Traveling While Pregnant: Your Travel Health

Pregnancy doesn't need to slow you down while traveling.
Pregnancy doesn’t need to slow you down while traveling.

Many women may worry about harm to the baby from the cabin pressure in the airplane. Since the air pressure is less than at lower altitudes, it will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, due to the body’s demand for more oxygen. For healthy women, this should not be a problem for you or your baby.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women with complications such as high blood pressure, diabetes, toxemia or multiple gestations (twins) may be advised not to fly. Always check with your doctor. (Flying in an unpressurized small plane is not advised.)

As pregnant women are at an increased risk for blood clots in their legs, make sure to get up and walk and move your legs during the flight. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

If you’d rather not fly, consider taking a road trip instead. You’ll still want to plan frequent breaks to stretch your legs. Look for relaxing destinations that will allow you to get some enjoyable exercise, such as walking along the beach.

If you’re traveling outside of the country, you’ll want to take some extra precautions. In late pregnancy some countries may not allow you to enter without written evidence from your doctor confirming your due date.

Health insurance is definitely something you need to think about. Check with your insurance regarding travel and pregnancy. Most will have restrictions as to your gestation and destination. For instance, some plans will not cover all expenses if you have an emergency or deliver out of their coverage area, and many plans will not cover you overseas.

You may want to think about buying additional health insurance before you travel. Several companies providing medical travel insurance during pregnancy cover “complications of pregnancy” (such as the “TravelGap Vacationer” policy from HTH Travel Insurance), but they have restrictions.

You must declare your pregnancy to them when you buy the insurance, as the price may be increased to cover you, and not informing them about your condition may exclude you from this coverage.

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