Although it is generally considered safe to fly during the early stages of pregnancy, most airlines restrict travel from 36 weeks onwards. Read on to find out everything you need to know regarding flying when pregnant.
Pregnancy and Flying Timeline
Initial 3 Months:
Flying during pregnancy is often a personal decision and depends entirely on the individual; some women abstain from flying during the first 3 months of pregnancy due to the nausea and lethargy often experienced during those early stages.
In addition, the risk of miscarriage is also higher during this period and although travelling isn’t considered to be a factor which affects the chance of miscarriage, some women also refrain from travelling for this reason.
28 Weeks and Onwards:
From 28 weeks and onwards, many airlines require a doctor’s note confirming the due date of the birth and that the pregnancy is healthy and normal before granting access to travel.
In the case of single pregnancies women are usually allowed to travel up to 36 weeks into the pregnancy. If you are pregnant with multiple foetuses the same applies however the cut-off date for travel is usually around 32 weeks into the pregnancy.
If you do decide to travel at any stage of your pregnancy then it’s important to check that your travel insurance covers you for every eventuality. In addition, ensure that your final destination has adequate healthcare facilities and pack any relevant medical records which will help in the event that you should need medical assistance.
It’s not advisable to travel anywhere that requires a travel vaccination while pregnant. There are concerns that the injection could harm the baby in the womb and so travel vaccinations should be avoided where possible. The same goes for anti-malaria tablets.
Although flying does not increase the risk of Premature birth, another concern is the risk of delivering early whilst away from home and planned place for birth. A simple swab test anytime from 22-35 weeks called Fetal Fibronectin Test is highly accurate in reassuring mums to be that the baby wont arrive within the next 2 weeks. A huge relief to those who are travelling far.
Risk of DVT and PE
DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis as it is commonly known is when blood clots form within veins of the legs causing cramp, stiffness and swelling. Sometimes these clots can break off and go to the lungs, a PE or Pulmonary Embolism, and this can be fatal. Although DVT is most common when passengers suffer from poor health, the risk of DVT is increased during pregnancy. For this reason it’s advisable to take additional precautions when flying, particularly on long haul flights.
Reduce risks while flying by taking the following steps:
- Walk around the cabin a minimum of once per hour
- Do regular leg exercises while in your seat to keep the circulation going
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout
- Wear flight socks as these have been known to significantly reduce the risk of DVT
For further information on flying when pregnant, visit the relevant section of the website. Alternatively visit the pregnancy section of our website to learn about the services we offer including pregnancy scans and antenatal care.