Does Travel Insurance cover Pregnancy?

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One of the most searched travel insurance plans in Dubai is “Travel insurance pregnancy”. Most UAE nationals search for insurance plans that cover pregnancy while they travel. The bad news is that pregnancy is not covered under the travel insurance, the good news is that there are alternatives. While there are airlines like Etihad Airlines, Fly Dubai, and Emirates Airlines, that allow women to travel for up to 29th week of pregnancy, there are no travel insurance options. In such a situation, most people go for better alternatives like worldwide health insurance. This article is aimed at demystifying travel insurance related myths and what alternatives can pregnant women avail if they travel abroad. You can also get ideas about what would be the best time to travel during pregnancy and how to travel to and from the UAE.

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Does Travel Insurance Cover Pregnancy?

No, travel insurance companies in the UAE usually do not offer any travel insurance plans curated for pregnant travellers. So in case you face an unexpected pregnancy, you cannot avail of a cover for trip cancellation. Further, you cannot receive any benefits in terms of repatriation and other medical expenses. However, you can purchase a worldwide valid health insurance plan that offers coverage for all the maternity-related expenses in the UAE. DHA has made it mandatory for every health insurance plan to offer maternity benefits. Thus, you can travel to and from UAE if you are pregnant for up to 26 weeks. However, you will require a no-objection certificate from your doctor or midwife, for travelling after the set threshold. Health insurance secures would-be mothers expecting normal childbirth but end up facing unforeseen complications or preterm labour while travelling abroad. 

Alternatives to Travel Insurance during Pregnancy

While there is no travel insurance that covers pregnancy when you are abroad, there are several other insurance plans that you can avail of to cover pregnancy while on a trip. One such plan is International Health Insurance Plan. 

International Health Insurance Plan offers direct access to world-class OB-GYNs and doctors locally, internationally and regionally. This plan offer provides coverage for pregnancy and childbirth for up to 10 months abroad. This plan also covers pregnancy-related complications. 
In the UAE, there are affordable health insurance firms that provide worldwide maternity medical treatment at a variety of hospitals and clinics throughout the world. Allianz, AXA, and Arabia Insurance, for example, provide outstanding maternity coverage.

Inbound and Outbound Rules for Pregnancy

When planning to travel to Dubai from India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka or planning to travel from Dubai to Europe or the US, keep the following in mind:

INBOUND TRAVEL

  • Purchase an international insurance Plan: When travelling to Dubai, make sure you are covered under a travel insurance plan and a health insurance plan for pregnancy if you have a normal pregnancy. A comprehensive plan can help you incur medical expenses in case of unforeseen complications or pre-term childbirth. 
  • Take Vaccinations: Connect with your OB-GYN at least four to six weeks before your trip and check if you need to take any vaccine that is specific to the UAE.
  • No Objection Certificate: No country allows a pregnant person to travel post 29 weeks. However, if it is necessary for you to travel, you should carry a no objection letter from your doctor. It should tell your due date, verify that you have no complications and that you are in good health.

OUTBOUND TRAVEL

Check with your airline: Not all airlines allow pregnant women to travel abroad. Airlines that allow women to travel for the first 28 weeks include Etihad Airways and Fly Dubai. While those that allow the pregnant passengers till 36 weeks and 35 weeks are Emirates Airlines and Air Arabia respectively.

Get a Worldwide Insurance: Avail of international health insurance with considerable cover. Most insurers offer cover for up to 27 or 28 weeks. It is recommended that you connect with your provider to understand all the terms and conditions. 

Carry your Medical Records: When travelling out of UAE, make sure you carry all your medical reports and a copy of the insurance policy. Also, research the local OB-GYNs, medical facilities and the embassy for any emergency.

Carry NOC: If you are travelling post your 29thweek of pregnancy, obtain a medical certificate from your doctor that includes:    

  • ​​​​​​Confirmation that you are pregnant                 
  • There are no complications involved.            
  • The due date                
  • Assurance of your good health            
  • A statement that there is no known reason to not fly abroad.

Airlines’ Travelling Guidelines for Pregnant Women in the UAE

Since no travel insurance covers pregnancy in the UAE, travelling cautiously during the gestation period becomes even more important. The major airlines in the UAE have laid down the guidelines for expecting mothers. The same are discussed below:

Travelling by Etihad Airways

You do not need to present any medical certificate for the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy if you travel by Etihad. But, if you are undergoing a complicated pregnancy because of a pre-existing medical condition, you need to fill out a medical information form and connect with your doctor for guidance about travelling. In case you have a single pregnancy:

  1. If travelling somewhere between 29 and 36 weeks, you need to show the medical certificate to travel abroad at the time of check-in.
  2. To-be mothers who are in their 37th week and beyond cannot travel abroad at all.

In case you are conceiving more than one child:

  1. You need to present a medical certificate between 29 to 32 during the check-in process. 
  2. You will not be allowed to travel beyond the 33rd week of the pregnancy.

Travelling by Emirates Airlines

Till the time you are not facing any pregnancy complications, you can travel with this airline for up to 29 weeks of your pregnancy. But, if you plan to travel beyond the 29th week, you need to present a letter from your doctor or midwife that:

  1. States whether your pregnancy is multiple or single.
  2. States that you have not faced any difficulties in the pregnancy so far.
  3. Tells your due date
  4. Verifies that you are fit to travel, and
  5. Declares that there is no known reason for which you cannot travel.

But, expecting mothers cannot travel after the 32nd week of multiple pregnancies and the 36th week of a single pregnancy. 

Travelling via Air Arabia

Air Arabia allows pregnant passengers to travel up to 35 weeks. However, they need to submit a medical certificate as an assurance. It needs to mention the number of weeks you’re into the pregnancy and the verification that the woman is fit enough to fly. The certificate is valid for only seven days’ post-issuance. 

Travelling via Fly Dubai

The airline permits pregnant passengers to travel up to the end of the 28th week. You cannot travel beyond the 28 weeks until you present a medical certificate to the airport authorities. You are not permitted to travel by airline after 36 weeks. 

In the case of a single pregnancy, the travelling conditions include

  1. You need to present a medical letter from the 29th week till the 36th week.
  2. You cannot travel post 37 weeks of pregnancy. 

If you are undergoing multiple pregnancies know the following requirements:

  1. Present a medical certificate when travelling between 29 and 32 weeks.
  2. You cannot travel once the 33rd week begins and beyond. 

What is the Best time to Travel During Pregnancy?

Medical opinion indicates the optimal time to fly is during the second term of the pregnancy which is between 14 and 28 weeks.  During this trimester, the sickness and drowsiness of the first few weeks are expected to have subsided. Your system is more used to maternity, but you are not yet at the point when your movement is severely limited. In any case, you would not want to chop it too fine. Premature birth affects one out of every nine newborns, so make sure you arrive home in plenty of time. 

Although your pregnancy has gone smoothly and you are feeling pretty at ease, you should do some research on potential locations. You should be aware that healthcare centres are conveniently accessible and are of an acceptable standard if you require them.

Safety Tips to Consider when Travelling Abroad During Pregnancy

Since there is no pregnancy travel insurance offered in the UAE, pregnant passengers need to be careful when planning a trip abroad. Consult your doctor before making a reservation and explain the visit in length. Even if your doctor has cleared you to fly from the UAE while pregnant, you should take the following measures before or during your trip for your safety:

  1. Before making any vacation plans, always consult your doctor.
  2. Examine your healthcare coverage. This is important to know if you need medical help or deliver a baby in a foreign country.
  3. For your journey, dress appropriately. Your body cannot regulate its warmth as easily as it usually does when you are pregnant.
  4. If possible, get an aisle seat at the front of the aeroplane to make boarding and departing easier.
  5. Consult your OB-GYN regarding the potential of deep vein thrombosis before flying (DVT).
  6. Non-national women who are pregnant are subjected to restrictions on immigration in numerous countries. If you do have any questions, visit the nearest embassy or embassy.
  7. Exercise extreme caution when lifting big briefcases or bags while travelling.
  8. Before your flight, select a seat beside the restroom.

To Summarise

The UAE does not offer any travel insurance cover for pregnancy in particular. However, you can purchase international health insurance that covers maternity benefits. This plan offers coverage for preterm childbirth and natal care in any corner of the world. When travelling abroad you need to be extra careful about the weeks in which you travel. It is usually suggested that you travel within the first 26 weeks of the pregnancy. You would need to present a medical certificate to travel post 26 weeks. Look into the airlines’ guidelines while planning your trip and consult the doctor for suggestions.

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