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Travel medicine update

The pregnant traveller

Jonathan Cohen

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Abstract

It is important to discuss with the pregnant patient the risks and benefits of travel and the recommended strategies to prevent ill health.

Article Extract

Discussing pretravel advice with the pregnant traveller poses somewhat of a dilemma for medical practitioners. On the one hand, the risks of ill health are generally low with travel to common tourist destinations, and in most cases preventable with the appropriate strategies. On the other hand, the pregnant traveller and fetus are more prone to some diseases, and treatment may have dire consequences for both. It is, therefore, important for the physician to discuss with a pregnant patient the risks and benefits of both travel and the recommended strategies to prevent ill health while travelling.

Examples of some topics to discuss include general and obstetric health, fitness to travel, vaccinations, mosquito-borne diseases, malaria prevention, animal bites, food and water safety, high altitude, motion sickness, jet lag thromboembolism, accidents, aircraft issues and access to medical care if needed while away. This article will focus on some of these topics.

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