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What you need to know about travelling when pregnant

What you need to know about travelling when pregnant

If your pregnancy is uncomplicated and you are feeling well, there is no reason you can’t travel well into your pregnancy. Wherever the destination, it’s important that you plan your trip so you stay safe and well during your travels. If you do decide to take a trip during pregnancy, there are important considerations to make, including your mode of travel, availability of healthcare services and need for travel vaccinations. It’s also really important to get the right level of travel insurance if travelling when pregnant, to cover any pregnancy related complications, early labour or travel changes that might needed. Pack any medication in your hand luggage and make sure you take your maternity notes with you.

See our guide below to help you plan your trip if travelling when pregnant:

Can I travel in the first trimester?

There is no reason you can’t travel in the first trimester, including flying. However, some women may suffer with morning sickness and fatigue and not really feel like travelling for the first few months. Others may wish to wait until their 12-week scan for reassurance. 

Can I fly in pregnancy?

You can safely fly in pregnancy but it is worth discussing any trips with your midwife or doctor in case there are any specific considerations for you and your pregnancy. 

Different airlines will have different policies on when you are allowed to fly in your pregnancy. Most won’t allow women over 36 weeks to fly (singleton pregnancy) or 28 weeks if you are having twins, as this risk of going into labour is higher. The airline may ask for a fitness to fly letter from your healthcare team from 28 weeks (you may have to pay for this).

It’s important to get up and mobilise and ensure you are hydrated on your flights. For long-haul flights, there is a slightly higher risk of developing a clot called a Deep Vein Thrombosis and so mobilising is even more important. You may also wish to buy compression stockings to help reduce leg swelling. 

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Cars and boats 

Long car journey advice is similar to long haul flights. Make sure you plan regular stops so you can get up, move your legs and stretch as this will help to reduce leg swelling and the risk of clots. Wear compression stockings if you are going on journeys greater than 4 hours long. Regular stops are important for loo breaks as you are likely to have some increased urinary frequency in pregnancy. Take snacks and stay hydrated. Be mindful of potential issues such as travel sickness. Do not wear the seat belt across your bump – place it  beneath your bump, with the strap between your breasts. 

For Ferry trips, you will need to check the ferry companies’ pregnancy policy as many have restrictions on how late you can travel into your pregnancy. If you are dong a longer trip such as a Cruise ship, make sure you check what doctor facilities are onboard or at the ports you are docking at. 

Travel vaccinations and preventing infection

Make sure you check what travel vaccinations are needed for your area of travel or ask your practice nurse or doctor for advice if unsure. Make sure you leave plenty of time for any recommended courses of vaccine. Live vaccines (containing live bacteria or viruses) cannot be given during pregnancy but most inactivated ones can. 

Malaria and Zika

If you are travelling to an area with prevalent malaria, make sure you speak to your doctor or practice nurse for advice on whether anti-malarial medication is recommended. Not all medication is safe in pregnancy so it’s important to get the correct advice. Other measures should be taken to prevent bites such as mosquito nets and repellent. 


Despite it no longer making the headlines, Zika virus is still prevalent in certain countries. The virus can cause pregnancy complications and so it is advised to avoid areas where Zika is present. 

Food and drink during pregnancy

If travelling when pregnant, take steps to limit your chances of getting a food or water-borne infection that could lead to you becoming unwell or getting traveller’s diarrhoea. Check if it is safe to drink tap water and drink bottled water if in doubt. Ensure all food is washed thoroughly and it might be best to avoid street food stalls. 

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. For The Creators has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

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