Navigating air travel during pregnancy can be a daunting prospect for many expectant mothers. Understanding the risks and precautions associated with flying while pregnant is crucial to ensuring a safe and comfortable journey. This comprehensive guide aims to address your concerns and provide essential tips for a smooth flight.
When is it safe air travel during pregnancy?
The safest time to fly is before the 37th week of a single pregnancy and before the 32nd week for a multiple pregnancy. However, airline policies may vary, so always check their specific rules and requirements. Some airlines, like British Airways and Sri Lankan Airlines, require a medical certificate confirming your due date and fitness to fly after the 28th week of pregnancy.
Potential risks and concerns
Research shows that there is no significant increase in the risk of miscarriage, early labour, or congenital anomalies due to air travel. However, long-haul flights may slightly increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), although the overall risk remains low. Pregnant travellers can reduce this risk by wearing compression stockings, moving around the cabin, and staying hydrated. Cabin pressure changes may cause discomfort but are not harmful to the foetus.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy or pre-existing medical conditions, consult your healthcare professional before flying to ensure it is safe to do so.
Precautions and recommendations for a comfortable journey
To ensure a comfortable flight, follow these tips:
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and avoid tight waistbands.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly and avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
- Stretch and move around the cabin at regular intervals to minimise discomfort and reduce the risk of DVT.
- Consider reserving an aisle seat for easy access and movement.
- Pack essential items, such as a copy of your maternity notes and any necessary medication, in your carry-on luggage.
Preparing for travel: vaccinations, insurance, and documentation
Before travelling, consult your doctor about necessary vaccinations and medications for your destination. Ensure your travel insurance policy covers pregnancy-related issues, and carry a copy of your maternity records and medical documents in case of an emergency.
Cultural considerations and destination-specific advice
Be aware of local customs, laws, and regulations regarding pregnancy, childbirth, and infant care in your destination.
Sugabi Clinic support and services
Sugabi Clinic is dedicated to providing specialised women’s healthcare services and individualised care for expectant mothers. If you are a patient at Sugabi Clinic, our team is available to offer travel-related advice and support throughout your pregnancy. From pre-travel consultations to post-travel care, we are committed to ensuring your well-being during this exciting period in your life.
Air travel during pregnancy need not be a stressful experience. By staying informed, consulting with your healthcare provider, and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for both you and your baby. Happy travels!
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Air travel and pregnancy. Scientific Impact Paper No. 1. 2015. Available from: https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/scientific-impact-papers/sip_1.pdf
- National Health Service. Flying while pregnant. 2021. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/flying-while-pregnant/
- British Airways. Pregnancy travel advice. n.d. Available from: https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/travel-assistance/pregnancy-travel-advice
- GOV.UK. Foreign travel advice. n.d. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- Sri Lankan Airlines. Expectant mothers. n.d. Available from: https://www.srilankan.com/en_uk/lk/flying-with-us/medical-information