This goes post was contributed by Milly Godwin, a midwife turned travel blogger. You can follow her baby travel adventures on instagram @wildtravelchild.
Don’t believe what your grandma says, you can travel during pregnancy!
I’ve never understood why pregnant women are told to stay inside wrapped up in cotton wool. So, when I fell pregnant I was determined to ignore the naysayers and take my unborn baby on my travel adventures. I started to believe them however, when the horrendous morning (all day?) sickness kicked in early on and I could barely walk to the corner shop, let alone contemplate jetting off to the other side of the world. Three months later the sickness had thankfully passed and I regained my enthusiasm to travel. However, frustratingly Covid had hit, so our plans to explore Taiwan were put on hold and we decided to plan an adventure closer to home.
At 35 weeks pregnant my partner and I drove our micro-camper to the northern tip of Scotland. Each day we would search for wild swimming spots; the cold water soothed my pregnant body and I hoped that it would help our stubborn breech baby to move. Each time I immersed my bump I could feel the weird sensations of kicks and somersaults from inside me but sadly the old wives’s tale didn’t hold true and she never turned the right way around.
Scotland’s remote corners were wild and beautiful and calmed me during those anxious final weeks of pregnancy. Of course, squeezing out of our tiny van to do endless night time wees in the dark grew tiresome and I started to look forward to a real bed. But as I drifted off to sleep that first night back at home, I was not struck by the comfort of my bed but rather how magical our adventure had been.
So much of the communal wisdom seems wrong, pregnant women can absolutely still have travel adventures!
FAQ About Traveling When Pregnant
Got any questions or concerns about traveling while pregnant? Well, let us answer these frequently asked questions and see it we can put your mind at ease.
Can you fly when you are pregnant?
As long as your pregnancy is uncomplicated and you’re feeling well you can get on a plane while pregnant. It’s a good idea to take your pregnancy records with you. Beyond 28 weeks most airlines will ask you to bring a letter (Fit to Fly form) signed by your doctor or midwife. Just a heads up, you are at a small increased risk of blood clots during pregnancy so make sure you stay mobile and drink plenty of water on the plane. You can also wear pressure stockings during long flights – they aren’t that fashionable, but they will keep your legs from swelling!
Can you exercise during pregnancy?
Yes, you absolutely can! You’ll want to avoid risky and contact sports – I’m sorry if you are a passionate kickboxer or bungee jumper. You should also avoid scuba diving because the pressure changes can harm a fetus. Stick to exercising at lower altitudes (below 2500m) as you and your baby will be more susceptible to altitude sickness.
That said, the stuff that most people enjoy abroad such as walking or swimming you can continue! Keeping active during pregnancy is fantastic for your mental health. Just don’t push yourself too hard and don’t feel pressured to keep up your normal fitness routines (pregnancy makes a great excuse for your partner to carry all your hiking stuff). And like with everything pregnancy related, drink plenty of water!
Which travel vaccines should you have when you’re pregnant?
I would recommend booking a session with a travel nurse expert or having a consultation with your doctor before booking a trip. You will usually not be offered any travel vaccines that use live bacteria as it is possible that they are harmful to an unborn baby.
However, travel vaccines that use live bacteria will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as sometimes it will be more beneficial to have the vaccine. Be mindful that there is no vaccine for Zika virus, which can be very harmful to an unborn baby, so it is advised to avoid countries where Zika is present until your baby is born. Note that some countries still have vaccine entry requirements in place as a hangover the COVID-19 pandemic.
Does pregnancy make you more sensitive to heat and sun?
The short answer is yes. Due to a crazy amount of pregnancy hormones you might find you are less able to cope in hot climates. Pregnancy makes you more susceptible to fainting and heat stroke so drink plenty of water and seek shade when you can. Pregnancy can also make your skin extra sensitive to the sun (those pesky hormones again) so make sure you apply sun cream with a high SP factor when you’re in hot countries.
What if I get food poisoning during pregnancy?
It is unlikely that food poisoning will be harmful to your unborn baby but is no fun being unwell when you are pregnant. While you are travelling be conscious of lower food hygiene standards that might make you sick. If you walk past a food stall selling chicken skewers that have been sitting in the sun all day – avoid! The same goes for water – if in doubt always drink bottled water.
Can you get travel insurance when you are pregnant?
You can easily take out travel insurance when you are pregnant. You should tell your insurance provider about your pregnancy, but this shouldn’t make your insurance any more expensive. The amount of cover for pregnancy related medical care will vary between insurance providers so make sure you read the small print! And let them know if you have any pre-existing pregnancy conditions as these might not be covered.
Is travelling during pregnancy fun?
It absolutely can be and it certainly was for me! Like with anything pregnancy related, it will vary from person to person and your stage of pregnancy. Usually women feel at their best during the second trimester (mid pregnancy) so I’d plan a trip around this time. I would advise being flexible and making refundable reservations so that you can change your mind last minute.
You might not be mountain biking through the Himalayas, but the freedom of travel and everything that comes with it can be incredibly rewarding during pregnancy.
Milly is a midwife – you can follow her baby travel adventures on instagram @wildtravelchild. www.wildtravelchild.com
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!