Pregnancy is an experience that enables a woman to become a participant in creating the most beautiful aspect in the universe – ‘LIFE’. The bliss of a mother is increased to many folds by feeling the wriggling of a new self within her own body.
The joys & excitement attached to pregnancy cannot be described in words. But changed role of women in today’s society and current exposure to technology also throws new challenges at expectant moms. Most of the pregnant women face dilemma when it comes to flight travel during pregnancy. Read to know whether air travel during pregnancy is recommended or not.
Is It Safe To Travel By Flight During Pregnancy?
The answer to this question is ‘Yes’. Women with healthy pregnancy are allowed to enjoy commercial air travel. In most of the cases women are advised to avoid any kind of travel after 36 weeks of pregnancy. It is advisable to check the policies of the particular airline regarding the air travel for pregnant ladies.
Tips To Plan Safe Air Travel In Pregnancy
Here are some of the basic steps every pregnant woman must follow before planning any air travel trip:
1. Consult Your Health Care Provider:
Most pregnant women are allowed to fly by their health care professionals. But this liberty is not available for women facing any major complications in their pregnancy.
- In conditions like gestational diabetes, hypertension and ruptured placenta, one may not be allowed to air travel.
- Also women who have previously experienced premature delivery, miscarriage, still birth or fetal loss may not attain approval from their obstetrician to travel by plane.
- Women with high risk pregnancy might face aggravated discomfort or other complications during air travel. Thus are advised to avoid air travel during their pregnancy.
2. Look For Pregnancy–Friendly Airlines:
Make a list of airline carriers offering special support for pregnant women. It is recommended to travel through the airline which is pregnancy friendly. Here are some points for consideration:
- Some airlines can turn out to be more compassionate as compare to others in terms of offering special care and support to pregnant women. Choose the one that handles all the needs of their pregnant passengers with utmost care.
- If the airline is already notified regarding the pregnancy, then they may offer the facilities like wheel chair, preferred seats and in-flight food services.
- Another crucial step is to enquire about the policies of the airlines for the pregnant women. Some airlines might not allow traveling during the last months of pregnancy. In some cases they may require a release by a reputed doctor.
3. Pre-Inform The Airline About The Pregnancy:
It is essential to inform the airline about your pregnancy before the travel. Pregnant passengers can also request for the additional courtesy from the airline staff.
- Ask for the seat near the restroom. You can also get a seat at the bulkhead that offers extra personal space and legroom.
- If you are in the later stages of pregnancy, choose an appropriate seat and buckle it up under the abdomen during air travel.
- Pick up or escort facility is also available for pregnant women who cannot stand for long period of time.
- Airlines also offer special assistance in loading and unloading luggage for expecting women.
- Most flight attendants will gladly serve extra food or beverages to the expecting mothers.
- Some luxurious facilities available for high class customers could also be offered to pregnant women.
4. Pack All Essentials For A Comfortable Trip:
The comfort during the flight can be ensured by packing all the essential things in a handy manner. Here is a quick guide:
- A neck pillow, heat pack, empty water bottle and healthy snacks are some of the basic needs.
- Air travel can dehydrate you quickly so it is advisable to drink plenty of water during and after the flight.
- Some snacks like crackers are vital for pregnant women taking a flight, since they can help controlling air-borne nausea.
- All the necessary medicines should also be packed beforehand.
5. Precautions During The Flight:
To maintain the healthy blood flow and also to reduce the swelling in the body, during the flight, it is recommended to keep doing some small exercises.
- First is to drink plenty of fluid to keep the body hydrated during the flight. The low humidity inside the flight cabin could lead to dehydration for some pregnant women.
- Rotate ankles and wrists in small circles. Short walks, stretches and leg lifts could also lessen the stiffness and cramps during the flight.
- Ensure that while doing any kind of exercise there should not be any air turbulence.
- Maintain proper body balance while performing the stretches by holding overhead bins or the seatbacks.
[ Read: Leg Cramps During Pregnancy ]
Frequently Asked Questions
Given below are some of the popular queries that have been troubling the minds of all pregnant women who are planning to travel by plane:
1. What Is The Suitable Time To Fly During Pregnancy?
Women with very close delivery date are not advised to travel by the plane. The safest time to travel during the pregnancy is in between the second trimester which is 14 to 27 weeks.
- In most cases the trans-oceanic and trans-national airlines will not allow the women with more than 32 week of pregnancy to travel by air.
- Women beyond 28th week of pregnancy might have to present a consent letter from their health care provider to be allowed to travel in the plane.
- Thus it is advisable to actually understand the rules and regulations of the airlines before planning the travel during the pregnancy.
[ Read: Vomiting During Pregnancy ]
2. Is It Safe To Pass Through The Screening Machines?
Passengers have to walk through the screening machines or metal detectors at the airports. The low level of radiations exposed by such machines is usually considered safe for everyone including expecting women.
- Even the wands that are run over the body of passengers are also not harmful for pregnant women.
- These metal detectors do not use the X-rays and thus are not harmful. X-Rays are used for screening the luggage or other inanimate objects.
- If you have concerns getting scanned by the machines, then you can opt for physical ‘pat-down’ security checks.
3. Will The Cabin Pressure In The Air-plane Harm My Baby?
All the airlines are required to maintain the standard levels of cabin pressures for the safety and security of the passengers. For healthy pregnant women, the pressurized flight cabins do not pose any health risk. However the heart rates and blood pressure may increase in some women due to the low air pressure in the cabin.
- Women with the history of sickle cell disease, anemia, placental inefficiency and a history of blood clots must try to avoid air travel.
- But in case flying is unavoidable for women having one of these conditions then they can ask for supplemental oxygen during the flight.
- During the pregnancy it is good to avoid unpressurized small planes. As it may cause discomfort for you and your baby.
[ Read: Anemia In Pregnancy ]
4. Can My Morning Sickness Increase Due To Air Travel?
Aggravation or triggering of nausea is very much possible due to the increase in altitude and temperature.
- This trouble in enhanced if the person is traveling towards the tropical islands or ski resorts in the Rockies.
- The discomfort will subside as the body gets adjusted in the new environment and it might take 3-5 days to adjust to the new surroundings.
- Vomiting might make your body dehydrated and thus it is suggested to drink plenty of fluids while traveling towards the higher temperatures.
- You need to drink a lot of water during and after the flight to avoid dehydration.
[ Read: Dehydration During Pregnancy ]
7 Tips To Stay Comfortable While Travelling By Flight During Pregnancy:
Like all problems, this one has some temporary solutions too! You certainly can follow some simple procedures to make sure your air travel goes smoothly.
Given below are some quick-tips to stay comfortable during the flight:
- Before take-off, do not consume any food that could produce gas in the stomach.
- For the smoothest ride you can ask for a seat in the middle of the plane over the wings. Most importantly one must book a seat on the aisle, so that reaching the washroom should be comfortable and quick.
- During the flight seat belt should always be fasten and it should be under the belly and low on the hips.
- Sitting in the same position for a very long period of time may initiate stiffness and cramps in your body. You must try to get up and walk in between.
- Some simple stretches should be done after every half an hour to keep the blood circulation of body in appropriate condition.
- Drinking plenty of water during the flight is a must-do step for all the pregnant women.
- It is essential to sit down at the seat in case of any air turbulence. Do not attempt to even get up at this time!
[ Read: Cramps During Pregnancy ]
It is not easy to include air travel during pregnancy but with the appropriate planning one can have a safe and comfortable trip. Most women with a healthy pregnancy are allowed to air travel, but it is always prudent to consult your doctor before planning any air travel.
In case you have yourself travelled via airplane during a pregnancy or know someone who has, we would be delighted to hear from you on your experience and additional suggestions if any.
Reference : 1
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