Top tips on flying when you’re pregnant
Airports across the country will be experiencing their busiest period this weekend. If you’ll be joining the mass exodus, whether on a holiday booked before you knew you were pregnant, or on a babymoon planned before you give birth, we’ve got the answers to all the most commonly asked questions about flying during pregnancy.
Is it safe to fly during my 1st and 2nd trimesters?
Yes, even though everyone who flies is exposed to a slight increase in radiation, there is no evidence that flying can harm your baby or cause miscarriage, early labour or cause your waters to break.
You’ll probably find your second trimester (14 weeks to 27 weeks) is the best time to fly. Your morning sickness should have gone and your energy levels will be higher. Plus your hormones will be giving you a boost, so you'll be looking and feeling great.
It's always best to check with your doctor before flying if you've had any of the following medical problems during your pregnancy:
- High blood pressure
- Excessive morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum)
- Previous miscarriage
- Previous early birth
Is it safe to fly during my 3rd trimester?
If you've had a healthy pregnancy, you can fly on most airlines until you're 37 weeks pregnant. If you're carrying twins, this will usually be up to 32 weeks. Remember that this applies to how many weeks pregnant you are on the day you fly back home.
After you reach 28 weeks, most airlines require a letter from your GP or midwife giving your due date and confirming that you’re in good health and have a normal pregnancy. You may find that your GP charges for this. If you have to fly with less than 4 weeks to go until your due date, or you’re expecting complications during delivery, airlines may require further information, so always check with them first.
Am I at risk of blood clots when flying?
Flying for longer than 4 hours increases your risk of getting blood clots (thrombosis). The NHS website reports that it’s not known if this risk gets higher when you are pregnant. We recommend you wear correctly-fitted compression stockings, bought from any pharmacy – these will reduce the risk of blood clots and fluid retention in your legs (oedema). You can also help reduce your risk of blood clots by exercising calf muscles during your flight, walking around the plane when possible, drinking plenty of fluids and wearing loose, comfortable clothing.
Does pregnancy affect my travel insurance?
As with any holiday, your insurance must cover you for the whole trip. Most standard travel insurance policies only cover up to the 28th week of pregnancy, so make sure you check with your provider.
Can I take vaccinations if I’m pregnant?
If you’re planning to travel to a destination that requires vaccinations, you’ll need to book an appointment with your midwife or GP to discuss your options. The NHS website has some useful info on the latest recommendations.
Will airport scanners harm my baby?
Airport scanners use a low-frequency electromagnetic field and are considered safe for everybody, including pregnant women.
Is there anything else I can do to prepare?
Before you go, make sure you find out the details of the doctor or hospital closest to where you’re staying, confirm your due date and take a copy of your maternity notes or a general medical history with you. This should include your blood type, your doctor’s details back home and any medications you’re taking or are allergic to. Don’t forget to check that you can take your medication with you! We also recommend a quick visit to your local pharmacist for self help techniques for travel sickness. Once all that’s done, get a good night’s sleep before you go, it really will make a difference during your flight.
Well, that’s our top tips done. Happy flying everyone!
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