Is it safe to fly while I’m pregnant?
Whether you booked a break before you realised you were expecting, or have a baby on the way and want to squeeze a holiday in before your due date, we’ve got the answers to all the most common questions when it comes to flying during pregnancy.
Can I fly in the first 12 weeks of my pregnancy?
Lots of expectant mums avoid flying in this time-frame for 2 main reasons. It’s when nausea and tiredness are most common, and the risk of miscarriage is also highest in the first 12 weeks. That said, NHS guidelines state there’s no reason not to fly if you’re feeling well and have discussed it with your midwife or GP beforehand, so it’s more a case of whether you feel up to the trip.
How late into my pregnancy can I fly?
This can vary from one airline to another, although in most cases – including flights with Thomson Airways – you can fly up to the 36th week if your pregnancy is progressing as normal and there have been no complications along the way. That means you’ll need to have flown home before the start of your 37th week. Bear in mind, though, that if you’re flying after 28 weeks – including your return flight – you’ll need to let customer services know and you’ll also need a note from your doctor or midwife that states you’re fit to fly.
I’m carrying twins – does that make a difference?
Yes. For multiple pregnancies, most airlines – Thomson Airways included – will carry expectant mothers up to 32 weeks, so you’ll need to have completed the return leg of your journey by the end of that week.
What about long-haul flights?
Airlines don’t tend to differentiate between short and long-haul flights anymore, although some pregnant women prefer to avoid long-distance travel in the first and third trimesters, purely for their own comfort and peace of mind. Long-distance travel – flights of more than 5 hours – carries an increased risk of thrombosis, or blood clots. According to the NHS website it’s not clear if that risk is higher if you’re pregnant, but compression stockings can help to reduce it.
Is there anything I should do on the plane?
Yes. As well as wearing compression socks, it’s worth thinking about the following:
– Wear your seatbelt below your bump, rather than above it.
– Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and pack plenty of snacks in your hand luggage.
– Get up as often as you can and do calf exercises and stretches in your seat.
– Consider reserving your seat number in advance so you’re guaranteed to be in an aisle seat, or book a seat with extra space if you can.
What about insurance?
As with any holiday, your insurance must cover you for the whole trip. Most standard insurance policies only cover up to the 28th week of pregnancy, so make sure you check with your provider when you book.
What about airport scanners – could they be harmful to my baby?
Airport scanners use a low-frequency electromagnetic field and are considered safe for everybody, including pregnant women. It’s worth bearing in mind that pregnant women who work airside pass through these scanners every day.
Can I take vaccinations if I’m pregnant?
If it’s essential that you travel to a destination that requires vaccinations, you’ll need to book an appointment with your doctor or midwife to discuss your options. The NHS website has some useful info on the latest recommendations.
Is there anything else I can do to prepare?
Before you go, make sure you know how to get access to help while you’re on holiday. Find out the details of the closest doctor or hospital, and take a copy of your maternity notes or a general medical history with you. This should include your blood type, any medications you’re taking or are allergic to, and your doctor’s details back home. If nothing else, it’ll give you a bit of peace of mind while you’re away.
If you have anything to share, you can let other readers know in the comments section below.