What should I bring with me?
As well as bringing your passport and tickets, you'll need to plan your packing a little more carefully if you're pregnant.
Before you travel, ask your doctor about which medicines are safe to take with you. For example, ask about what medicines you can take in case you feel nauseous or have diarrhoea. If you are travelling by plane, also ask your doctor about medicines to avoid blood clots.
Check with your airline or carrier, as some have specific rules or limits on when you can travel. Most airlines won't let you fly after 28 weeks of pregnancy.
You airline may ask you to show a medical certificate. This is a letter from a doctor or registered midwife with health information about your pregnancy. The airline may ask to see the medical certificate when you check in and even during the flight. Your medical certificate should contain the following information:
It's important to take photocopies of your travel documents, prescriptions and insurance policies. Ensure you keep these somewhere safe.
Staying safe while overseas
If the travel advisory says do not travel to your destination country, then do not travel at this time. Don't put yourself or your baby at risk.
It's very dangerous to drink contaminated water while you're pregnant, so bottled water is best, especially if you are traveling to a place without a reliable supply of clean water. Iodine purification is not recommended, because it can affect your baby's thyroid gland. Pack lots of hand sanitiser so you can make sure your hands are always clean before you eat or drink.
You should take proper precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. If you are in a mosquito area, the following precautions can help prevent mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellent. You can use repellent containing DEET after the first trimester but use a spray rather than a roll-on.
- Wear long-sleeved clothes after dark.
- Use a mosquito net for your bed.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may advise against travel. This is to prevent you placing yourself and your baby at risk.
How can I cover unforeseen costs?
Before you travel, you should make sure your travel insurance covers you for pregnancy, as well as any complications. See Smarttraveller for advice for pregnant travellers, and check the advice for the country you plan to travel to.
It's not normally recommended to travel to very remote areas or to developing countries while you're pregnant. If you do, make sure your travel insurance will cover any medical care you might need, as well as any emergency evacuation expenses.
Travel insurance and pregnancy
Different travel insurance policies offer different levels of pregnancy cover. Most will cover pregnancy up to 26 weeks, and some will go up to 32 weeks. After 33 weeks you can't claim on travel insurance for normal pregnancy or childbirth. Some pregnancy-related medical conditions may be covered.
Some policies also cover newborns — this could be important if your baby decides to come early while you're overseas. Check whether there are any exclusions in your policy, such as complications due to fertility treatment or a multiple birth. You can read more about finding the best travel insurance on the government's Smartraveller website.
Remember that many travel insurance policies will not cover any travel costs for your baby. Speak to your insurance provider before you travel.
Reciprocal health agreements
Australia has reciprocal healthcare agreements with 11 countries, as of April 2021. This may cover some of the medical costs for emergency care in these countries, or for care that can't wait until you get home. You may still need to pay for some medicines.
The countries that have these reciprocal healthcare agreements with Australia are Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Different countries offer different levels of care. You can check for more up-to-date information on the Services Australia website before you travel.
Even if you are going to a country that has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia, the health cover is limited, so you should also take out travel insurance, especially if you're pregnant.
What happens if I give birth overseas?
If you happen to have your baby while you are overseas, there are several things you will need to consider.
Having a baby in a country does not automatically mean your baby is a citizen of that country. This is even though that country will most likely give your baby a birth certificate.
Only the United States, Canada and most South American countries have what is known as 'birthright citizenship'. Citizenship of Australia, as well as of most European and Asian countries, is based on the citizenship of the parents.
Your baby will need an interim (temporary) passport so you can return to Australia. You will need to contact the Australian embassy or consulate where you are located, to help organise this.
When you return to Australia, this does not automatically make your baby an Australian citizen. This is the case, even if you and your partner are both Australian citizens. You will have to apply for 'citizenship by descent'.
Where should I go for help?
If you need non-urgent medical help while you're overseas, the first step is to contact your travel insurer. Most insurers offer 24-hour help lines that will help you.
If it's an emergency, contact the local ambulance service. You can find the number in the travel advisory for that country on the Smartraveller website. Smartraveller also provides advice on where to go for help in other countries.
If you are in serious trouble and can't get help anywhere else, you should contact the Australian embassy or consulate. This will nearly always be in the capital, although there may be consulates in the larger cities.
The 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra can be contacted for help from anywhere in the world. Call +61 2 6261 3305 (or 1300 555 135 if you are in Australia).
How do I handle the language barrier?
Before you travel overseas, consider:
- taking a phrase book with you
- using a translation app on your phone, or other translation software
- taking translations of common pregnancy problems or complications
An Australian embassy or consulate can also tell you where to find local accredited translators in an emergency.
Resources and support
- Visit the Australian government website Smartraveller for Advice for pregnant travellers.
- Read more on Safe travels! 10 tips for a healthy holiday.
- In case of emergency, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra for help from anywhere in the world — call +61 2 6261 3305 (or 1300 555 135 if you are in Australia).
- Learn more on reciprocal health agreements between Australia and some countries.
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Last reviewed: June 2023