While you’re flying when pregnant, there are some important things to consider. Expectant mothers now have to take their unborn baby into account for everything, and flying is no exception. Whether it is for work or leisure, flying can sometimes be hard to avoid for pregnant women. Here are some important things you should know before booking your next flight while pregnant.
When Is It Safe?
It is widely accepted that most women with uncomplicated pregnancies can fly up until their third trimester, or 36 weeks. However, each airline has a different set of policies or regulations as to when they will no longer allow expectant mothers on board. When it comes to the baby’s health, there is no harm that will come from the cabin pressure experienced during flight. However, sometimes pressure can cause premature labor, which is why woman who are past 36 weeks shouldn’t fly. Passing through X-ray scanners will not pose as a problem either, as long as it is not done in excess. If you are an airline employee or frequent flyer, you will need to be sure you are not reaching exposure limits, due to the radiation coming from the scanners.
More Complications for Women with High Risk Pregnancies
According to Dr. Gilbert Webb, a high risk obstetrician at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, if you are experiencing a high risk pregnancy, you may want to avoid flying entirely as it increases the risk for potential complications such as premature labor or fetal damage. Some pregnancies that would be considered high risk and may limit you from flying would include having diabetes, placenta abnormalities, high blood pressure, having multiples or a history of forming blood clots. If you have any of these complications, your doctor may prohibit you from flying.
If you are planning on flying soon, there are some great ways to make sure you have a better experience. First, a note from your doctor that shows your expected due date and clearance to fly will make it easier to pass through the airline check in. Avoid foods that give you gas, as it can expand while flying, making you uncomfortable. Lastly, make sure to choose a seat in the middle of the aisle and near the wing, which provides a smoother ride, so you can walk around easily and have quick access to the bathroom when needed.
Traveling during a normal pregnancy is possible and can still be a pleasurable experience. Planning your trip well and knowing what to expect will help make your next flight an enjoyable one. It’s also important to let your doctor know of any travel plans before you purchase your ticket.