Most airline services allow women to fly till 36 weeks of pregnancy but you might need to carry a ‘Fit to Fly’ certificate after 28 weeks for some because of the possibility of a preterm labor. It could get even more difficult for the crew to accommodate you in the face of an emergency landing, hence it is advisable to be absolutely sure of your health conditions and get a letter of recommendation by your doctor in case you have any situation that might need medical intervention so that people on board could help you in an emergency.
Airline policies vary with each company and you should ideally be checking with the authorities while booking your tickets. It is likely that your travel agent might not ask you about your pregnancy details but you it could be that you are not allowed to board the flight if you are more than 28 weeks pregnant. If you have a written permission from your doctor that states you are fit to fly for the next 72 hours, you will have no issues in flying.
When Is It The Best Time To Fly?
If there are no existing health conditions, flying will not make any difference to your pregnancy. However, the best time to fly would be in your second trimester when you would have left your annoying morning sickness symptoms behind and when your baby bump is not too big to be uncomfortable in the seat for longer hours. In general, second trimester is better enjoyed by women because of the energy that returns after the draining first trimester.
When Should You Not Fly In Pregnancy?
There are certain situations in which doctors will recommend you not to fly in pregnancy. They are:
- If you have had spotting before
- If you have had a miscarriage before
- If your first baby was a premature baby
- If you have diabetes
- If you have high blood pressure
- If you have repeated episodes of thrombosis
What Are The Risks And How To Avoid Them?
There are a few risks while flying in pregnancy but you could avoid most of them:
- Your tendency to develop thrombosis1 and varicose veins could intensify and that might get quite uncomfortable in a flight. What you could do to avoid that is wearing support stockings that would keep your circulation normalized and avoid swelling of any kind.
- You could potentially expose yourself to atmospheric radiation while you are flying that might result in miscarriages but if you space out your flights, the amount of radiation that you are exposed to would be negligible.
- You could be in real labor in the middle of a flight and although the cabin crew is updated medically to deliver a baby, the thought of it might make you uncomfortable. The best idea would be to get yourself checked by the doctor and travel only in the first and second trimesters.