or as a result of the pregnancy, which may adversely affect the pregnancy outcome.” Woah that was a mouthful! In a nutshell, some insurers simple do not cover pregnancy related complication at all, whereas others may require a medical assessment before cover can be grated.  Pregnancy complications could be anything from toxaemia (toxins in the blood) to pre-eclampsia (where you develop high blood pressure, carry abnormal fluid and have protein in your urine during the second half of pregnancy). All will be detailed in the small print, so it’s best to give that a wiz before signing on the dotted line.

Multiple babies: Cover limits can be restricted when mums-to-be are expecting twins or multiple babies.

For care of a newborn child and/or regular antenatal care: If you give birth prematurely whilst on holiday most insurers do not cover medical fees for your newborn baby.

If you travelled against doctor's advice: If you were not you were not fit to travel, and you did it anyway, you’d be on your own in terms of cover.

Who covers what?

If you’ve hit the wall trying to find the right pregnancy cover, rest assured, there’s help at hand.  Our travel insurance pregnancy guide is here to help.

About your pregnancy Single pregnancy max gestation cover Single pregnancy without complications Single pregnancy conceived through assisted reproduction services Multiple pregnancy without complications Multiple pregnancy conceived through assisted reproduction services Pregnancy complications experienced prior to policy being issued
1Cover 24 weeks
Covermore 26 weeks
Columbus Direct 30 weeks
 
     
Downunder 26 weeks
NZ Travel Insurance 26 weeks
State 24 weeks
STA Travel -          
Southern Cross  20 weeks
The Warehouse  24 weeks
Travel Insurance Cover (QBE) 20 weeks
Travel Insurance Direct 26 weeks
Tower 20 weeks
Webjet 23 weeks  
Worldcare 26 weeks
 
Looking after your health, and your babies’ health will be your number one priority when going on holiday. Don’t risk your pre-pregnancy travel plans going belly-up without getting perfect cover first.

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