No matter how advanced you are in your pregnancy or not, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider before you fly.
Dr. Gopal stated that if you plan to fly while pregnant, it is a good idea to have that conversation. Your provider will inform you of any safety precautions that should be taken to ensure a safe flight.
You may need to check with the airline before you fly. Below is a table that lists the rules for major airlines.
Pregnancy and Flying: A Trimester-by-Triester Guide
Most airlines allow pregnant women to fly up to week 36. However, you must do your research before booking any flight. You’ll also want to consult with your OB-GYN or midwife before traveling–especially if you’re at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy.
Before you travel
Although you might be used to booking vacations on a whim or packing only your essentials, there is one thing you should do before you book a flight during pregnancy: Get travel insurance.
If travel restrictions are changed, your healthcare provider will recommend you stay home. However, if you have any concerning symptoms (such as bleeding, abdominal pains, swelling, headaches or reduced fetal movement), you should postpone or cancel your plans.
The ACOG states that travel is not recommended for pregnant women with certain complications, such as preeclampsia or premature rupture of membranes, or those at high risk for preterm labor.
It is considered safe to fly earlier in pregnancy. Your fetus won’t be hurt by metal detectors.
Raul Artal M.D., ex-vice chairman of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice, stated that pregnant women should follow the same precautions as the general population when traveling by air.
Pregnant air travelers need to take extra precautions in any trimester. Pregnant women are seven times more likely than others to get blood clots. This is especially true if they fly long distances. You can reduce your risk by booking an aisle seat. While seated, you can walk around and move your legs and toes.
Morning sickness and fatigue could be the most common first-trimester symptoms. You may want to talk with your doctor about bringing anti-nausea medication with you.
ACOG states that mid-pregnancy is the best time to travel (14 to 28 weeks). These weeks are when your energy returns, morning sickness disappears, and you can still get around easily. It may be more difficult to sit or move for long periods of time after 28 weeks.
It’s a good idea for second-trimester women to keep hydrated. Consider wearing support stockings to decrease edema, clot risk, as well as researching nearby hospitals in case of an emergency.
Do you have twins or more than one child? Due to the increased risk of complications, your healthcare provider may recommend that you stop traveling sooner.
What is the best time to fly during pregnancy? If you are relatively healthy and not at risk for complications such as preterm labor, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, or placenta premature, you can usually travel up to 36 weeks. However, some OB-GYNs might prefer that you remain closer to your home in the final stages of pregnancy to avoid any complications.
Patients at high risk, especially those with diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension, or sickle cell disease, may be advised to not fly after 24 weeks, or not at all.
Before you travel at the end of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor.
If you are suffering from any of the following:
- Complex pregnancy such as bleeding or placenta previa
- Multiple pregnancies, such as twins and triplets
- Premature labor is a long-standing problem
- Start in the early stages
For more information on applying for medical clearance, please see the conditions that require medical clearance.
Flying during your pregnancy
Depending on your current pregnancy term, the length of time you can fly and when you can do it will determine how much.
- A single baby, with an uncomplicated birth and clearance from your doctor/midwife
- Up to the end 36th week, you can board flights that last more than four hours.
- Flying less than four hours is possible, but not before the 40th week.
- Multiple pregnancies (e.g. twins) that are uncomplicated and cleared by your doctor or midwife
- Up to the end 32nd week, you can board flights that last more than four hours.
- Flying less than four hours is possible, but not before the 36th week.
You can apply for clearance if you are traveling for medical treatment. See conditions that require medical clearance.
Evidence of the date of conception
We recommend that you bring a letter from your doctor/midwife confirming that you are able to travel if you have not reached your 28th week.
While flying while pregnant is possible, there are some things you should keep in mind.
- Pregnant women who are in good health can fly up to four weeks before their due date, provided they have not had any complications during pregnancy or other medical issues.
- Women who are pregnant in the 36th or 37th week of their pregnancy and need to fly for medical reasons must get approval from their family physician or gynecologist. They must also contact the EL AL Service Center for approval from the EL AL Chief Practitioner or a trusted doctor (MEDA). Otherwise, they will not be permitted to board the flight.
- Beginning in the 28th week, all passengers must have authorization from their physician. This approval should include information about their pregnancy (such as the week they were pregnant) and be presented to the EL AL representative if required.
- The medical approval must be received within 48 hours of departure and valid for return flights, provided that it does not exceed 36 weeks.
What point is it that pregnant women are not allowed to fly?
- Beginning at the 38th week.
- If the return flight is longer than the 38th week, it will be considered a termination of the pregnancy.
- If there are uncertainties about the progress of the pregnancy or the due dates, or if multiple births have been experienced (twins or triplets), please inform the driver. ).
- Special authorization from an EL AL doctor will be required for flying within the first seven days following birth.
- Take note: Codeshare flights are not available on flights operated by other airlines.
If a woman is in her last trimester and requires medical approval, she must book her tickets directly with the airline and not through EL AL. The operating company will make the flight arrangements.
Tips for flying
- A medical travel insurance policy with special coverage for pregnant women is recommended.
- Avoid flying if you are at risk of complications such as premature births or other complications.
- It is best to not tighten your seatbelt too much during a flight and to place it higher up or lower, above the hips, depending on where you are sitting.
- Are you pregnant if your gestational age is more than 28 weeks? Traveling with a companion is advisable. You should also reserve the seat next to you to ensure that your companion is available for assistance during the flight.
- To maintain blood flow and massage your feet, it is recommended to wear compression stockings.
- It is a good idea to reserve an aisle seat, so you can move around and get up from time to time.
- We recommend that you drink plenty of water during your flight and avoid carbonated drinks.
- You should always keep a few snacks and anti-nausea medication with you.
- You should also choose a flight that leaves at a convenient hour and gives you the opportunity to sleep well the night before.
What can you do for comfort on a flight?
Even though flying is safe, it can be difficult to fly during pregnancy if you add in morning sickness and other discomforts.
Dr. Gopal shared her suggestions for how to address these common issues during pregnancy. Compression socks are a great way to stay comfortable on a flight. They help to maintain blood flow and reduce swelling.
Dr. Gopal added that he also advised his patients to move around at least once an hour while they were on the plane.
She said that doctors might also recommend low-dose aspirin to prevent clotting. It is not recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, but it isn’t dangerous.
There are generally safe medications that can be taken to relieve nausea and acid reflux. These medications would be prescribed by your doctor to treat morning sickness. Talk with your provider before you fly to make sure you have everything you need.
Dr. Gopal recommends that you wear loose, non-restrictive clothing, along with your seatbelt or course, to counteract the cabin’s pressurized atmosphere and keep you hydrated.
Dr. Gopal stated that “over-the-counter Gas-X” may help to reduce bloating due to the pressured air.
Before you fly, do not forget to speak with your doctor.
Even if your pregnancy has been deemed low-risk, it is a good idea to consult your healthcare provider before you fly. Dr. Gopal stated that there are many potential risks associated with flying during pregnancy. These risks can change from one week to the next, so it is important to have an honest conversation with your doctor.
Certain pregnancy conditions can make flying more dangerous or less safe. Talking to your doctor is even more important if you have hypertension, asthma, or are prone to clotting disorders.
Although airline policies are different, you should include sufficient detail to meet the strictest requirements of your airline.
Dr. Gopal stated that it is better to be safe rather than sorry when traveling by air. It’s worth the effort, sometimes even necessary, to get medical documentation from your doctor’s office.
You should have a medical certificate that includes a waiver.
- The number of weeks in a pregnancy.
- The estimated delivery date.
- No matter if the pregnancy is one or more.
- If there are any complications.
- You are fit and in good health to travel on the last date.
The certificate should also be:
- If possible, write on hospital or clinic letterhead.
- Signature of the attending doctor or midwife
- You must date no later than 72 hours prior to departure.
- Be written in clear, simple English.
This certificate should be carried on board your flight. While some airlines will not ask for it, others will. Some airlines may also have their own requirements for documentation. Check out the table below to see which airlines require it.