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I’m pregnant: is it safe to travel?

Many parents-to-be, anticipating the sleepless nights, diaper changes and midnight feedings, opt to take a vacation before baby arrives. And, while a babymoon is a wonderful opportunity for parents-to-be to connect, travel during pregnancy requires careful planning to mitigate risks to yourself, your unborn child and your wallet.

Allianz Global Assistance - Flying while Pregnant

The ability to travel safely while pregnant also depends on the type of travel you’re considering. Top of mind for many is flying when pregnant and visiting regions with less advanced medical care. A trek in a remote area known for malaria-carrying mosquitos is obviously not advised. Alternatively, a short flight or train ride to explore a new city where you can walk, rest and eat well could be a delightful and memorable experience for parents-to-be.

You might consider travelling in the second trimester (around 14 weeks to 27 at the most), which usually coincides with that peaceful time after morning sickness and before the significant reality of birth is upon you.

I’m thinking of travelling outside Canada—what do I need to consider?

Before you start booking international travel, it’s important to put a plan in place to maintain your health while you’re out of the country.

Up-to-date vaccines are always a good idea, but are particularly important when you’re expecting. Prolonged sedentary periods can also be detrimental for expectant mothers, so whether you’re in a car, plane or train, be sure you’re able to stop or get up and walk around regularly to maintain blood circulation. Some physicians may recommend compression stockings for air travel, which increase blood flow, so that is an option to consider.

Remember you may not be able to get your favourite vitamins and snacks outside the country, so be sure to pack a supply with you. In short, you should have a good understanding of your personal health and the parameters of your pregnancy, and a plan in case of challenges. Whatever your plans, it’s essential to review them with your primary physician before leaving to ensure you’re safe to travel.

Travel during Pregnancy: What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Plans with medical benefits offered by Allianz Global Assistance on this site may provide coverage for emergency medical care related to a pregnancy before the 31-week mark, assuming that there are no pre-existing complications or high-risk pregnancies, and that the mother is a Canadian resident.

Trip cancellation insurance is also a good idea, as it may offer protection for pregnancy-related changes to your travel plans, such as a diagnosis of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. These are serious conditions and should be documented by your healthcare team. The inability to travel due to these complications, assuming they first appear after you’ve booked your trip and purchased your travel insurance, will typically be a covered reason to cancel your trip under your cancellation benefits. Unfortunately standard morning sickness is not typically a covered reason for a cancellation insurance claim.

Another factor to consider is the policies of various airlines: many airlines won’t let women fly after 32 weeks so it’s important to read your airline’s passenger policy as well as your travel insurance policy. Some airlines are even more stringent. If you are not allowed to board a flight because you are pregnant, it’s important to know in advance whether this affects your eligibility to claim a refund through travel insurance.

Giving birth prematurely while you’re travelling is also a risk to be aware of. With most Canadian travel insurance policies, including those offered by Allianz Global Assistance, the mother would be covered for medical treatment related to delivery if before the 31-week mark, however, medical expenses for the newborn child would not be, so you’ll need to be aware of that and consider the risks. So for example, with a premature delivery at 27 weeks, the infant would require special care in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Under travel insurance policies offered by Allianz Global Assistance, none of the care or transportation costs for the newborn child would be eligible for coverage in this scenario. Instead, the costs of the NICU and associated needs would be the responsibility of the parents.

I planned ahead… now what?

If you booked your trip before you became pregnant, travel insurance with Trip Cancellation benefits may cover the cancellation costs, provided the departure or return date falls within eight weeks before the expected delivery date or a physician recommends against travel. Complications from pregnancy, including premature delivery before you travel are also covered reasons for cancelling your trip in travel insurance plans offered by Allianz Global Assistance through this site which include Trip Cancellation benefits.

Be realistic and know your policy

Travel insurance doesn’t cover everything, so knowing your policy’s terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions will help you to better understand the included coverage. A 10-day “free-look” guarantee is offered with every travel insurance policy administered by Allianz Global Assistance, and comes with valuable 24/7 assistance services from anywhere in the world.

If you are pregnant and in good health, a babymoon in the form of a restful vacation can do wonders. However, if you are carrying a high-risk pregnancy, travelling far from home may not be a good idea. Instead, try to enjoy local attractions- you will gain a whole new appreciation and perspective next time you are there with a baby!

Buy  medical and trip cancellation travel insurance now, or learn more in Travel Insurance 101.

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Travel insurance does not cover everything. Please refer to the policy wording for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies and administered by Allianz Global Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. Please note that remuneration may be payable to the distributor of this insurance.