Pregnancy takes a toll on your health and obviously mood swings don’t help. Although planning a ‘babymoon’ or in simple words getaway, has been in trend for a while now, but most of the expecting moms are still unsure about whether travelling via airplane is safe or not.
Talking about my personal experience, it is safe and you won’t face any problem if you are properly informed about airplane travelling and airline pregnancy policies. Sharing with you all you need to know before travelling while you are pregnant.
Generally travelling by air till 36th week of pregnancy is considered safe. You may find some airlines specifying 32 weeks pregnant or 35 weeks pregnant, so it is good to check with your airline and then book tickets if you are in last trimester.
Majority of airlines don’t allow pregnant travelers to fly on a flight over four hours after 36 weeks as the pressure and humidity levels may increase your preterm labor chances.
It is safe to travel in second trimester if you have a healthy pregnancy. You need a ‘fit to fly’ certificate from your obstetrician dated not more than 7 days prior to travel, between 28 weeks- 32 weeks of pregnancy. This is also applicable in case of multiple pregnancies.
However in case of pregnancy with complications, you are required to get a ‘fit to travel’ certificate from your doctor three days before the travel. This is applicable only between 28 weeks- 32 weeks of pregnancy as you won’t be allowed to travel after 32 weeks of pregnancy.
In case of pregnancy with complications, in addition to certificate from obstetrician you will also need medical clearance by the company doctor who will discuss the case on an individual basis with your doctor/or will check all the medical documents of the expecting mother (you) in case treating obstetrician is not contactable.
One most important thing you need while travelling international for pregnant passengers is travel insurance. It covers a range of eventualities which differ from insurer to insurer.
The most common events a travel insurance during pregnancy covers are:
- Most of the insurance agencies cover your pregnancy up to full term. But it is always good to confirm it with your insurer before buying a plan.
- Some may restrict the plan covering up for preterm delivery of the baby that is delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
- Other things covered are same as other travel insurances including medical expenses, medical repatriation, personal liability, lost and stolen luggage and flight cancellation. Though basic cover can vary from policy to policy so check the small print in all cases (exclusions).
The airline pregnancy policy is almost same for all international airlines with change in 2-3 rules. Mentioning few airlines:
You are required to carry a medical certificate to fly within four weeks of your delivery in a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy. Travel is prohibited within seven days of due date on a domestic flight and after 36 weeks of pregnancy in case of international flight.
British Airways: In case of single pregnancy, no flying after 36 weeks and in case of multiple pregnancies, travelling is allowed till 32 weeks. But in any case, a doctor's note and pregnancy record are both required to fly after 28 weeks of pregnancy.
You can only fly up to four weeks before your due date, no exceptions.
No medical clearance needed.
No restrictions, but you may be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row.
Traveling between 28 and 36 weeks requires a doctor to fill out a pregnancy information form. After that, a flight is only allowed for "urgent medical or compassion reasons.
These are few airlines mentioned. You can call airlines and know their policies for pregnant women travelling before planning the trip.
Tips for travelling by air during pregnancy:
To ensure that you and your little one in the womb is relaxed and enjoy a hassle free flight, here are few tips that might help you out.
- The safest time to travel is during second trimester. First trimester comes with morning sickness and there is risk of going into preterm labor in third trimester. So if it is not some emergency, try to plan during second trimester of pregnancy.
- Check with your doctor or midwife before buying tickets. It is important to get a green signal from your obstetrician before flying during any stage of your pregnancy, so as to discuss any potential risks or concerns you may have.
- Wear comfortable clothes, maternity pants if possible.
- Wear comfortable footwear, stretch your muscles at regular intervals and stay hydrated.
- Book aisle seat as you may have to go to washroom frequently.You can do this 48 hours before flight sometimes.
- If possible, request a seat with more leg room as it will be comfortable for you and stretching will be easy. Better still, pay extra and book a premium economy or business class ticket. Else you can always ask for up gradation to business class.
- Keep all your prenatal vitamins while packing. Ask your doctor to prescribe pregnancy safe medicines for general cough, cold and morning sickness.
If you have any doubts in airline pregnancy policy you can always ask the staff at airport and get your confusions clear or call the airline beforehand and plan accordingly.
Banner Image: tui.co.uk
Also read: Prepare Yourself For Travel During Pregnancy