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Dossier: Pregnancy

Travelling during pregnancy

If you’re healthy, there’s nothing stopping you travelling when you’re pregnant, especially in the second trimester, when the energy levels of mums-to-be are at their highest. How far through pregnancy can you keep travelling, which holiday destinations are best, and what should you bear in mind?

The second trimester – when your baby bump isn’t too big and the worst of the sickness and exhaustion have usually passed – is the best time to go on holiday during pregnancy. But remember that travelling is tiring. Take a relaxed approach to your holiday, plan sufficient time and take a break whenever you need to. Stress and rushing from pillar to post are not good for your health nor that of your unborn baby.

Travelling by car, train or plane during pregnancy

  • Air travel: To be on the safe side, it’s best to discuss your travel plans with your doctor. From the 29th to 35th week of pregnancy, many airlines require you to have a medical certificate confirming that the pregnancy is progressing with no complications and stating the due date. Any later and many airlines refuse carriage because the risk of birth on board is too high.
  • Risk of thrombosis: There is generally a higher risk of thrombosis during pregnancy. Make sure you stand up and take a few steps at least once an hour. When seated, move your feet up and down. Try not to cross your legs or tuck them under you for too long. Support stockings can help reduce the risk of thrombosis.
  • Seats: It’s best to book an aisle seat so you can move your legs more easily and can get up to go to the toilet with a minimum of fuss.
  • Safety belt: Always secure the safety belt below or above your bump, not directly across it. You can get special pregnancy safety belts for use in the car, but they are not really necessary.
  • Fruit and snacks: Take light snacks with you, such as fruit or a muesli bar. You never know when you’ll next get the opportunity to buy something to eat.
  • Drinks: Make sure you drink enough while flying or travelling by boat to prevent dehydration in the dry cabin air. The rule of thumb is to drink half a litre per hour of travel.

To do list: insurance, clothes, luggage

  • Insurance: Clarify what cover you have abroad under your health and accident insurance. Check whether your insurance covers repatriation costs and whether you have adequate cover for treatment abroad. It’s a good idea to take out cancellation insurance.
  • Vaccinations: Whether you need a vaccination and if it’s a good idea to have it while pregnant depends on your destination. Talk to your doctor.
  • Luggage: Take a trolley bag so you don’t have to carry a heavy weight.
  • Security checks: Current findings indicate that the security systems at airports are not harmful for your unborn child. However, pregnant women can refuse this check and have a pat-down search instead.
  • Thrush: A hot and humid climate favours vaginal thrush, to which pregnant women are particularly susceptible. To prevent infection, wear cotton clothing and avoid wearing tight jeans and nylon stockings. Pack cream to treat thrush just in case.

Choosing a holiday destination when you’re pregnant

  • Tropics: When you’re pregnant you need to select your holiday destination carefully. Avoid areas in which you could come into contact with malaria, yellow fever, the Zika virus or other infectious tropical diseases. Get more information from a centre for tropical and travel medicine.
  • Diarrhoea: It’s also best for mums-to-be to avoid countries with poor standards of hygiene. The risk of catching a diarrhoeal disease is high, which can lead to complications during pregnancy.
  • Medical care: Choose destinations and itineraries where you have access to good medical care.
  • Water and climate: Destinations with a mild climate are ideal, because pregnant women are more sensitive to heat, and hot temperatures also put a strain on the cardiovascular system. Relaxed holidays at a lake or nearby sea are ideal, gentle swimming is good for many pregnant women.
  • Altitude: If you spend your holidays in the mountains, don’t go higher than 2,500 metres above sea level. Expectant mums are advised against strenuous mountain tours.