July 24, 2019

If you’re planning international travel while pregnant, keep these tips in mind to stay healthy.


Pregnant women know there are certain precautions they should take to ensure the health of their unborn baby. This is especially true when they travel outside the United States.

If you’re planning on international travel while pregnant, talk to your OB-GYN or midwife about how to prepare, based on your destination. Also, the Vanderbilt International Travel Clinic can help you plan.

Tips for preparing for an international trip to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy:

  • Identify the current safety and health concerns for your intended destination. There are many sources for this information: the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and the U.S. State Department.
  • Talk to your health-care provider about required immunizations.
  • Take steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitos. Mosquitos spread numerous diseases that are harmful to adults or to unborn babies. Pregnant women should remain aware of how Zika virus might spread and affect them. Use insect repellent. If you will be staying someplace where mosquitos are especially active, use netting around beds. Be sure to stay someplace with air conditioning or with well-screened windows and doors. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to reduce your chances of being bitten.
  • Know how to avoid traveler’s diarrhea and dehydration.
  • Consider limiting travel to the middle trimester of pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that for most women, traveling while pregnant is fine: “As long as you and your fetus are healthy, you can travel safely until you are 36 weeks pregnant.” ACOG also says: “The best time to travel is the middle of your pregnancy — between week 14 and week 28. Most common pregnancy problems happen in the first and third trimesters. During mid-pregnancy, your energy has returned, morning sickness usually is gone and it is still easy to get around. Paying attention to the way you feel is the best guide for your activities [and remaining healthy while traveling abroad].”
  • However, ACOG does not recommend international travel while pregnant if you have complications, including preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure), premature rupture of membranes or a history of preterm labor. “Travel also may not be a good idea if you are pregnant with more than one fetus,” according to ACOG’s recommendations. Talk with your health-care provider about your own circumstances.
A woman takes a selfie of herself and a man standing on a bridge.

The Vanderbilt International Travel Clinic can help you and your family prepare for international travel. Call 615-936-1174 for an appointment well in advance of your trip.