Flying While Pregnant – Your Questions Answered
Life doesn’t stop just because you’re pregnant. You may still need to take that important business trip. Or you may want to take one last child-free vacation with your husband. You may need to travel to attend a wedding or funeral. The reasons for needing to travel are endless. But what do you need to know about flying while pregnant? And what are the risks and rules? There are a number of restrictions that airlines place on flying while pregnant. In this post, we explore the answers to five common questions about traveling during pregnancy.
1. Is flying safe while pregnant?
In general terms, yes. As long as you are in good health and there are no complications or concerns with your pregnancy, it is safe to fly right into your third trimester. However, if you are suffering from high blood pressure, placenta previa, gestational diabetes, pregnancy edema, or other worrisome conditions, your obstetrician may advise against flying until the symptoms settle.
2. Why are there flying while pregnant airline rules?
Most airlines have rules and restrictions about pregnant women flying. Some will stop you from flying at 36 weeks and others have restrictions as early as 28 weeks pregnant. The main reason for these rules is to keep you, and other passengers, safe. The biggest risk is that you’ll go into labor midflight. This could be a dangerous situation for you, your baby, and the staff and passengers on the plane.
3. When should pregnant women stop flying?
Basically, is there’s any chance of going into labor in the next 72 hours, you should avoid flying. And there’s also the return trip to consider. This is why most airlines set flying restrictions at 36 weeks pregnant.
If you’re planning on flying during the third trimester, you should get clearance from your obstetrician or midwife and ask them to provide a letter which you can show to airline staff. Be aware that most airlines do not actually ask you if you’re pregnant at the time of booking, but that won’t prevent you from being questioned as you go through the security gates or board the plane.
4. What are the risks of flying while pregnant?
Aside from going into labor, there are a couple of risks for pregnant women flying. The main ones are developing varicose veins or thrombosis (blood clots) from sitting for long periods in the pressurized cabin. Try and book a seat which offers a little extra legroom – Delta, United, and American Airlines are the three most spacious US airlines. You should also make sure that you get up and walk around to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing every thirty minutes or so. A quality pair of compression socks can also help to fight off blood clots and varicose veins.
General discomfort from pregnancy symptoms can also make flying while pregnant into a bit of an ordeal. If you are suffering from back pain, abdominal cramps, morning sickness, or a weakened bladder you may find that sitting for long periods in the cramped space of an airplane too uncomfortable. Listen to your body, talk to your midwife, and make decisions that are right for you.
5. What about flying internationally while pregnant?
Flying internationally is the same as flying domestically – except that you may need to consider the length of the flight and also check the entry requirements in the country that you are traveling to.
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