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For the most part, travelling is a very safe activity when you are pregnant.

If like many women who are pregnant for the first time, you are planning a final baby-free getaway before your little one is born, there’s no reason you shouldn’t go. Unless, of course, you’ve been advised by your maternity care provider that you shouldn’t travel. If you’re flying or leaving Australia or New Zealand, it’s a good idea to make sure that you're covered by travel insurance first.

Without travel insurance your trip could become very expensive, very quickly. The cost of medical and maternity care in some countries can be exhorbitant. In the case of premature labour delivery and other labour and birth complications, hospital fees can extend to thousands of dollars.

Most travel insurance companies will provide you with cover if you decide to travel or fly during pregnancy. However, in most cases, the cover will only be up to a certain stage of your pregnancy. Some policies might not cover any normal pregnancy or childbirth costs while you are overseas either. So read the policy statements carefully.

Choosing travel insurance for pregnancy

When researching and purchasing travel insurance, know that during pregnancy, you’re considered to be relatively high risk, especially in the later months. This can mean that insurance premiums might be high and some companies could refuse you cover altogether. Don’t get your heart set on going away until you’ve checked out the insurance facts.

If you're planning to travel in your last trimester, check that the policy you choose offers cover up to this stage of your pregnancy. Most policies provide cover up to 24 weeks of pregnancy and some do extend up to 32 weeks. It’s important to double-check this small but crucial detail before you purchase any insurance cover. And avoid the temptation to fake your due date. You may need a medical certificate stating how far along you are and when your baby is due.

Some aspects of your pregnancy might incur restrictions on what and for how long you are covered for, including:

  • If you’re having twins, triplets or more
  • Whether you conceived using IVF or had other fertility assistance
  • Whether you have experienced any complications during your pregnancy
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions
  • If you have a history of pregnancy complications or premature birth

Although most policies won’t cover you for normal pregnancy or childbirth costs while you are overseas, you might be covered for some unexpected medical complications that arise, including:

  • Premature delivery
  • Gestational diabetes or hypertension
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Excessive vomiting - hyperemesis
  • Placental abruption or emergency caesarian section
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth

Always make sure you check the terms and conditions of the policy before you make your decision. Every policy is different and you want to find the best one for your individual situation.

If you are struggling to find cover because of a pre-existing condition or pregnancy complication, you may be able to apply for a special level of cover. You might need to pay an additional premium for this. But for peace of mind, it is likely to be well worth it.

Flying while pregnant

For most women, flying is perfectly safe during pregnancy. However, it’s a good idea to check with your healthcare professional before you make firm travel plans.

Many airlines will place restrictions on you if you have complications with your pregnancy; are in your last trimester or are carrying more than one baby. In some cases, you might need to provide a signed letter from your doctor that states you are fit and clear to travel before you are allowed to board a plane.

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