Being pregnant doesn’t prevent you from being able to travel, either on a tripped organised well before you discovered you were pregnant, or for a babymoon. Most travel insurance policies will cover unexpected medical complications for women up until 20 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. However, like most insurance cover, there are some exclusions and restrictions, such as existing complications with the pregnancy, a multiple pregnancy or a pregnancy resulting from an assisted reproductive programme.
Complications during a pregnancy could include – but aren’t limited to – a number of conditions, such as:
- Gestational diabetes – a form of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. Most women who experience it usually no longer have diabetes after the baby is born. It is currently the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia.
- Hyperemesis gravidarum – excessive and severe nausea and vomiting, which sometimes requires hospitalisation.
- Toxaemia or Pre-eclampsia – a very serious condition that can affect pregnant women, leading to high blood pressure and possible damage to one or more organs – usually the kidneys, with protein found in the urine. It usually develops only after the 20th week of pregnancy.
You should also know that all airlines have their own conditions and restrictions for pregnant travellers, so before you commit to your travel plans and take out travel insurance, also check with the airline whether you will be allowed to travel.
You need to fully consider the risks, and the conditions and exclusions, particularly if your trip extends beyond the maximum weeks of pregnancy permitted. Discuss your travel plans with your doctor and if advised reconsider your plans or do not travel. If your doctor thinks it is safe for you to travel, ask for a medical letter that states this, and confirms that your pregnancy has been uncomplicated so far. This is mandatory if you are travelling after the 28th week of your pregnancy.
It is equally important to consider the standard of medical services in your destination country, as most travel insurance policies do not cover the actual birth or the medical care of a new-born. Not forgetting that swelling and dehydration are common on any flights when pregnant but can be much worse on flights that last longer than eight hours, with the added risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Minimise this by stretching and standing up and walking periodically throughout the flight, and by wearing compression socks.
Some providers treat pregnancy as a pre-existing medical condition and require a medical assessment prior to issuing insurance. This is commonly done over the phone or by completing a medical assessment form. After completing a medical assessment, some exclusions can be removed by paying an additional premium.
Your insurer’s policy documentation and product disclosure statement (PDS) will include full details of how far into a pregnancy they offer cover, along with details of what is covered, and what exclusions or restrictions may apply. If you’re unsure of anything in the policy, contact your provider for clarification. For more useful tips about travelling whilst pregnant see our article Pregnant and Travelling.