Moving abroad while pregnant

Moving to a different country is a big undertaking, particularly when pregnant. If you are currently expecting children or intending to have children while abroad, there are various things to take into account as you make plans.

Before you move, speak to your current doctor or obstetrician.

Preliminary research

Once you have made the decision to move, you may want to do some preliminary research and planning. Look up medical specialists in your new location, and find out how far in advance you have to book appointments, whether you can choose who you see, how you request an appointment, and what specific services you will be able to access.

Consider how and where your baby will be born, according to your preferences, the options available, and the customs of the country. If you are currently expecting, review your pregnancy calendar: your due date, your current week, the medical appointments you’ll need at certain points during the pregnancy, and at what stage of the pregnancy you will be when you move.

Bear in mind that schedules of appointments and check-ups vary across the world, so you may encounter a different experience in your destination, both before and after the birth. This is something worth looking into before you move, so you know what to expect; particularly if you have previously had children and are anticipating the same.

Medical appointments

Before you move, speak to your current doctor or obstetrician. Share your plans with them, explain your situation, and ask for advice. Schedule an appointment with a doctor or specialist for when you arrive.

If you are moving somewhere that requires you to have a vaccination, check whether they carry risks. Some anti-malaria tablets, for example, aren’t safe to take while pregnant, and some vaccines that use live bacteria or viruses aren’t recommended.[1]

The World Health Organization website has a pre-natal care section with relevant information which you may find helpful, and the Travel Health Pro website can be a useful source of health and safety information about the country you are moving to.

Documentation preparation

You may want to ensure your medical records and documents related to your pregnancy will be available to the doctors and medical practitioners in your new location. If you are moving to a country where the main language is different to yours, you may need to have some of these translated.

You may also consider translating a list of emergency contacts. If you have had vaccinations, make sure your International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) is up to date.

Advance planning

Think about the logistical elements of your child being born in a different country: how their birth will be registered, whether they will have dual nationality, and if you will need to file specific paperwork. Some countries request, for example, that the child is registered in their place of birth, and then subsequently registered with the local authorities; this is something you may need to plan for.

It is important that as an expecting parent, you have a support network in your destination country. Research pre-natal classes, support groups, and parent and child groups, and get in touch to find out about waiting lists and joining requirements.

Smooth move

It is important that you check the rules and regulations with the company you are travelling with. Some airlines and ferry companies don’t allow women to fly past a certain week of their pregnancy. If you are travelling after your 28th week, some companies may also request a letter from your doctor or midwife that gives your due date and confirms that you are free of risk of complications.1

There are various things to consider when relocating while pregnant. Planning ahead, preparing for your upcoming lifestyle change, and expecting the unexpected can help make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Make sure you act on any research that you have carried out, arranging appointments, requesting medication, and contacting medical professionals as necessary.

Continue reading

Click here to read our article on finding the best pregnancy care abroad.

Sources:

[1] Travelling in pregnancy. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/travel-pregnant/. Accessed April 22, 2020.

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This document serves only as a reference and is intended for informational purposes only. The content of this document is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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