Important: This is intended as general information only. It may not apply to your specific situation. It is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have a question or concern, please raise it with me at your next appointment or contact me sooner if it's urgent.
Travel During Pregnancy
Many people want or need to travel during their pregnancy. To a large extent, this is fine. However, there are a few things you should consider when deciding when and where to go. If you’re planning a trip during your pregnancy, please let me know so that we can discuss it.
Facilities in your destination country
You should think about what facilities are available in the place you are planning to visit. Even for the lowest of risk pregnancy in the healthiest of women, there is always a small chance that something unexpected could happen. Some of the nicest and most interesting places to visit don’t have the same quality of health services that we enjoy in here Australia. This may be reflected in various health outcomes including the outcomes for babies born prematurely. For this reason, you may wish to avoid traveling to some destinations at some gestations.
You need to consider the potential costs involved in case something happens to you, your baby or both. Looking after a premature baby is a very expensive exercise and neither Medicare nor your Private Heath Cover will be of much use to you overseas. You can (and should) look into travel insurance, however most of policies I’ve seen won’t cover your baby in the even of a complication.
Health problems overseas
One of the downsides of travelling somewhere unfamiliar is that you are often exposed to a new range of viruses and bacteria – thus the gastro and colds people often get while traveling. During pregnancy, you tend to be a little more prone to picking up various infections. In addition, it generally takes longer to recover from any infections you do pick up. This is usually more of a problem for you than for the baby, but it can be pretty miserable experience. You will need to be a bit more careful about what you eat and, in some places, bottled water may be a safer option than local tap water.
When visiting come countries or regions, vaccinations or malaria prophylaxis may be recommended. While some vaccinations and some anti-malarial drugs can be given safely in pregnancy, not all can and these places are probably best avoided during pregnancy.
Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thromboses (DVTs) are blood clots that form in the deep veins of your legs or pelvis. While anyone can get a DVT, pregnant women are at increased risk due to changes in the circulation that occur during pregnancy. DVTs are most likely when you are immobile for long periods of time – such as long flights or car trips. You can reduce the risk by moving around the cabin frequently (or stopping and getting out if you’re in a car) and staying well hydrated.
You should always travel with a copy of your medical record and any medications you will need. It’s also a good idea to have a letter from me to show the airline if required.
Being pregnant does not mean that you can’t have a holiday, but it does mean that you may have to readjust your plans or accept that you may be at risk in the event of any complications. Please discuss any travel plans you may have with me so that we can discuss them in detail.