Pregnant Travel

International travel is safe for the majority of pregnant women, though risks common to all pregnancies are significant and require careful pre-departure preparation.

Vulnerabilities

  • Some medications are not approved for pregnant women (check with MotherRisk)
  • Most travel-related vaccines are safe in pregnancy but risk must be carefully assessed in the context of benefits derived
  • The immune response is moderated in pregnant women, increasing  vulnerability to infectious diseases, particularly malaria, listerosis, and hepatitis E.
  • Non-infectious diseases are the greatest source of risk in travel, including prematurity, gastrointestinal disorders, and Deep Vein Thrombosis

General Advice

  • Pregnancies should be confirmed by a clinician
  • All pregnant women should have a minimum of one ultrasound prior to departure
  • Most airlines limit international travel for woman greater than 32-35 weeks gestation.
  • Travel is contraindicated in the event of
    • Severe anaemia
    • Sickle cell disease
    • Placenta previa or other placental disorders
    • Increased risk or threatened premature labour (incompetent cervix, multiple gestation, or prior history of premature labour)
    • Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or toxemia
    • Pregnancy increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis {hyperlink to article about Deep Vein Thrombosis???}
    • Aisle seating on airplanes is preferred
    • Health insurance policies may not cover health events related to the pregnancy
    • Establish availability of healthcare services at destination
    • Carry a complete summary of appropriate medical records including laboratory tests, results, and a copy of the ultrasound report
    • Avoid dehydration, especially in hot climates
    • Food and beverage precautions are particularly important because of increased vulnerability to pathogens.
    • Motor vehicle safety is a priority

For more information:

Government of Canada (Page 15): www.voyage.gc.ca/publications/pdf/bon_depart-on_your_way-eng.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-8-advising-travelers-with-specific-needs/pregnant-travelers

The Pregnant Traveler: www.pregnanttraveler.com/articles/01.html

World Health Organization (Page 5): www.who.int/ith/ITH2010.pdf

About Us

Since 1936, International Medical Services (IMS) has strategically promoted safety and travel illness prevention. We have extensive experience sending short and long term expatriates to every continent and major travel destination (including Antarctica).

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