Is It Safe to Fly During Pregnancy

Is it safe to fly during pregnancy? Commercial air travel for a healthy mother poses no undue risks, but it is still best to check with your doctor before any pregnancy travel. If you have certain conditions, such as sickle cell disease or anemia while you're pregnant, the risk of problems while flying are increased.

Pregnancy and Travel
Flying during midpregnancy is often better. In the earlier months, most women experience morning sickness and some may be prone to miscarriages. Flying later in the pregnancy (after 28 weeks) may make certain women prone to miscarriages or premature labor, mainly those women at risk for a preterm delivery. If you are having a hard pregnancy, but you must fly, talk to your doctor before flying.

Air Travel Challenges
If you are carrying twins or multiples, it may be best to avoid flying. You should also avoid air travel if you are a diabetic or have high blood pressure. Medical conditions combined with pregnancy, such as placental abnormalities or a history of blood clots make staying home a better choice.

Always check the airline's policy regarding pregnancy. Individual carriers may have certain guidelines for pregnant women. Aisle seats provide more room and comfort, and should be chosen if at all possible. Many airlines will not allow a pregnant woman to fly during the last weeks of her pregnancy. Airline restrictions vary from 7 to 30 days before your due date.

The humidity in the cabin is low during flight, so drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If you cannot get up and walk around every half hour or so, flex and extend your ankles every 15 to 20 minutes.

While decreased air pressure during the flight may reduce the amount of oxygen in the mother's blood, your body will adjust to this. Some women are concerned about cosmic radiation at the higher altitudes. This is not a concern for the occasional traveler, but frequent travelers should be aware that pilots, flight attendants and others who do fly frequently sometimes receive radiation exposure that exceeds current recommendations. You may want to limit air travel while you're pregnant to reduce the potential for radiation exposure. 

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