Wherever you go, find out what healthcare facilities are at your destination in case you require urgent medical attention. It’s a good idea to take your medical records with you so you can give doctors the relevant information if necessary.
Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any eventuality, such as pregnancy-related medical care during labour, premature birth, care of the baby and the cost of changing the date of your return trip if you go into labour.
Can I travel during my pregnancy?
Some women prefer not to travel in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because of nausea and feeling very tired during these early stages.
Whether you’re travelling or not, the risk of miscarriage is higher in the first three months. While there’s no reason why you can’t travel at this time, if you have any worries discuss them with your midwife or doctor.
Travel within Australia by bus, car, train, or boat is usually not a problem as long as the woman is comfortable. When travelling long distances or overseas, it is wise to consult with your doctor, especially if your pregnancy is considered high-risk.
Flying is usually not harmful to you or your baby, but discuss any health issues or pregnancy complications with your midwife or doctor before you fly.
The likelihood of going into labour is naturally higher after 37 weeks (around 34 weeks if you’re carrying twins), and some airlines will not let you fly towards the end of your pregnancy. Check with the airline for their policy on this.
After week 28 of pregnancy, the airline may ask for a letter from your doctor or midwife confirming your due date, and that you aren’t at risk of complications.
Long-distance travel (longer than five hours) carries a small risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT). If you fly, drink plenty of water and move about regularly – every 30 minutes or so. You can buy a pair of support stockings in the pharmacy over the counter, which will reduce leg swelling.
Vaccines are not recommended because of concerns that the virus or bacteria in the jab could harm the baby in the womb.
However, it is safe for pregnant women to have influenza vaccine, which is strongly recommended for all pregnant women, as influenza in pregnancy can be a very serious illness.
You are generally advised to avoid travelling to countries where immunisation is required.
However, if you must travel to areas requiring vaccinations, you should discuss this with your doctor, as the risk of catching an infectious disease often outweighs the risk from vaccination.
Find out more about travelling to countries effected by the Zika virus.
If travelling to a country or reigion that has a risk of malaria the usual advice is to take some anti malarial protection via a medication. Some anti-malaria tablets aren’t safe to take in pregnancy. You should consult your doctor for advice.
Fatigue and dizziness are common during pregnancy so it’s important to drink regularly, eat natural, energy-giving foods (such as fruit and nuts) and stop regularly for a break. Keep the air circulating in the car and wear your seatbelt with the cross strap between your breasts and the lap strap across your pelvis under your bump, not across your bump.
Road accidents are among the most common causes of injury in pregnant women. Avoid making long trips on your own and share the driving with your companion.
Wearing a seatbelt
You need to wear a seatbelt when you are pregnant. Research shows that when you wear a seatbelt there is much less risk of injury to you and your unborn baby.
The law in Australia says that you have to use a seatbelt when you are pregnant – at every stage of your pregnancy.
You may worry that a seatbelt will hurt the baby or you may find it uncomfortable. However, a seatbelt that is worn properly does not put much pressure on your abdomen or your unborn baby.
There is a penalty for not wearing a seatbelt and you can be fined.
Food and drink
Take care to avoid food- and water-borne conditions, such as stomach upsets and diarrhoea. Some medicines for treating stomach upsets and diarrhoea aren’t suitable during pregnancy.
Always check if tap water is safe. If in doubt, drink bottled water. If you get ill, keep hydrated and continue eating for the health of your baby, even if you may not be hungry.