Travel insurance when pregnant

If you’re looking to have one last relaxing holiday before your baby arrives, finding the right travel insurance, to ensure you’re properly covered during pregnancy, is important to consider. With certain medical recommendations surrounding travelling while pregnant, you need to make sure when and what you’ll be covered for. 

If you’re looking to have one last relaxing holiday before your baby arrives, finding the right travel insurance, to ensure you’re properly covered during pregnancy, is important to consider. With certain medical recommendations surrounding travelling while pregnant, you need to make sure when and what you’ll be covered for. 

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
5
minute read
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Posted 2 August 2021

Do I need specialist travel insurance during pregnancy?

Some insurance providers can provide travel insurance for pregnancy as standard in their annual/multi-trip travel insurance, as it’s often not considered to be a medical condition, so it’s worth checking your policy wording to see if you’re already covered.

If not, special pregnancy travel insurance can cover you for a single trip for any pregnancy-related medical attention abroad, including hefty hospital bills for early birth or pregnancy complications.

If you’re covered by an annual policy tell your insurance provider in advance of your trip. If you opt for pregnancy travel insurance, make sure you read your policy carefully before travelling so you know exactly what you’ll be covered for while you’re away.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.

If your destination of choice 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 are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. 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 respectively.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

What does pregnancy travel insurance cover?

The main difference for travel insurance policies which cover pregnancy, is that the medical cover it provides is better suited for pregnant women. A good pregnancy travel insurance policy can also cover you for things like: 

  • 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 will cover these though, so when comparing policies, make sure you choose one that covers every possible eventuality for extra peace of mind. 

On top of these, you’ll also receive the same things as standard travel insurance, such as: 

  • lost luggage 
  • cancellation cover 
  • flight delays 

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

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively impacted travel around the world. The UK government has had a regularly evolving set of travel restrictions, including full bans, making it illegal to travel unless for a specifically exempt reason. For this reason, you should always look for the latest FCDO advice before booking any trips or holidays.

For pregnant women specifically, studies have shown that there’s no added risk from coronavirus to pregnant women, but the UK government has classed them as “clinically vulnerable” as a precautionary measure. With this in mind, you should check the latest advice for clinically vulnerable groups, before making any plans.

Do I still need pregnancy travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?

Although neither are compulsory, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office strongly recommends you have both a valid EHIC/GHIC card and comprehensive travel insurance in place if you’re visiting Europe. The EHIC/GHIC are not alternatives to travel insurance.

After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.

However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.

Although it will cover any pregnancy-related medical treatment in a public hospital in another EEA country or Switzerland, it won’t cover private treatment, loss of luggage, cancellations, delays or repatriation.

What pregnancy documents do I need to take with me?

If you do need medical attention while away, it’s important to have the right documentation to hand. Ensure you take the following with you:

  • your travel insurance policy and relevant emergency helpline number
  • your maternity notes
  • a valid EHIC/GHIC card if you’re visiting Europe

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

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

If you discover you’re pregnant after booking your holiday and you want to cancel your trip, you may still have to pay cancellation costs. However, if you need to cancel because your doctor has advised against travelling, your insurance provider may pay any claim you make. This varies between providers, so it’s best to speak to your policy provider just to make sure.

If you still want to go ahead with your trip after finding out you’re pregnant, and you already have travel insurance in place, speak to your insurance provider to see if they can alter your existing policy to cover you.

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

Here are a few other important things worth bearing 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 things go wrong

  • vaccinations – depending on your destination, your doctor can also advise whether you’ll need travel vaccinations and anti-malaria medication.Although the NHS strongly advises pregnant women to avoid travel to countries where there’s a high risk of malaria or Zika virus.

  • airlines – most airlines won’t allow pregnant travellers to fly after 37 weeks. Be sure to check your airline’s policy before booking your flight. The NHS also offers valuable advice on flying 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 both at home and abroad, while pregnant
  • activities – high risk sports such as horse riding, water-skiing and surfing are not recommended during pregnancy. It’s also wise to avoid these other popular holiday activities:
    • 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 and whirlpools as they could put you at risk of dehydration and fainting

The Babycentre UK gives a more comprehensive list of what activities to avoid during pregnancy.

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

It’s important that you check your travel insurance policy carefully, but some insurance providers will cover you for up to 40 weeks, which is the usual pregnancy term. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered if you’re late and exceed 40 weeks. 

If you’re more than 40 weeks pregnant, and your policy becomes invalid, you’re suddenly in a more complicated situation, so it’s vital that you check carefully and understand your cover. 

What happens if I go into labour abroad?  

Going into labour unexpectedly while abroad can be a stressful experience. This is why having the proper travel insurance, which meets your specific needs, is so important. You’ll need to cover the medical costs, but a prolonged stay in your holiday destination, to account for a hospital period, can disrupt your travel plans significantly. This is especially true with a premature birth, when the baby requires additional care. 

Travel insurance can help relieve you of these problems, with the right policy covering your medical expenses, as well as providing you with a place to stay and alternative travel home. 

If you’re planning on giving birth abroad in another EU country, or Norway, Iceland, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, you’ll need a valid EHIC/GHIC and an S2 guarantee form.

The S2 form covers you for specific maternity care, but an EHIC/GHIC can insure you for any state-provided medical care that you or your baby may need.

Please check that your EHIC is still within its valid date. After the UK left the EU, you won't be able to get a replacement EHIC, and will instead need to apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

Myths of travelling while pregnant

There’s a lot of information out there, and you may have heard stories from friends and family who have been pregnant. Here are some examples of those stories not being strictly true though: 

“Flying while pregnant is dangerous.” 
There isn’t actually anything inherently risky about flying while pregnant. The reason you’re advised to avoid travelling at certain times is because it’s best to have access to a doctor/midwife at these times, and going into premature labour while on a flight presents obvious complications. However, the act of flying doesn’t put you at a higher risk of going into labour. 

“Travelling in the first three months of pregnancy is the safest time to travel.” 
While not directly linked to travel, the first 12 weeks are the time when you are at the highest risk of miscarriage. So, it’s always best to be closer to home if possible. Also, if you’re feeling the effects of morning sickness, these can sometimes make flying more uncomfortable. 

“You can’t fly during your third trimester.” 
This also isn’t true. While it’s recommended that you avoid travelling in the final stages of pregnancy, you can usually fly until the 37th week. While some airlines may require written notice from a doctor after 28 weeks, you should still be able to travel, unless under medical caution. 

Advice for travelling while pregnant 

If you’re considering flying or travelling while pregnant, you should first speak to your doctor or midwife. While the act of flying or travelling while pregnant isn’t dangerous, travelling is often advised against, during the final stages of pregnancy, to avoid finding yourself in a difficult situation, if you went into a premature labour. 

Here are some things to think about if you’re planning on travelling while pregnant: 

  • Safest time to fly - the safest time to fly while pregnant is generally between 12-28 weeks, however, this can extend until 36 weeks. After this point, you’re at risk of going into labour. Some airlines may request a doctor or midwife’s letter, before letting you fly after 28 weeks. In the early stages of pregnancy, the first three months, you are at a higher risk of miscarrying, which can put some women off flying.
  • Vaccines – vaccines which use live bacteria or viruses are usually advised against for pregnant women, as there’s a risk they could harm your baby. Some are less of a risk than others, so, if you’re travelling somewhere which recommends vaccination, you should speak to your doctor or midwife.
  • Move regularly and drink plenty – if you’re on a long-haul flight, there’s an increased risk of developing blood clots (you’ve probably heard of deep vein thrombosis). To avoid this, you should try to move about every 30 minutes and drink plenty of water.
  • Food and drink – while it’s unpleasant enough to get a stomach bug while travelling in normal circumstances, you should take extra care to avoid picking one up while pregnant. That’s because some of the medication used to treat these things can be unsuitable for pregnant travellers. So, it’s recommended to drink bottled water whenever possible and ask about things like ice in drinks and salads.
  • 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. This is because Zika virus is more dangerous to pregnant women and their babies, with evidence linked to birth defects. You can find a list of countries affected by Zika virus here. 

Generally though, if you’ve had a trouble-free pregnancy, flying is relatively safe. However, it’s always best to have a chat with your doctor about it.

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.

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 baby bump are covered.

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

Annual travel insurance is a policy which covers you for multiple trips in a year. It provides 12 months of cover and is suitable for regular travellers who would otherwise need to take out lots of single travel insurance policies. 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.

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