Everything you need to know about flying when pregnant

Flying when pregnant
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Planning a babymoon overseas? Here’s all the advice you need to know before flying when pregnant

Is it safe to fly when pregnant?

The NHS advises flying when pregnant is completely safe, and that it shouldn’t harm your baby if your pregnancy has been fairly unproblematic so far.

However, most airlines will not allow you to fly once you reach 37 weeks, or at 32 weeks if you’re pregnant with twins or more babies.

Can you fly in the second trimester of pregnancy?

You can fly in the second trimester of your pregnancy, but some women try to avoid it because exhaustion and nausea tend to be worse at this stage.

What can I do to prepare before I fly?

Discuss your plans with your midwife or GP before your travel, and prior to booking your plane tickets, check with your airline and insurance company that you can travel while pregnant.

Once you’ve reached week 28, most airlines will ask you to get a letter from your midwife or GP confirming that you’re in good health, that you’re having a normal pregnancy, and your expected due date. Some GPs do charge for providing a letter.

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However, some airlines may also require you to have medical clearance if there are complications expected in your delivery, or if your delivery date is less than four weeks after your flight.

Book an aisle seat so you can move around without disturbing passengers either side of you, in case you need to use the toilet or move around.

Pregnant women are also susceptible to dehydration, so try to drink lots of water while on board.

How do avoid feeling sick when flying?

Position your seatbelt across your thighs and below your belly. And while you probably won’t need them in your first 12 weeks, seatbelt extenders should be available from the cabin crew on board.

Request extra sick bags if you feel queasy, in case the seatbelt sign is turned on or you can’t make it to the bathroom.

Come prepared with sickness remedies, too – anti-nausea medication or ginger biscuits can ease your symptoms.

How do I avoid blood clots when flying?

Blood clots (thrombosis) are more likely to happen when you fly long haul (for longer than four hours), but it’s not known whether this risk increases when you’re pregnant.

The best way to prepare is to wear correctly-fitted compression stockings to reduce the risk of blood clots and fluid being retained in your legs.

Other techniques to try include calf exercises (most airlines provide guidance on these), walking around the aircraft whenever possible, and wearing loose, comfortable clothing.

Can I have travel vaccinations when I’m pregnant?

The NHS recommends that it’s better to avoid countries or areas where vaccinations are required while you’re pregnant.

‘Live’ vaccines – including BCG, MMR, oral polio, oral typhoid and yellow – are thought to pose a greater risk and could infect your unborn baby.

If you can’t avoid visiting a destination where you need a vaccination, speak to your GP; they’ll be able to outline the risks and benefits of what you may require.

Pregnant women are also very susceptible to malaria, which is predominantly found in countries like Africa, South America, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

This disease is spread by insects, so take precautions by using a mosquito repellent (find one recommended by your GP), wearing long-sleeved tops and full-length trousers, and always sleeping under a mosquito net.

READ MORE: Travelling tips for your first trimester holiday

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