Air travel during pregnancy

Today, when flying is one of the main ways to travel from one country to another, many pregnant women ask themselves: Is air travel suitable for me, and are there any common pregnancy emergencies ?

According to most reports, air travel during pregnancy does not increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, leaking amniotic fluid, or other health problems. But, there is one necessary condition: the mother must stay healthy and have a normal pregnancy.

It is also essential to consult your obstetrician before the flight, who will monitor your pregnancy and assess whether there are potential risks to you and your baby in case you are flying.

In some cases, when there is frequent morning sickness, bloating, general fatigue, swelling of the legs, the presence of venous thrombosis, and other diseases, it may be an obstacle to your upcoming flight. Another example is severe anemia, which some pregnant women may suffer from. In this case, flying on a plane is completely contraindicated.

Despite all this, traveling by plane during your pregnancy or mid pregnancy is quite possible. And this article will try to give you more information about what period is the best to travel and whether there are risks for you and your baby. 

Of course, our recommendations are always to consult your health care provider for medical attention because each pregnancy is strictly individual.

Which trimester is safe for air travel?

Each trimester has its specifics regarding the general condition of the mother and the development of the fetus. That is why you should always consult a doctor who will give you the best possible recommendations.

Flight during the first trimester

Some women in the first trimester of pregnancy have to travel by plane because of work commitments. Among them, of course, some mothers want to take a long-awaited vacation.

However, most doctors advise not to fly on a plane during the first three months of pregnancy. During this period, the fetus is very underdeveloped and medical complications are certainly possible. 

The changes in atmospheric pressure felt during the taking off, and landing can affect the baby’s development. In some cases, there is even a risk of miscarriage.

Flight during the second trimester

The second trimester of pregnancy is considered the most appropriate period for air travel. The best period for this is between the 18th and 24th weeks of gestation. Then the baby’s organs are developed enough that changes in atmospheric pressure will not adversely affect the fetus.

In addition, some women have a larger abdomen from the beginning of pregnancy. If this is the case with you, we recommend that you bring a medical document describing the stage of your pregnancy. It will prevent any problems at the airport.

Flight during the third trimester

With the onset of the third trimester, you’re closer to your baby’s due date. It is essential to share that most airlines do not allow pregnant women to fly after the 34th week of gestation. 

That’s why it’s always a good idea to bring a medical certificate that proves which gestational week you are in to avoid the option of not being allowed on board.

In any case, during the third trimester, you should be extremely careful about your health and the baby. The seats in the plane are not comfortable, and prolonged sitting in one place disrupts blood circulation. That, in turn, can cause seizures and, in some cases, lead to premature birth.

Air travel during pregnancy

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Can flying harm my unborn baby?

As we shared above, it is recommended to fly on a plane in the second trimester of pregnancy. There is a risk of harm to the fetus in the first trimester when the unborn baby’s organs are not yet well developed.

If you are completely healthy, your pregnancy is straightforward, and you do not have specific instructions from your doctor, you can fly. There is no conclusive evidence that changes in air pressure and a decrease in humidity can be harmful to your health and the health of your baby.

Are airport scanners safe during pregnancy?

Another essential question is whether the airport scanners are safe and should be passed through them during pregnancy. As for whether you have to go through an airport scanner while you are pregnant, we would say that this is part of the mandatory airport check.

But, if you are worried about yourself and your baby, you can refuse to step through one. In this case, it will be necessary to perform a thorough hand search in a private room. Keep in mind that this check will take much longer.

And in terms of safety, we can say that most obstetricians, radiologists, and other medical professionals say that the airport scanners are safe for pregnant air travelers.

The full-body scanner you have to go through uses a technology called millimetre wave imaging. Its purpose is to pick up dangerous objects that can endanger the travelers health and life. 

In addition, the level of radiation you are exposed to during this process is negligible. It is even less than what you are exposed to when using your phone.

The hand-held scanning wands, which are sometimes used, are also entirely safe for pregnant travelers. In short, we can say that all airport scanners are safe for you and your unborn baby, and there is no reason to worry.

Flight safety during pregnancy

When it comes to flying on a plane during pregnancy, there are many things to consider. The most important thing to do is to visit your obstetrician. He needs to examine you and see how your baby is developing.

If all goes well, you can continue preparing for the upcoming trip. In this regard, one of the things you need to do is check what the airline’s policy is. 

Do they have any specific requirements regarding flying on a plane during pregnancy? Also, find out more about your health insurance, including what it covers, especially outside your country.

In terms of flight, think about the seat you will choose. An aisle seat will make the trip easier, so you can get in and out for walks and trips to the toilet. In addition, be careful with the food you eat before and during the flight. 

It’s good to avoid gassy foods, including beans, cabbage, and broccoli, and carbonated drinks. Drink bottled water to stay hydrated.

Air travel during pregnancy

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Spontaneous abortion when traveling by plane

One of the biggest concerns of any expectant mother is whether traveling by plane can cause miscarriage. In this regard, when a pregnant traveler is completely healthy and has received confirmation from her doctor that she can travel by plane, the risk of miscarriage is minimal.

The greatest risk to the fetus is in the first three months when it is most dangerous for the mother and her baby. After this period, when the mother is in good health, and the fetus normally develops, travel is allowed.

But if you have a difficult pregnancy and have more serious ailments, it is better to avoid air travel. In these cases, the change in atmospheric pressure, prolonged standing, and lack of sufficient humidity in the aircraft can cause spontaneous abortion.

Тravel during pregnancy in the first class

Flying First Class during pregnancy is the best you can choose. Above all, in First Class, you will get the greatest possible comfort. One of the most significant advantages is that the seats can be turned into beds so you can relax in the best possible way.

Also, First Class offers you a wide selection of food and drinks. Some airlines provide pajamas, slippers, and the ability to take a shower. In addition, there is priority screening and priority boarding at the gate that makes the check-in faster.

Of course, the advantages will depend on the chosen airline, as well as the route. In this regard, First Class on international flights provides a sense of luxury, making you feel like traveling alone. And this, for a pregnant woman, would create more peace and comfort during long flights.