Explore Travel Insurance

Congratulations! The countdown is on until you welcome your little bundle of joy into the world! But, there’s still a lot to do between now and then. Perhaps you still need to travel for work, or maybe you want to head on a babymoon to celebrate the blessing in your belly?

Whatever the case, you should always consider travel insurance. But, how does your pregnancy affect your cover?

The big question: Can you get insured when pregnant?

The good news is that you aren’t expressly barred from getting travel insurance if you’re pregnant, depending on how far along you are. Some insurers may just need a note from your doctor before they sign you up for cover. This is generally fine because you should see your doctor before you travel regardless, to make sure it’s safe to do so. Many insurers will cover pregnancies up to 30 weeks gestations (if you meet certain conditions), while other insurance providers will only offer cover up to 23 weeks gestation.

When it comes to travel insurance, pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition if you (the insured) are pregnant when you take out your policy. So, if you want to make sure you and your baby bump are covered, you’ll need to buy a travel insurance plan with coverage for pre-existing conditions or upgrade your policy so that you can get coverage for your pregnancy.

Pregnant women with daughter in wheat field

Do I need travel insurance for my pregnancy?

Travel insurance is designed to provide financial protection for when things don’t go quite as planned on your trip, like a medical emergency or travel delay.

Travelling while pregnant can come with added risks, not to mention stress. That’s why it’s important you take out a travel insurance policy that will cover you and your unborn baby against the unexpected and give you peace of mind.

What should a travel insurance policy for pregnancy include?

Typically, travel insurance for pregnancy will include cover for:

  • unexpected pregnancy-related complications up to the third trimester
  • overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses if you suffer from an unexpected illness, complication or serious injury related to your pregnancy
  • trip cancellations if your doctor advises you’re not fit to travel because of complications or the risk of childbirth
  • trip cancellations if you find out you’re pregnant after purchasing your cover and you’ll be over the maximum weeks of pregnancy permitted to travel when you’re expected to depart
  • 24-hour travel assistance.

Travel insurance for pregnancy offers the same benefits as any other travel insurance including cover for medical emergencies, trip delays or cancellations, lost luggage or personal items, theft and rental car excess.

As with any travel insurance product, the level of cover for pregnancy will vary between insurers and policies. So, before you make a decision, read through the terms and conditions.

Travel insurance and pregnancy: Exclusions and what to watch out for

It’s important to remember that travel insurance policies come with exclusions and that cover for pregnancy comes with conditions. As such, it’s crucial you understand what you are and aren’t covered for before you purchase a policy. As a general rule, you may not get cover for your pregnancy on your travel insurance if:

  • you conceived through an assisted reproduction program
  • you need to claim for expenses related to childbirth or the healthcare of a newborn
  • your doctor advised you not to travel
  • you’re having multiple babies
  • you’re planning to travel after your ‘maximum weeks of pregnancy permitted’ (typically during the third trimester, but this will vary by insurer)
  • you’ve experienced complications with your pregnancy (including prior miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, or premature labour)
  • routine doctor appointments for your pregnancy.

Carefully read through any Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) before signing up to a policy to determine what you’re covered for. Similarly, check with your airline/cruise operator to ensure they don’t have their own restrictions on pregnant women flying or sailing.

Trimesters versus travel suitability

First trimester (i.e. the first 12 weeks)

The first 12 weeks of your pregnancy are crucial for bub’s development, and you’ll finish it with a maternal blood test and an ultrasound. While it’s typically a safe enough time to travel, you may be experiencing some regular morning sickness during this trimester. Because of this, you may want to consider scheduling any trips after the 12th week.

Key developments:

  • Six weeks. Your baby is an embryo and is roughly three millimetres tall.
  • Seven weeks. The heart is beating!
  • 10 weeks. Your baby (now a fetus) is now 2.5cm tall, has all its bodily organs, and has brain waves.

Second trimester (i.e. 12-24 weeks)

Now is a great time to have a babymoon, because the second trimester is the safest time for you travel (so long as you’re not experiencing any complications).[1] Consult your doctor before you make any travel arrangements, as they will be able to give you the best advice for your situation.

Key developments:

  • 13 weeks. Your baby has nearly tripled in size to seven centimetres in length and is swimming in the womb.
  • 16 weeks. Your baby has eyelashes, eyebrows and taste buds.
  • 18-20 weeks. An ultrasound can now discern the sex of your baby.

Third trimester (i.e. week 24 and beyond)

Some airlines may not let you fly if you’re far into your third trimester, or if the flight time exceeds a certain length (e.g. four hours). Even if they do allow you to fly, you may still need to produce a note from your doctor.

Key developments:

  • 32 weeks. Your baby is probably asleep most of the time (behaviour they’ll no doubt repeat as teenagers). In preparation for the birth, it’ll likely have its head down.
  • 36 weeks. The baby is now likely to be about 46cm tall and has an excellent chance for survival if born now.
  • 40 weeks. It’s time for the baby to be born. Good luck, mum!

What to be aware of when travelling while pregnant

You should be wary of travelling to developing nations with poor healthcare infrastructure and be aware that it’s not recommended you be vaccinated with any live viruses (e.g. measles shots). The influenza vaccine, however, is considered safe (and important) to take.

Next, you’ll need to look for family insurance policies! This type of cover protects everyone in the family, your spouse, dependent children and yourself, under one policy which has higher cover limits for the number of travellers covered.

Girl kissing her mum’s belly

Four top travel tips for pregnant women

1. Research your destination

Be informed rather than sorry. Look up any healthcare facilities near your accommodation in case of an emergency and take a copy of your medical records with you.

Get familiar with all the do’s and don’ts of your destination and pay particular attention to foods, drinks and activities that you should avoid when pregnant. If you’re travelling to a developing country, be especially careful of travellers’ diarrhoea, which is caused by consuming contaminated food or water.

2. Register your travel plans with the Australian government

Register your trip with Smartraveller so that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade can keep track of your whereabouts and contact you or your family in case of an emergency.

You can also subscribe to receive free travel advice about your destination and any alerts for the part of the world you’re travelling to. The Australian government maintains travel advisories for over 170 destinations.

3. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date

As a pregnant woman, you could be at risk of serious complications if you contract a certain virus or infectious disease. There’s a chance you and your unborn baby might be exposed to foreign maladies overseas, especially if you’re travelling to an exotic destination or developing country.

So, make sure you’ve received all you travel immunisations before you depart. Some vaccines are not suitable for pregnant women, so chat with your doctor or nurse about your options before you go.

4. Reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

When flying, many people can experience mild air travel symptoms like fluid retention, nasal congestion, fatigue and dehydration.

If you’re pregnant, you may also be at higher risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of your leg (usually) and can be fatal if it lodges in your lungs or heart. To reduce the risk of a DVT, you should:

  • wear graduated elastic compression stockings
  • wear light, loose clothing and comfortable shoes
  • get up from your seat regularly and walk around the plane
  • stay well-hydrated
  • do in-seat exercises every half hour (ask your airline for information on this).

Compare travel insurance for pregnancy

Looking for travel insurance that will cover you and your bump? Find a great policy with our free comparison tool, which allows you to compare several travel insurance options from leading insurers side-by-side in just minutes. Simples!

Sources:

Victoria State Government Better Health Channel- Pregnancy – week by week (2019).

Victoria State Government Better Health Channel- Pregnancy and travel (2019).

Royal College of Obstetricians Gynaecologists- Air travel and pregnancy (2015).

Health Direct-Deep vein thrombosis (2019).

Ready to find a better deal? It’s easy to compare with us.

Compare travel insurance