Pregnancy and Travel

Travel is not dangerous to pregnancy in most circumstances. However, for safety reasons, most airlines refuse the boarding of women of over 32 week' s maturity for international flights. The safest period of travel is within the second trimester (weeks 18 to 24), when the risk of spontaneous abortion or premature labour is low.

Good planning, Happy ending

When planning for a visit overseas, the following should be taken into consideration:

  • General health of the pregnant woman (e.g. any heart disease, blood vessel blockage, anaemia).

  • Previous obstetric history (e.g. miscarriage, preterm labour, bleeding).

  • Antenatal history for this pregnancy (e.g. gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, multiple pregnancy, first pregnancy at >35-year-old or <15-year-old, vaginal bleeding).

  • Facilities for blood transfusion and managing obstetric complications.

Consult your doctor if you are in doubt.


  • Live virus vaccines like MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) are contraindicated.

  • Vaccination against Yellow Fever is permitted after the sixth month of pregnancy if the risk of Yellow Fever in the destination is very high.

  • If a certificate of Yellow Fever is required but vaccination is considered undesirable, a doctor' s letter and endorsed with an authority stamp stating the fact is generally accepted.

Malaria drugs: some do protect, some do harm

  • Pregnant women should avoid to visit malarious areas.

  • If impossible to avoid, preventive anti-malarial drugs should be maintained throughout the visit. However, some anti-malarial drugs may be harmful to the fetus; so consult your doctor beforehand.

  • Other than anti-malarial drugs, anti-mosquito bites measures, especially after sunset, also play a very important role. Wear long-sleeved clothing, apply DEET containing repellent, use mosquito net or stay in air-conditioned room help to prevent mosquito bites.

Transport Safety

  • Air travel in late pregnancy might precipitate labour.

  • A seat belt should be worn while on road travel. The shoulder strap should be placed between the breasts, above the bump. Lap belts should be placed low and fixed across the pelvis, under the bump and over the upper thighs. This can protect you and your fetus during an accident.

  • Moving around every 1 or 2 hours and raising legs while seated help to reduce the risk of leg vessel blockage for prolonged travels.

  • Climbing high mountains, diving, horsing riding and safaris are not advised.


Last revision date: 10 October 2012