You might want or need to fly while pregnant – and possibly near the end of your pregnancy. You may have heard flying, like sushi and contact sports, are forbidden after a certain point in pregnancy, and many airlines have restrictions on when pregnant women can travel. It’s not true that for a healthy pregnancy, all flights are off limits. Desert Blossom Women’s Care has answers to common questions about flying while pregnant.
What Are the Restrictions?
The airline industry doesn’t have blanket restrictions or guidelines for pregnant passengers. Each airline has its own policies: Some require clearance by an assistance coordinator if you’re flying within seven days before or after your due date; some want to verify your estimated due date is after the latest date booked; and some require you have a note or certificate from your midwife or doctor signed anytime from 48 to 72 hours before you board, clearing you for travel. Most airlines that do have restrictions have the later stages of pregnancy in mind.
If you’re 28 weeks along, bring a copy of your pregnancy records with you just in case. For Arizona mothers, Desert Blossom Women’s Care can fax records anywhere.
Am I More Likely to Give Birth on the Plane?
Airline restrictions on flying while pregnant are about avoiding moms laboring or giving birth on the plane. They don’t want to turn around midflight, make an emergency landing, or have a midwife among the passengers deliver a baby in the air. Nothing about the flight itself will cause you to go into labor; your releases of hormones and chemicals aren’t going to be affected by cabin pressure or the experience of flying. Since due dates are estimates and not guarantees, and you can go into labor at any time, keeping your medical records with you will help another medical team care for you in case the baby decides to come while you’re away from home.
Are There Risks?
When it comes to flying during pregnancy, if you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy, there aren’t any restrictions; just stay hydrated, wear your seatbelt, and take bathroom breaks when you need to. However, flying is a risk factor for developing blood clots because of how long you’re sitting in the cabin. Combined with pregnancy, you’re at more of a risk for blood-clotting conditions such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. To lower your risk, take breaks from sitting to stretch, and move your legs and ankles if you can, to increase blood circulation. If you have multiple blood-clot risk factors, such as a family history of them, your doctor might recommend you stay home.
Even if you don’t have a high-risk pregnancy, it doesn’t hurt to check in with your midwife before you fly. She can give you travel advice, ideas for exercises, and referrals to other midwives at your destination.
Your Pregnancy Copilots at Desert Blossom Women’s Care
A certified nurse-midwife at a women’s health center is the perfect companion to help you through your pregnancy. Southern Arizona mothers-to-be have Desert Blossom Women’s Care to answer questions and take care of you and your baby at any stage. Get in touch to schedule an appointment for pregnancy care.