Air Travel During Pregnancy

It is worth being informed about air travel during pregnancy. These days, women are no longer confined during their pregnancy. Instead they generally carry on as normal with their lives, working and going on holidays.

Indeed, for many having their first baby, one last romantic holiday with their partner is a must before the baby arrives, and this will often involve travelling in an aeroplane to get to the destination.

So here is some helpful information for expectant mothers concerned with the prospect of air travel during pregnancy.

Firstly, flying is one of the safest ways to travel as far as statistics go, and this remains true for pregnant women, although there are some precautions that should be taken and some things you should be aware of:

1. It is best to travel during your second trimester - In general the risk of miscarriage is higher during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and also many women can feel exhausted and nauseous during this time and so would choose not to travel. During the third trimester women tend to become less comfortable and can suffer with swollen ankles so this could make flying less appealing. Many airlines will not allow a pregnant woman to fly after 36 weeks because after this time a woman could go into labour at any point.

2. Before proceeding with air travel during pregnancy it is best to consult your doctor or midwife - Sometimes there are health issues during pregnancy which would cause your doctor or midwife to advise against air travel for you, so it is best to check first. Also, some airlines will ask for a letter from your doctor confirming that they think you are in good enough health to travel by air during your pregnancy.

3. Shorter journeys are advisable - During pregnancy the risk of developing a blood clot (or Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT) is a little higher, although still rare. On long haul flights the risk of this increases too because of the length of time sitting down. If a long flight is unavoidable, make sure you walk up and down the aisles regularly (about every 30 minutes), drink plenty of water and make regular trips to the toilet. You can also buy a pair of support stockings from a pharmacy which will help with swelling and do leg exercises whilst sat in your seat, flexing and pointing your toes.

4. Avoid vaccinations if possible - Sometimes vaccinations are necessary for visiting certain countries. If at all possible, try not to visit these countries during your pregnancy as vaccinations are not advised due to a slight risk of them affecting your unborn baby. However, if you cannot avoid visiting a country that requires you to be vaccinated, do not go without getting the vaccination. The risk of catching a nasty disease far outweighs any risk from having a vaccination.

5. Try to avoid excessive flying - Studies carried out on pregnant flight attendants showed that those who flew for 74 hours per month on average had higher rates of miscarriage. Bear in mind though, that this is a lot of flying and the majority of people won’t do anywhere near this much.

Armed with this knowledge, women can be confident that air travel during pregnancy is perfectly safe. As long as you are sensible and take precautions there is no reason why you should write off a foreign holiday just because you are pregnant.

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