Is it safe to travel during pregnancy?

02.13.24 by Travelex Insurance
Image credit: Getty Images
Are you or a loved one expecting a baby? Pregnancy travel can be safe, but there are some important steps to take before you start your trip. Discover our tips for safer, smoother, and more enjoyable travel during pregnancy.

Want to enjoy a relaxing babymoon before your little one arrives or visit friends and family during your pregnancy? Traveling while you’re pregnant can be memorable and full of wonderful new experiences — but it’s important to put you and your baby’s health and safety first.

To help you make the most of your travels, we've put together 10 essential tips for safer and smarter travel during pregnancy.

So, whether you're planning a beach trip in Florida, romantic retreat in Paris, or cozy cabin vacation in the Canadian snow, let’s explore how you can have smoother pregnancy travel adventures.

“Travel during pregnancy can be a unique experience, and we suggest focusing on comfort, hydration, and frequent breaks. You should also consider getting a pre-travel medical check from your health provider."

Dr. Joel Lockwood MD, FRCPC, Chief Medical Officer, Americas at World Travel Protection, our 24/7 assistance provider.

10 tips for safer and healthier pregnancy travel

Tip #1: Talk with your healthcare provider before you book

The first and most important step when planning pregnancy travel is to speak with your doctor to check if it’s safe for you to travel. Your doctor can give you important pregnancy travel advice that considers your individual health and pregnancy, as well as any necessary precautions you should take before, during, and after your trip.

Tip #2: Travel during the second trimester

Wondering which month is safe to travel during pregnancy or when to stop traveling in pregnancy? Many healthcare providers recommend traveling only during the second trimester (weeks 14-28), because it is often the most comfortable period for pregnant women and the risk of complications is lower.

Tip #3: Choose the right destination

When you’re thinking about where to travel during your pregnancy, consider the distance, climate, healthcare facilities, transportation options, food and drink safety, and accessibility.

Adding potential destinations to your list that have reliable healthcare facilities and access to doctors who are experienced with treating pregnant patients is important, should you need help if something unexpected happens. Also, try to avoid areas with a limited healthcare system or where there may be potential health risks.

Once you choose your destination and book your accommodation, it’s a good idea to research where the nearest hospitals or healthcare facilities are — and note their contact details. This information may be crucial in case of an emergency.

At Travelex, our travelers get access to our Travel On app, which has a tap-to-call emergency assistance feature. This means help is only a call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tip #4: Stay hydrated and take regular breaks

Traveling can be tiring, even when you're not pregnant. When you travel during pregnancy, it’s smart to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs, use the bathroom, or just rest and relax. This can help prevent cramping and swelling, plus reduce fatigue and stress.

If you’ll be sitting for a long period of time during your vacation — such as on a flight, bus, or even a beach chair — try to take short walks to improve circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots.

Tip #5: Pack all the essentials

When you travel during pregnancy, it’s good to bring your prenatal medical records, any necessary medications or supplements (like your prenatal vitamin), comfortable clothing and shoes, and snacks along for the ride. You may also want to pack a small first aid kit and items that will comfort you during the journey, such as a small pillow or heating pad.

Tip #6: Use comfortable and safe modes of transportation

When you’re a pregnant traveler, choosing transportation methods that prioritize your safety and comfort — like planes, trains, and cars — is a smart idea.

Remember, when you travel during pregnancy, you may feel slightly more uncomfortable if you’re riding on bumpy roads or flying with turbulence, so keep this in mind when choosing your destination. And don’t forget to always wear your seatbelt properly to help keep you and your baby safe!

Some types of transportation – such as boats or ATVs – may be uncomfortable or less safe for pregnant women, so it’s best to avoid them if possible.

Tip #7: Check pregnancy travel restrictions and vaccination requirements

No matter if this is your first time traveling while you’re expecting or your third, it pays to research pregnancy travel restrictions before book a trip.

If you are planning international travel during your pregnancy, check for travel advisories on the U.S. Department of State’s website so you understand the risks (if any) at your destination. Research vaccination requirements, too, and discuss which vaccines may be safe during pregnancy with your healthcare provider well in advance of your trip.

If you have our Travelex travel insurance with pregnancy coverage, you can also stay updated on health and safety risks and travel alerts through our Travel On app. We may also post travel alerts that could affect your travel insurance pregnancy coverage on our Travel Alerts page.

Tip #8: Check your airline’s pregnancy travel restrictions before booking

If you’re planning on taking a flight, your airline might have air travel regulations for pregnant passengers. Check if your airline has pregnancy travel restrictions before booking and bring a letter from your healthcare provider stating that you’re fit to travel by air. You may not get asked to provide it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it with you!

For more information on pregnancy travel restrictions for flights and other helpful tips, read our article with tips for flying while pregnant.

Tip #9: Avoid certain activities and exposures

Some activities and elements can be harmful to pregnant women and their babies.

When it comes to getting active on vacation, try to avoid anything that involves jarring or sudden movements, like scuba diving, skydiving, or bungee jumping.

Also, do your best to avoid exposure to radiation, chemicals, or infectious diseases. This might mean avoiding certain destinations with known exposures, or keeping an eye out for warning signs as you explore.

Tip #10: Get travel insurance with pregnancy coverage

Travel insurance can help reimburse certain costs that come up if you unexpectedly need to cancel your trip, lose your luggage, and more. But it’s important to understand travel insurance pregnancy coverage restrictions before you choose a plan. For example, some travel insurance providers won’t provide coverage for pregnant travelers after they reach a certain point in their pregnancy, so it’s important to understand what you are — and aren’t — covered for.

At Travelex, you can cancel your trip with our Travel Select plan if you, your traveling companion, or your partner discover you're unexpectedly pregnant. To be eligible to cancel your trip for this reason, we will need verification from your doctor that the pregnancy was first confirmed after your travel insurance policy’s effective date. The pregnancy also needs to coincide with your trip and be free from complications.

Wondering what we consider to be pregnancy complications? They are separate from but worsened or caused by pregnancy, like nephrosis. We don't count issues like physician-ordered bed rest, hyperemesis gravidarum, morning sickness, preeclampsia, and other similar conditions that come up with a more difficult pregnancy.

If you need to cancel your travels because your family member is expected to give birth during your scheduled trip, our Travel Select plan can help. But remember, a physician must first confirm the pregnancy after your travel insurance policy’s effective date.

A couple enjoying travel during pregnancy and holding hands with their two children on the beach.

Listen to your body and enjoy pregnancy travel

Traveling during pregnancy can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it's important to take necessary precautions and listen to your body. If you feel tired or uncomfortable, take a break. If you feel good, go ahead and enjoy yourself. By following these 10 pregnancy travel tips, you can have a safer and more comfortable journey, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Ready to protect your travels during pregnancy?

Get one of our travel insurance plans so you can travel with our team on your side. Get a quote now.

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