5 questions answered about flying when pregnant

Believe it or not, travelling when you are pregnant is probably the easiest holiday you’ll ever have with your new baby! Once he or she is born, the amount of baby paraphernalia that will be essential for a simple holiday will be astounding. For now, your baby is safely tucked away in your abdomen, and requires little attention other than a gentle pat and some soothing words.

When is the best time to travel?

You may find that the best time is during your second trimester, between 14 and 27 weeks. If you have had an uncomplicated pregnancy and expecting just one baby, it is generally safe to fly up until about 36 weeks. However, some airlines request written permission from your doctor anytime from 28 weeks, so it’s important to check your airline’s policy before booking. Staff can refuse you permission to fly at the gate, so if in doubt, it’s a good idea to have a letter from your midwife or doctor with you once you hit the third trimester.

Is flying safe?

People who fly hundreds of times a year, such as flight attendants and business travellers, may be at a slightly higher risk of miscarriage or fetal abnormalities due to exposure to natural atmospheric radiation. However, if you only fly a few times a year, the risk is negligible. It’s also important to consult your doctor before travelling if you have had any complications during your pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or bleeding, or have a history of premature labour.

What about deep vein thrombosis?

Flying during pregnancy can slightly increase your risk of blood clots (thrombosis) and varicose veins. Wearing support stockings when you fly can minimise your risk. Also, moving around the plane regularly and doing simple exercises like flexing your ankles can help keep your circulation flowing.

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What about travel vaccinations?

The general rule is, don’t travel anywhere that requires vaccinations while you are pregnant. If you know you need to travel but are trying for a baby, get vaccinated at least four weeks before getting pregnant. Finally, if you really have to go somewhere that requires vaccinations, talk to you doctor who can advise you on what vaccinations are safe and what aren’t.

How can I stay comfortable?

Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. If you can, request a seat in the middle of the plane over the wing, which tends to be the most stable part of the plane. An aisle seat will let you go to the toilet or stretch your legs easily. Sitting anywhere for a long period of time can make your feet and ankles swell, so be sure to get up and walk around as often as you can. In addition, take off your shoes and rest your feet on your carry-on luggage in front of you. Bring a pair of comfy socks to change into for long flights. Drink plenty of fluids during the flight, especially water, to counteract the dehydrating effects of flying. Avoid fizzy drinks or a heavy meal before flying, especially if you are suffering from heartburn.

maternity & infant