Pregnant and travelling
Travelling during pregnancy is usually possible, but extra preparations and precautions are required. Choose your destination carefully, inform about the health risks in that area and only travel to areas with reliable medical facilities nearby. Discuss your travel plans well in advance of departure (at least six to eight weeks) with your doctor or a doctor in a specialised travel clinic.
When to travel
The best period to travel is between 16 and 28 weeks.
There is still a risk of miscarriage during the first trimester and morning sickness in combination with motion sickness could result in dehydration, particularly in tropical temperatures.
The risk of other complications increases during the last trimester and travelling becomes more uncomfortable.
Normally you can fly for up to 36 weeks. From 28 weeks onwards, a medical certificate with the probable date of delivery is usually required. The guidelines vary from airline to airline. Please check the guidelines of the airline you will be flying with.
You are more susceptible to infections during pregnancy and severe infections can induce a miscarriage.
Therefore, you should follow the general measures to prevent infections, but avoid prolonged (more than 3 weeks) use of iodine drops to disinfect water (chlorine preparations and ORS are no problem).
Strictly follow the mosquito-repellent measures.
- Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria: during pregnancy and there is also an increased risk of having a more complicated course.
- Strictly follow the mosquito-repellent measures.
- In regions with a moderate malaria risk (orange), the use of malaria tablets is indicated. Most malaria tablets may be used during pregnancy.
- Avoid travel to regions with a high risk of malaria (red or dark red).
- Zika is a viral infection that can cause abnormalities in the unborn child.
- Learn how to protect yourself against infection with the zikavirus.
Most vaccines may be administered during pregnancy and during breastfeeding.
Some vaccines are specifically recommended during pregnancy: whooping cough and flu vaccine.
Live attenuated vaccines usually may not be administered during pregnancy. The only exception is the vaccine against yellow fever. This vaccine may be administered during the pregnancy if there is a real risk.
Make sure that the birth always takes place in a country where reliable medical facilities are available.
Check if transfusion blood tested, to avoid infections (such as HIV) in case a blood transfusion is needed.
Travel assistance insurance
Ensure that you have good cover for travel assistance insurance.
Check that any problems resulting from your pregnancy are not excluded by the insurance.
Extreme temperatures are not tolerated well during pregnancy.
In hot climates, sleep in a room with air-conditioning and avoid intense exertion.
Ensure that you have extra acclimatisation nights to prevent altitude sickness.
Avoid intense exertion at altitude.
Avoid sleeping above 3000 metres.
Deep vein thrombosis
Pregnancy has a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis following long trips by bus or aeroplane.
Vaginal fungal infections and/or urinary tract infections
Discuss with your doctor whether it is necessary to take treatment for vaginal fungal infections and/or urinary tract infections with you.
Desire for pregnancy
The same measures apply if you want to become pregnant shortly before, during or after travelling.
Pregnancy should preferably be postponed to one month after returning from a (sub)tropical country or three months after returning from a country with a Zika outbreak.