The health of the mother and her baby is of utmost importance during a pregnancy. Therefore, before doing anything, a pregnant woman wants to be 100% sure about it. The same is the case with air travel.

Hundreds of questions pop up in your mind when you plan an air travel during pregnancy. Travelling thousands of feet high, where you cannot reach your doctor or any hospital in an emergency, can really give you goosebumps. However, we are going to help you relieve your anxiety and fear by giving you some important information and tips on air travel.

Best time to fly:

According to International Air Transport Association recommendations, the safest time to fly during pregnancy is before 37 weeks. If, you are carrying twins, it goes down to 32 weeks.

In general, it is said that the best time to fly is on your second trimester as the morning sickness and other pregnancy complications will have subsided by this time and your energy level becomes higher. Moreover, on your second trimester, the chances of going into labor are quite low. So, if you are planning a babymoon or some other getaway, plan it during your second trimester before you are 37 weeks into your pregnancy.

Things to consider before flying:

If you are flying in commercial planes, it is OK. However, small planes have low oxygen pressure which can harm a pregnant woman no matter at what pregnancy stage she is.

Before planning your trip, you must visit your doctor. Your health care provider can best tell you whether you are fit for air travel or not. He/she may tell you whether you have a high risk pregnancy or you are at risk of preterm labor. It is always better to book your tickets once you get a “green” signal from your doctor.

Different airlines have different policies for pregnant women. For example, some airlines don’t allow pregnant women to fly on a flight over four hours long if they are over 36 weeks while for some others this restriction goes up to 38 weeks. Some airlines ask you to present a letter from your doctor. Therefore, check for your airline policies before booking a ticket.

We advise you to check your travel insurance in case of overseas travel. Some companies insure women only up to 24 weeks of pregnancy while others have different rules. So, better be safe on that side too.
While packing don’t forget to take with you your prenatal charts which include your age, date of your last menstrual period, reports of all prenatal tests, number and outcomes of your previous pregnancies (if any), any risks and complications associated with your pregnancy. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers with you.

How can you be comfortable during air travel?

You can always make your air travel safe and comfortable by considering a few things such as:

· Always request for a seat on the aisle so that you can visit the bathroom easily and get up every few minutes to walk and stretch.
· Make sure that your seat lies in the middle of the plane over the wings to ensure the smoothest ride.
· Sitting down for long periods of time during flights can cause swelling in your feet and ankles. Thus, try to keep your feet elevated by putting them on some luggage under the seat in front of you.
· Pregnant women are susceptible to thrombosis (blood clotting), so keep on moving in the aisle and do some slight stretching.
· Your must always fasten your seatbelt. Make sure it goes under your belly and low on your hips.
· Continue drinking plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated.
· Avoid coffee, tea or any soft drinks as they have diuretic effects.
· Take light meals to avoid any kind of burning, indigestion or gas problem.
· Wear comfortable maternity clothes such as pants, skirts and so on.
· Low cabin pressure will worsen your already strained veins and arteries. Thus, wear flexible shoes or thrombosis socks

Can I also travel during my first and third trimester?

You can always plan your trip during your first and third trimester provided your doctor allows you to do so. Generally, during their first trimester women go through several problems such as mood swings, morning sickness, stress, anxiety and so on. Moreover, your obstetrician performs a number of prenatal tests during your first trimester. You must not skip these tests in any case as they confirm whether or not you are carrying a healthy fetus. Some women are also recommended for genetic screening test such as NACE (Non-invasive Analysis for Chromosomal Abnormalities) to detect any chromosomal abnormalities. This test is carried out during 1st trimester near to 10th week.

If you wish to travel during your third trimester, it is also perfectly safe if you are not undergoing any pregnancy medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, placental abnormalities, vaginal bleeding, blood clots, and risk of preterm labor or twins/multiples. Even if you are not going through any of these conditions, it is not recommended to travel during your final month as chances of labor increase.

Even after so many precautions, if you experience any kind of discomfort like headache, nausea, pain or sudden cramps, you must immediately bring it to the notice of airline staff or people near you so that suitable actions can be taken on time.

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