Typically, flying while pregnant is not a problem, unless your pregnancy is complicated in some way.
However, we always say that its better to be safe than sorry, so it is a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional.
If you are experiencing any problems in your pregnancy, it would be a good idea to consult with your doctor before making any travel plans.
If you get the green light from your doctor to go abroad, be sure to take the time to consider when to travel, and where to travel.
Most women won't want to go too far in the first trimester, if anywhere at all, so for most pregnant women, the second trimester is the clear winner for long haul flights.
Before you travel
If you're planning on travelling by plane, you should discuss this with your midwife or GP.
Before you book your tickets, check with your airline and insurance company that they will allow you to travel while pregnant. After week 28 of the pregnancy, most airlines require a letter from your midwife or GP confirming:
- that you're in good health
- that you have a normal pregnancy
- the expected date of delivery
Be aware that your GP may charge you for the letter. Your GP surgery can give you more information about what their charges are.
Some airlines may require medical clearance if:
- your delivery date is less than four weeks after your departure date, or
- any complications are expected in your delivery
This may involve your GP or midwife filling in a form or an assessment by the airline staff. Check with your airline, as the restrictions can vary.
During your flight
Below are some tips to help you have a healthy and comfortable flight:
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Do calf exercises – most airlines provide information on these.
- Don't sit still for a long time – walk around the aircraft when possible.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Adjust your seatbelt so the strap lies below your bump.
What are the risks of flying when pregnant?
Before booking your trip, it is important to contact your desired airline to ask them about their policies when it comes to pregnant travellers.
Some airlines will not let women in the late stages of pregnancy fly, because of the risks involved, while others will require a medical certificate or a letter from your doctor.
There are a number of risks that come with flying during pregnancy, and while they are fairly uncommon, it is important to know what they are.
If you fly in the first trimester, there's a higher risk of miscarriage generally, and morning sickness can be exacerbated by air travel.
If you fly later into your pregnancy (the third trimester) then there is a risk of premature labour.
How do I deal with my circulation?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when flying while pregnant is that pregnant women often have poor circulation, which can lead to blood clots.
Be sure to arm yourself with compression stockings, which will help to promote blood flow and circulation.
Also be sure to walk around every 30 minutes or so, in order to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing.
How can I make the flight comfortable?
Long haul flights are uncomfortable for most people, especially when you're pregnant. Take note of these handy ways to make flying a lot more comfortable:
Check in online as soon as possible. You’ll be more likely to get the seat you want if your airline provides a choice of seating.
Try to walk around regularly. Walking up and down the aisle and doing some simple stretches will help to avoid the risk of thrombosis.
Cabin pressure is likely to cause your feet swell during the flight, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.
Take an aisle seat if possible. This will give you extra leg room and make it easy to take short strolls and bathroom breaks.
Adjust your seat belt under your bump and across your pelvis. If it's too small, tell the cabin crew because seat belt extenders are usually kept on board.