Travel to high altitude during pregnancy: frequently asked questions and recommendations for clinicians

High Alt Med Biol. 2012 Jun;13(2):73-81. doi: 10.1089/ham.2012.1021.


The effects of altitude on pregnancy have been extensively studied in high altitude residents, but there is a lack of knowledge concerning the pregnant altitude visitor. Exposure to hypoxia results in physiologic responses which act to preserve maternal and fetal oxygenation. However, these reactions are limited and maternal/fetal complications may be observed, especially in association with exercise. Certain pre-existing conditions or risk factors of hypertension/preeclampsia and/or fetal growth restriction are contra-indications for traveling to high altitude, especially after 20 weeks. The acclimatization process has to be respected to avoid acute mountain sickness without taking drugs, and at least a few days of acclimatization are required before exercising.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Altitude Sickness / drug therapy
  • Altitude Sickness / etiology
  • Altitude Sickness / prevention & control*
  • Altitude*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy / physiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Travel*