In general, most women can travel safely while pregnant, providing they take precautions. However, several diseases may have more severe consequences in pregnancy, with risk to both mother and unborn baby. Traveling while pregnant, especially to tropical areas or places with basic facilities, may therefore pose some risks and you should consult healthcare professionals for pretravel advice.
Most vaccines are safe during pregnancy, but healthcare professionals need to assess the risk of infection versus the risk of vaccination on a case-by-case basis.
Preventing gatrointestinal infections is particularly important during pregnancy. Diarrhoea can trigger contractions, and some microorganisms can harm the foetus, although the likelihood is small. Listeria and toxoplasma represent particular risks for pregnant women and unborn babies. Hepatitis A and E can be transmitted through contaminated water and food. Pregnant women are more susceptible to a severe course of the variant of hepatitis E that is often found in low-income countries in Africa and Asia. There is a vaccine for hepatitis A but not for hepatitis E. Pregnant women should be especially careful with food hygiene abroad.
Avoid raw meat, raw fish, unpasteurised dairy products, and always wash or peel raw vegetables, fruits, and berries.
Mosquito-borne diseases: Several mosquito-borne diseases can pose a risk to both mother and foetus, most important are Zika virus and malaria. Even other mosquito-borne diseases can occasionally cause early labour or low birth weight. Therefore, pregnant women must be meticulous about protecting themselves from mosquitoes, especially in subtropical and tropical areas.
Pregnant women are advised to postpone non-essential travel to malaria-endemic areas or areas with zikavirus outbreaks.
Children can be more vulnerable to infectious diseases. The same precautions apply to children as to adults. Generally, children should have started their routine vaccination programs before traveling abroad. Protect children traveling to tropical and subtropical regions against mosquito bites. Small children have increased risk of severe malaria.