Traveling While Pregnant: What you Need to Know
April is Maternal Health month, in honor of this, globally, April 11 to 17th have been selected as maternal health week. Let us talk about traveling to United States while pregnant. While we recommend, traveling to Finland, Sweden, or Norway for first time traveling moms to be, there is a spike in interest in those willing to travel to America instead, so we want to address it.
State of Maternal Health in United States
United States does an amazing work, advertising the country to outsiders, but let us be honest maternal health outcomes are bad compared to most developing countries. Maternal health outcomes are even worse for Black women. Black women are most disproportionately affected with a mortality rate of 37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 14.7 deaths per 100,000 live births and 11.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for White and Hispanic women. The racial and ethnic disparities that exist in pregnancy-related deaths continues to increase in the mist of COVID, although, the CDC states that 60% of all maternal deaths are preventable.
Airlines, Visas, and Who Pays for Your Care?
Many airlines have special restrictions and rules for women who are in the latter stages of their pregnancy. Some of these are state imposed, while others, medical. In many cases, it is seen that pregnancy is treated just like any other medical condition as per the United States Immigration law. You can enter the US to have medical treatment, but that comes under the domain of a B-2 visa. However, you are required to pay for all your medical expenses by yourself or with support from a private health insurance organization, it is on you to ensure you are covered financially.
It Gets Complicated
According to the latest amendments, you cannot travel to the US on a B-2 visa if your due date is nearing. This practice of trying to avail yourself of the American nationality while you are pregnant is known as "Birth tourism". We will have a blog on birth tourism sometime this month.
When to travel and how to Pay
Travel in the second trimester. This is when most women are experiencing less severity with morning sickness. Even for tourism or visit, passport is usually stamped with 6months stay. Coming at 5-6months into pregnancy will ensure you deliver and recover before returning.
If you are traveling to New York City, go to nearest public hospital and apply for NYC Care insurance. This was created with immigrants in mind. Undocumented immigrants apply for NYC care as well not just pregnant women. Let me clarify this. All New Yorkers without health insurance can apply!
Please know that you can only use NYC Care at only public hospitals in New York City (Health and Hospitals Centers)
Call 646-NYC-CARE or visit nyccare.nyc to enroll today.
Get yourself IDNYC online at NYC.gov/IDNYC so you will not be using your passport as ID. Visit www.nyc.gov/immigrants for more information. If you have additional questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect you with a community liaison to help through the step-by-step process