Is It Safe To Fly During Pregnancy?

August 13, 2008

Free to Fly During Pregnancy

Free At Last - confined no more! That could be the cry of someone fresh out of jail, but really it is a testimony to the freedom women have today to travel and carry on with life, pregnant or not. It used to be that pregnancy literally drove a woman indoors and the time between her first little roundness of belly until about a month after her baby was born was known as the time of confinement. Travelling was out of the question, especially since the mode of travel in those days really contributed to potential danger of miscarriage.

Thankfully we're now in the 21st Century and life is entirely different. Today, air travel is deemed usually quite safe for most pregnant women. It is advised, however, to consult with your physician before making any plans for air travel, especially if the trip is over a long distance and many hours. Air travel can present a challenge for travelers regardless of how great they feel but as long as common sense prevails the danger is minimalized.

Not Safe To Travel When Pregnant

There are, of course, situations which would suggest air travel not be undertaken unless it is of a crucial nature. Dr. Kenneth Johnson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, says, "Common sense dictates that women with complicated pregnancies involving twins, hypertensive disease, severe nausea, placenta previa, pre-term labor and other pregnancy-related complications should not fly."

First Trimester Flight

As a rule, travel during the first trimester is fine except that it can exacerbate nausea and morning sickness. During the first trimester, a woman may not feel well enough to fly. If she does, being aware that airline food may not be the best choice to eat and that the enclosed space may enhance the smell of somebody's perfume which in turn may leave you feeling sick. Also, the first trimester tends to be the point of the greatest risk for miscarriage, although flying does not seem to increase that risk.

The Best Time To Fly When Pregnant

The second trimester is probably the best time to fly. Morning sickness and tiredness are behind her and a woman is feeling her best with the risks of miscarriage and premature labor less of a concern. Unless there are complications which would be problematic during a flight, this is the time to do it. The biggest concern is circulatory problems during long flights. Varicose veins and spider veins may develop during this portion of pregnancy so moving around and wearing in-flight stockings help to alleviate the stress on the veins. Women should also try to elevate their feet, if possible.

Testy in the Third Trimester

By the third trimester there is a chance of premature labor for women traveling by air so she should have a medical professional to contact at her destination. Ensuring proper medical coverage for both mother and baby before, during and after the flight is a wise move. If possible, taking a bulkhead seat to avoid cramping and asking for more room if it's needed are good policies.

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