Whether it’s a business trip or a “babymoon,” be prepared to prioritise your safety and comfort if you travel while pregnant. Travelling while pregnant can be intimidating, but with the approval of your doctor or midwife, there’s no reason you can’t go. And don’t let worries about getting travel shots while pregnant put you off: our travel health advisers will recommend vaccines that are safe for use during pregnancy.

Planning a trip abroad while pregnant

Before making any reservations, consult with your doctor or midwife. If your flight is after 28 weeks, some airlines will ask for a medical letter confirming your due date and that you and your baby are not at risk from complications. For many women, the second trimester is an ideal time to travel because it falls between the morning sickness and heavy and exhausted stages. But bear in mind that some airlines won’t carry you after 37 weeks.

If you’re planning a vacation, choose your destination carefully. Long-haul flights can be uncomfortable even at the best of times, so stay closer to home. Avoid a lengthy transfer from the airport to your hotel.

Make an appointment with a specialist travel nurse six to eight weeks before your trip to discuss potential health risks and necessary vaccinations. You can get some travel shots while pregnant and your travel health adviser can help you to assess the risks of exposure to particular diseases.

Investigate the area you’ll be staying in and locate the nearest hospital or medical centre in case of an emergency. Don’t forget your travel insurance. The NHS also has some excellent advice for pregnant travellers.

Prepare for the flight

When you take a flight while pregnant, it’s a good idea to keep the following items in your carry-on luggage:

  • a supply of nutritious snacks
  • a bottle of water – pick one up in the departure lounge to avoid security issues
  • hand gel
  • maternity notes, especially if you’re in the third trimester and medical letter
  • any prescription meds and remedies for pregnancy niggles like heartburn

Stay calm and comfortable during your flight

When you’re pregnant, it’s easy to become extremely uncomfortable and stressed. If you are prone to dizziness, don’t be afraid to request a seat while waiting in airport lines.

You may be able to book or request a bulkhead seat for more legroom. For travelling when pregnant wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, and experiment with layering to prepare for sudden temperature changes. Both pregnancy and travel can be exhausting, so try to get some rest; bring a pillow if possible.

You may be able to keep your ankles from swelling by taking your shoes off and slightly elevating your feet.

Wear your seat belt loosely and drink plenty of water and herbal teas as you dehydrate quickly during flight.

Be aware of deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy

If your doctor says you have a low-risk pregnancy, flying poses no risks in and of itself. However, pregnancy can increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis, particularly if your flight is longer than four hours. Consider whether you want to break your journey into two shorter flights.

During your flight, take regular aisle walks, wiggle your feet, and wear a good pair of flight socks.

Is it safe to eat in restaurants while pregnant?

When you arrive, take precautions to avoid water- and food-borne diseases because your immune system is compromised during pregnancy. If you are unsure whether the local water is safe to drink, choose filtered or bottled water. Learn more from our articles on food safety and safer drinking water.

Your travel health adviser can tell you about other health considerations at your appointment. They can also tell you which travel shots you need when pregnant. So make an appointment with NX Healthcare six to eight weeks before your departure.

More Travel Advice & News