Flying During Pregnancy: Comfort and Safety Tips

If you have plans to travel somewhere during your pregnancy, it's normal to feel anxious about what is safe and what is not safe for your pregnant body and your unborn baby. Air travel does have risks, especially to those individuals who have certain health issues.

But taking a flight on an airplane is generally no more dangerous for you than a non-pregnant person, unless you suffer from other health issues such as severe anemia, sickle cell disease, clotting disorders, or problems with the placenta.

However, there are some precautions that you should take and some things for you to consider when booking a flight during your pregnancy.

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When is it Safe to Fly During Pregnancy?

According to ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), the safest time for you to fly is between 18 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. This is simply because of the slightly higher risks of miscarriage before 18 weeks and of preterm labor after 24 weeks. So, you should try as much as possible to book your flight during or close to your second trimester of pregnancy.

Many airlines will not allow you to fly past 36 weeks of pregnancy. This is partly for your safety as well as theirs, as they do not want to risk a pregnant woman going into labor on their flight.

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How to Comfortably Fly During Pregnancy

Safety shouldn't be your only concern when booking a flight. The second trimester is a great time to fly because you'll be much more comfortable during that time as well.

If possible, book a seat that will have more leg room. You can also request to be seated near a bathroom. Try and get a seat next to the aisle so that you can stand up and walk around on occasion to stretch your legs.

More Tips for Flying During Pregnancy

– Use the restroom before boarding the plane to reduce your trips to the bathroom on the flight.

– Airplane bathrooms are tiny, and the bigger you're pregnant belly is, the harder it will be to squeeze into that little room.

– Bring your own snacks and water so you don't have to rely on a busy flight attendant.

– Keep yourself well hydrated.

– Get up or stretch your legs often; Book a seat next to the aisle if at all possible.

– Bring some ginger tablets or Dramamine if you're feeling queasy or you get motion sickness.

Talk to your doctor or midwife about your travel plans. He or she may be able to offer some advice and instruction on when and how you should go about taking a flight during your pregnancy.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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