Everything You Need to Know About Flying When Pregnant
Whether it’s a well-deserved trip before baby comes along, a planned visit to family or a last minute emergency the question for all pregnant mothers is the same: Is it safe to fly? Well, the short answer is absolutely!
So, that’s the big question out of the way let’s look at everything you need to know about flying during pregnancy.
The best time to fly
You can travel throughout most of your pregnancy but many believe the best time to fly is during the second trimester (14 weeks to 27 weeks.) Most mothers find that any morning sickness they experienced is behind them and are benefiting from a second trimester energy boost. Moving around will be a lot easier so all in all it’s the perfect time to not only fly but also enjoy yourself on holiday.
Do I need to speak to my doctor?
Not always but you must seek advice if you’ve suffered any medical problems during pregnancy such as spotting, hypertension (elevated blood pressure), excessive morning sickness, diabetes or have miscarried before but in most cases you will still be fine. If your planning on taking a flight that is longer than 4hrs, you may need medication to further reduce your risk of a blood clot. So please tell us about us your travel plans.
How late can I fly?
From 28 weeks you’ll need a signed letter with your due date that states you are safe to fly and the risk of going into labour on the flight is low. Not all airlines will ask you to show this letter but you’ll need to have it just in case.
You can travel internationally up to 36 weeks if you are carrying one child and 32 weeks if you are expecting twins although this is in relation to your return flight so ensure the dates line up. These restrictions relate to the risk of going into labour and not having access to trained medical assistance.
Will my baby be safe?
There is no evidence that flying is harmful however it is recommended that you only fly in pressurised cabins. In aircraft without cabin pressure your body would have to work significantly harder to provide you and baby with the oxygen you need at high altitude.
Good circulation is important so move around as often as you possibly can to avoid cramp, swelling and thrombosis.
Here are a few simple exercises:
• Walk up and down the aisle for a few minutes every hour
• Stretch your calves when sitting by flexing your feet 8-10x per hour
• Rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes to keep the blood flowing nicely 8-10x per hour
• Roll and stretch your neck, shoulders and arms 8-10x per hour
Other tips are to book an aisle seat, wear comfortable shoes (take them off if you can) and flight socks and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Wear loose fitted clothes and request help in putting on your seat belt – the flight attendant will be able to show you the most comfortable and safest method.
Make yourself aware of the signs of clotting so you can seek immediate help. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness or redness in your legs. In most cases it would be just one leg and likely at the back of your lower leg.
And the most priceless piece of advice is to go to the toilet as soon as you are on the plane. Your baby doesn’t care if the plane is left waiting to taxi and you can’t leave your seat, if she wants to play with your bladder then that’s exactly what she’ll do!
Enjoy the flight
It doesn’t always work but you could use your charm and winning smile to ask for an upgrade for a little extra leg room. It’s not guaranteed but many flight attendants will be more than willing to help out if there’s a free seat in business class.
The important thing is to make the experience as stress-free as possible so plan ahead where possible. Book your seat in advance and/or check in online as early as possible. Even if you check in early make sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time.
If this is your first baby this is your last chance to travel light. The next time you go on holiday you’ll feel like you’re travelling with everything but the kitchen sink and that’ll only be because it wouldn’t fit in with the stroller, nappies, toys, entire baby wardrobe, car seat and a month’s worth of groceries.
Most of all indulge in a little bit of luxury and just enjoy some R&R.
Still have questions about flying when pregnant?
Hopefully this information has given you everything you need to fly when pregnant without worry but if you have any questions please get in touch. We’re happy to help. Just pick up the phone and call us on (02) 4959 3883 to schedule your appointment.