With the story of a British couple stranded in New York after the premature birth of their son, Dax, hitting headlines last week, it’s important to remember just how vital travel insurance is for pregnant women and their families.

Had the couple not taken out adequate insurance, they’d be facing hospital bills of around $200,000 (£130,000). Dax’s story ends well, with their insurance policy covering the medical costs and a fundraiser to help raise £11,000 to pay for the couple’s stay in America until they are able to return home in March.

How can you ensure you’ll be safe if you’re pregnant while travelling?

Why travel insurance while pregnant is a necessity

Firstly, speak to your doctor before you go. Make sure that your doctor and midwife are aware of your travel plans and that you are not travelling against medical advice. This will invalidate your travel insurance anyway, and could be extremely harmful for you and your unborn child.

You are also not covered if you fail to comply with a transport provider’s regulations for pregnant women. This means that if you were refused permission to board a plane, coach or train because you do not comply with the carrier’s rules on carrying pregnant women, this insurance will not pay for missed departure, cancellation or curtailment. So check whether you need to make other arrangements, or choose a different destination.

If you get the green light to go, take out adequate insurance and make sure your provider knows you’re pregnant. You’ll also need to check the terms of travel to see how far into your term you’ll be covered. For example, AllClear’s travel insurance policy requires you to be under 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant (32 weeks and 6 days for a multiple pregnancy) on the return date of your holiday.

If you are travelling within Europe, be sure to fill in your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) which will entitle you to free or low cost treatment in state-run hospitals. This doesn’t replace travel insurance, though, so you’ll need both.

With the practical steps covered, it’s then up to you to enjoy your holiday. Keep stress levels low, and avoid activities which could be too strenuous. Eat little and often to avoid fainting, and take some quiet time before the stresses of motherhood begin.