12 tips for staying healthy on holiday while you’re pregnant

Just because you’re pregnant, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great holiday. But you also want to avoid risks and to stay healthy while you’re away. Here’s how. 

Just because you’re pregnant, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great holiday. But you also want to avoid risks and to stay healthy while you’re away. Here’s how. 

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
4
minute read
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Posted 6 JULY 2020

Going on holiday while pregnant

Perhaps you had your holiday planned when you discovered you were pregnant, or maybe you’ve decided to squeeze in one last child-free break. Whichever it is, a good holiday is the chance to relax and take care of yourself. From health to travel insurance, our tips have you covered. 

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

1. Plan a worry-free holiday

Doing some research beforehand, so you know where the medical facilities are at your destination, will help put your mind at rest. And knowing you have the right travel insurance will help too.

Pregnancy isn’t usually considered a medical condition for travel insurance, so getting the right cover is generally straightforward. But it’s always worth checking with your provider as your policy may include restrictions after a specified number of weeks pregnant.

2. Travel light  

Carrying extra weight in the form of a baby can change your centre of gravity, putting more strain on your lower back, so be kind to yourself. Pack light. Get a wheeled suitcase, be careful when lifting it and ask for help if you need it.  

3. Stay safe and comfortable on the plane   

While it’s safe to fly, pregnant women can be more prone to DVT (deep vein thrombosis), especially on long-haul flights (over four hours).  
 
Wearing correctly fitted compression stockings can reduce the risk of blood clots. Before you head off on holiday, talk to a knowledgeable pharmacist as you can buy compression stockings over the counter. Getting up and walking around the plane at least every couple of hours and wearing loose clothing will help keep you comfortable throughout your flight. 

4. Eat well and stay hydrated on your journey 

As well as drinking regularly, you might want to bring some healthy snacks with you. Staying hydrated is great – but don’t forget to book an aisle seat if you’re drinking lots of fluids.  

5. Be prepared for sea sickness

If you’re suffering from morning sickness, be aware that it could be worse on board a ship. If you think this could be an issue, talk to your doctor or midwife and see what they recommend. Don’t take any anti-sickness medicines without first checking they’re safe for pregnancy. 

6. Get advice about vaccinations and malaria prevention  

You might need to have vaccinations or take anti-malaria medication if you’re travelling to an exotic destination. If you’re planning a long-haul holiday, get advice from your doctor beforehand as some medications may not be suitable. 
 
To avoid insect bites, cover up with long sleeves and a light-coloured long dress or trousers, particularly at sunset. Use an insect repellent safe for pregnancy. Avoid strong perfumes, soap, shampoo and deodorant as these can attract insects. 

7. Eat healthily

Sampling the local food is part of the fun on holiday – and there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy it if you’re pregnant. There are just a few precautions you might want to take.  
 
Make sure meat and fish are cooked all the way through, even if you generally prefer your steak or burger rare. 
 
If you’re unsure about the quality of the water, it’s safest to: 

  • avoid uncooked vegetables and salad 
  • stick to fruit that you’ve peeled yourself 
  • drink bottled water, soft drinks and juice in cans  
    avoid ice 

If you’re a cheese lover, get to know the local cheeses so you can avoid unpasteurised versions. 
 
And carry healthy snacks with you, so you don’t find yourself having to eat something you’re not sure about because you’re hungry. 

8. Take care of yourself when exploring  

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes that give support. Pregnancy can make you prone to swollen feet and ankles, so put your feet up when you get the chance. 
 
Stop and have a rest if you need it, and build café stops or rests and siestas into your itinerary so you’re not tempted to overdo it. 

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9. Be sensible in the sun

It’s great to catch some rays, but the increased hormone levels you have when you’re pregnant can make you more sensitive to sunburn. Take care not to overdo it and stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest.  

10. Enjoy lots of lie-ins

You’ll have more fun if you’re well rested, so resist the temptation to pack every day with excursions and nights out. Keep your schedule relaxed and make the most of the opportunity to do nothing in particular.  

11. Do the activities you love…

Walking, swimming, dancing, yoga and low-impact aerobics are great ways to spend time on holiday – plus they’re good for you and your baby.

12. ...but be careful…

Take extra care if you’re doing anything where you might fall, like riding, skiing, ice skating or cycling.

Scuba diving is out when you’re pregnant as your baby won’t have protection against decompression.

And whatever you want to do, make sure you’re covered by your travel insurance. If you have any questions about what you can and can’t do, ask your doctor or your midwife.

Top tip

Take your maternity records with you – these are sometimes known as your handheld notes – so you can give any doctors relevant medical information, if necessary. 

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