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Travel insurance when pregnant

Planning one final relaxing holiday before the new addition arrives? It might be the last thing on your mind, but you’ll need to be properly covered for travel during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know.

Planning one final relaxing holiday before the new addition arrives? It might be the last thing on your mind, but you’ll need to be properly covered for travel during pregnancy. Here’s what you need to know.

Written by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
9 JUNE 2022
10 min read
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Do I need specialist travel insurance during pregnancy?

Pregnancy isn’t an unusual situation, and both multi-trip and single-trip travel policies can cover women who travel while expecting.

You shouldn’t have to pay more for your policy as pregnancy isn’t considered a pre-existing condition, unless you have any complications.

But what could differ between policies is the amount of cover and the time frames and exclusions that are applied. If you already have annual travel insurance, it’s worth checking your policy wording to see what cover you have and whether it’s enough. If your annual policy doesn’t meet your needs, talk to your provider about upgrading cover or add-ons.

Tell your insurance provider in advance of your trip to make sure you have all the cover you need. Also, make sure you inform them about any pregnancy-related medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. If you don’t, you may not be covered if you need medical help.

The other option is to look at single-trip insurance with better levels of cover that can cover you for any emergency pregnancy-related medical attention expenses abroad – including hefty hospital bills for early birth or complications.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What does pregnancy travel insurance cover?

Look carefully at any travel insurance policy you’re considering to see what pregnancy cover is offered. This can vary widely between providers and the levels of cover might differ from the same provider.

Look, for example, at the maximum you can claim if you have to cancel or cut short your trip, or if you need to be repatriated to the UK because of issues with your pregnancy. Work out how many weeks pregnant you’ll be when you’re travelling and compare policies to see if you’ll still be covered for medical expenses if you go into labour unexpectedly early, as this can vary too.

While you’re at it, check the medical cover carefully to see what it provides and how well suited it is for pregnant women. A good insurance policy for pregnant travellers could also cover eventualities like: 

  • Cancellation or cutting your trip short due to pregnancy-related complications 
  • Early births 
  • Medical care during labour 
  • Emergency caesarean section 
  • Additional expenses if you give birth abroad and need to delay your return. 

Not all insurance providers cover all these though, so check each policy carefully before you buy.  

Don’t forget, your travel insurance should also cover: 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected travelling while pregnant?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on travel around the world. Even though it feels like we’re moving past the pandemic in the UK, that’s far from the case in other countries and territories. Always check the latest FCDO advice before booking any trips.

According to the NHS, “You're at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk. It’s strongly recommended that you get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect you and your baby.”

With this in mind, check the latest NHS advice for pregnancy and coronavirus before making any plans, as well as any entry requirements for your destination country – for vaccinations, for example.

Do I need pregnancy travel insurance if I have an GHIC card?

Yes. It’s not compulsory, but the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office strongly recommends you have comprehensive travel insurance in place and a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) card if you’re visiting Europe. This offers you medically necessary state-provided healthcare, on the same basis as local people, which isn’t always free like the NHS.

If you’re travelling to the EU or Switzerland, take a GHIC card with you. Or, if your EHIC has not yet expired you can continue to use that. You can apply for a new card up to six months before your current card expires. The card is free via the NHS website.

Some insurance providers insist that you have a GHIC/EHIC card when travelling to Europe, so make sure you apply in time. To be clear, EHIC/GHIC cards are not alternatives to travel insurance – as they won’t cover you for stolen luggage or cancelled flights.

What pregnancy documents do I need to take with me?

If you do need medical attention while away, the appropriate health records and documentation will be all-important, so you’ll need to take these with you:

  • Your travel insurance policy and relevant emergency helpline number
  • Your maternity notes
  • Any medication you’re taking
  • A valid GHIC/EHIC card if you’re visiting Europe
  • Any document needed to confirm your due date and that you are fit to fly. Some airlines might ask you to fill in their own forms about pregnancy. Check with your airline to see what’s needed.

Keep any receipts or paperwork you receive safe, so they can be used as evidence if you need to make a claim.

What happens if I become pregnant after I’ve booked a holiday?

It’s always a good to buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday because you’ll be covered from the get-go. If you discover that you’re pregnant after booking your holiday and you want to cancel your trip, you may still have to pay cancellation costs. But if you need to cancel because your doctor has advised against travelling, your insurance provider might pay any claim you make. This varies between providers, so speak to your policy provider just to make sure.

What else do I need to think about before travelling while pregnant?

Be sure to bear these in mind when travelling during pregnancy:

Medical advice – make sure you get the all-clear from your doctor or midwife before you go. If you travel against medical advice, your insurance policy will be invalid and you won’t be able to claim if something goes wrong.

Vaccinations– depending on your destination, your doctor can help you navigate travel vaccinations and anti-malaria medication. Pregnant women are usually advised against taking vaccines that use live bacteria or viruses so, if you’re travelling somewhere that recommends vaccination, speak to your doctor or midwife. Some anti-malaria tablets also aren't safe to take in pregnancy so, again, ask your GP for advice.

Airlines – most airlines won’t allow pregnant travellers to fly after 37 weeks, or 32 weeks if you are expecting twins, check your airline’s policy before booking your flight. The NHS also offers valuable advice on travelling safely while pregnant.

Food and drink – food and water-borne conditions, such as stomach upsets and diarrhoea, can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. The NHS offers helpful advice on what foods and drink to avoid while pregnant – both at home and abroad.

Check if your destination is affected by Zika virus – the UK Government and NHS advise against travelling to countries with a risk of Zika virus, which is more dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. You can check information about your intended destination country on the Travel Health Pro website.

Activities – sports with a risk of falling or high impact, such as horse riding, water-skiing and surfing, aren’t recommended during pregnancy. Other popular holiday activities are also advised against, such as:

    • Scuba diving, as you may be at risk of decompression sickness, which could lead to miscarriage
    • Hot-air balloon trips, because of the change in oxygen levels
    • Saunas, hot tubs and whirlpools, as they could put you at risk of dehydration and fainting.

Your midwife or GP should be able to offer you advice on travelling too.

Will pregnancy travel insurance allow me to travel up to full term?

Maybe. Some insurance providers might cover you for up to 40 weeks. But check your policy carefully.

If your pregnancy is more advanced than is covered by your policy and your insurance becomes invalid, you’ll could suddenly find yourself in a complicated situation.

What happens if I go into labour abroad?  

Going into labour unexpectedly while abroad can be a stressful experience. You’ll need to cover the medical costs, as well as a prolonged stay in your holiday destination. 

Some airlines won’t allow newborns on flights until they are two weeks old or even older if your baby is premature.

Travel insurance could help cover the costs in these situations, with the right policy covering your medical expenses, as well as providing you with a place to stay and alternative travel home. 

Most travel insurance policies won’t cover planned overseas births though.

Pregnancy travel myths

There’s a lot of (often conflicting) information out there, and you might have heard stories from friends and family who have been pregnant. But not everything you may have heard might be entirely true, such as: 

“Flying while pregnant is dangerous.” 

There isn’t anything inherently risky about flying while pregnant. It doesn’t put you at greater risk of going into labour and wearing a seatbelt on a plane is safe. In fact, you’re advised to avoid travelling in advanced pregnancy because going into premature labour while on a flight presents obvious complications.

Long-distance travel (flying for more than four hours) can have a small increased risk of blood clots, but there are measures you could take to help mitigate this. Wear comfortable clothes, shoes and compression stockings, drink plenty of water and move around regularly.  

“Travelling in the first three months of pregnancy is the safest time to travel.” 

While not directly linked to travel, the first 12 weeks carry the highest risk of miscarriage. So, it’s always best to be closer to home if possible, especially if you’re feeling the effects of morning sickness.

“You can’t fly during your third trimester.” 

Also, not true. Travelling in the final stages of pregnancy may not be recommended, but you can usually fly until the 37th week. While some airlines might require written notice from a doctor after 28 weeks, you should still be able to travel, unless under medical caution. 

Is it easy to get a travel insurance quote if I’m pregnant?

Getting a travel insurance quote that covers your pregnancy shouldn’t be any more difficult than getting standard travel insurance. Just let insurance providers know your travel dates, holiday destination and any optional extras you’d like added to your policy.

You don’t necessarily need to declare your pregnancy as it’s not considered a pre-existing medical condition. But you should let insurance providers know to ensure you get the right level of cover for any pregnancy-related problems. You must tell your provider if you’ve had pregnancy complications.

When you compare travel insurance with us, we’ll send you a list of insurance providers, so you can compare policies and choose one that ticks all the right boxes – and enjoy a holiday with the peace of mind that you and your bump are covered.

Can you get an annual multi-trip policy while pregnant?

Yes. Because pregnancy isn’t considered a pre-existing medical condition, most annual multi-trip policies will cover you while pregnant, but we’d recommend checking your policy wording or speaking to your travel insurance provider to be sure that it offers the cover you want.

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