Pregnancy Health

Pregnancy And Air Travel

by Staff

Years ago a pregnant woman was bound to her house, unseen by the public eye from conception until post-partum. That’s why they called it ‘the time of confinement’. Those days, thankfully, are long gone and today’s woman is out and about almost to the moment of delivery. Many women decide to work as long as they can through their pregnancy, and often business demands can require air travel. Add to that the reality that families are living farther and farther apart and you have yet another reason for the possible need to board an airplane.

If No Pregnancy Complications Flying Is Fine

Generally speaking, it is not a problem for pregnant women to take to the skies unless their pregnancy is complicated by medical problems such as spotting, diabetes, high blood pressure or a previous early delivery. It is always important to check with your physician before traveling, especially if you are planning a trip abroad. If you are in your first or second trimester and your pregnancy is going well, and you’ve received clearance from your doctor, there’s no reason to stay earth-bound.

Talk With Your Doctor And With The Airline Company

When making your plans for travel you will have to contact the carrier to find out their policy regarding pregnancy and travel. The rules have a tendency to change with regularity and each airline has a slightly different set of regulations. It appears that the final say happens at the gate. One thing that is consistent with most airlines is their concern with any possible obstetrical emergencies while in flight. Consequently, almost all airlines forbid domestic travel beyond 36 weeks of pregnancy and international travel beyond 32 weeks.

Most airlines do have a contact person, whether a medical officer or a clerk with whom you can speak to find out the rules. Either you or your doctor can call that particular person or office and it is good practice to write down the person’s name and what they said. You will likely need a letter from your doctor or some type of proof of your eligibility to travel.

Air Travel In The First Two Trimesters

In early pregnancy, air travel may exacerbate morning sickness, so you’ll need to keep an air sickness bag handy. During the first three months a woman may just not feel well enough to fly. Morning sickness and airline food can prove to be an unpleasant mix. Thankfully, smoking is no longer allowed on most airlines, but strong perfume can be enough to make a mother-to-be feel nauseated. Also, women in their first trimester are at peak risk for miscarriage. According to studies done on airline stewardesses, flying does not increase the risk of miscarriage. However, most moms in their early months of pregnancy choose to remain close to their ob/gyn.

The safest and most comfortable time for a pregnant woman to travel is during the second trimester, weeks 18 through 24. The danger of premature labor or miscarriage is greatly reduced and morning sickness, as a rule, is a thing of the past. As long as there are no complications, this is the optimal time to take that trip.

Enjoy your flight!


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