Due to the increased popularity of ‘baby-moons’, Australia’s leading travel insurance and medical assistance company, Cover-More, is encouraging pregnant women to enjoy a well-deserved break closer to home before the arrival of their new baby.

Cover-More estimates that the number of pregnant women seeking pre-travel medical assessments for overseas destinations has increased by more than 200% since 2009 — faster than the overall growth in international travel by Australians.

When pregnant women travel within Australia they have ready access to our first-class standard of health and medical care for themselves and their baby. The standard of health systems vary greatly around the world, leaving mother and baby in the hands of potentially uncertain healthcare should they experience a complication while overseas.

“A baby-moon is a fantastic way to relax before the arrival of a new baby, however, we encourage women to travel within Australia when they’re pregnant, especially after 20 weeks gestation,” Cover-More Chief Medical Officer Professor Steve Rashford said.

“The recent popularity in overseas travel during pregnancy means that we are seeing more women unfortunately experience a pregnancy complication in another country, which can be compromised by the standard of available healthcare. For example, in some countries, mother and baby are separated in hospital, while in other areas the right equipment may not be available to effectively assist a premature baby.”

Leading obstetrician Dr Gino Pecoraro also commented: “I see many women who understandably want to enjoy a break before their baby arrives, and my recommendation is to travel in Australia up to two hours from home up to 36 weeks gestation.”

“I encourage my patients to carefully consider where they’re going for a baby-moon because at any stage of pregnancy there is always a chance that you may have to deliver in a place where you don’t want to deliver. In many countries there is limited access to the right equipment and medical staff experienced in certain pregnancy complications, pre-term labour and premature delivery.

“I know it sounds a little scary, but it’s our role to ensure pregnant women have the best possible pregnancy and birth outcomes, and Australia provides an exceptional standard of healthcare, especially for pregnant women and their babies.”

According to Cover-More data, the three most popular destinations for pregnant women in the past five years are Bali, Fiji and Thailand. While some hospitals in these locations provide the same excellent standard of care delivered in Australia, many hospitals in these destinations unfortunately may not provide the specialised skills and equipment to effectively assist a pregnant woman and her baby.

Cover-More’s top tips for travel during pregnancy:

  • Travel domestically during pregnancy
  • If you must travel overseas, travel before 20 weeks gestation or travel very carefully between 20 and 24 weeks gestation
  • If you are travelling overseas, visit countries with the same standard of healthcare as Australia
  • Visit destinations where you have close access to medical care
  • Always travel with travel insurance, noting that travel insurance will cover a pregnant woman up to 26 weeks gestation (individual policies vary, check your PDS)
  • Buy your travel insurance when you book your trip – it covers you for trip cancellation due to a pregnancy complication
  • If you are close to home and you experience a pregnancy complication you have ready access to your valuable support network of friends and family

Professor Steve Rashford is an emergency medicine and medical assistance expert. He is Cover-More’s Chief Medical Officer and a Senior Medical Advisor with the Queensland Ambulance Service.

Dr Gino Pecoraro is one of Australia’s leading obstetricians, based in Brisbane, Queensland. Dr Pecoraro is passionate about women travelling safely during their pregnancy.