Cathy Lizak
Contributing writer
last updated 06/13/2023

Flying when pregnant: what you need to know

Special considerations for traveling while pregnant

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Can I fly at one, two or three months pregnant (first trimester)?

Flying during the first trimester of pregnancy, which spans the first three months, is generally considered safe for most women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Many women fly during this time without experiencing any issues. However, it's important to consider a few factors and consult with your healthcare provider before making any travel plans.

During the first trimester, some women may experience symptoms such as nausea and morning sickness. If you have severe morning sickness, it's important to consider how it might affect your comfort and well-being during the flight. Consult with your healthcare provider to manage these symptoms effectively and ensure a more comfortable journey.

Fatigue is another common symptom during pregnancy, particularly in the early stages. Make sure you're well-rested before and during the flight. Plan for breaks, get up to stretch your legs, and stay hydrated throughout the journey.

Considering the accessibility of medical care at your destination is crucial, especially if you're traveling internationally. Research and identify local healthcare facilities in case you need any pregnancy-related care during your trip. It's also important to have travel health insurance that covers pregnancy-related health care, and emergencies.

Can I fly at 14 weeks or 3.5 months of pregnancy ( second trimester )?

Yes, flying during the second trimester of pregnancy, including at 14 weeks or 3.5 months, is generally considered safe for most women with uncomplicated pregnancies. The second trimester is often regarded as the most comfortable period for air travel.

During this stage, many women experience a decrease in symptoms such pregnancy complications such as nausea and fatigue, and the risk of complications is generally lower compared to the first and third trimesters. As a result, most airlines do not have specific restrictions or requirements for flying during this time.

It's still essential to prioritize your comfort during the first half hour of flight by staying hydrated, wearing loose and comfortable clothing, and taking breaks to stretch and move around the cabin.

As always with international travel, it's recommended to inform the airline that you are pregnant when making your travel arrangements or before your flight. This helps ensure that they are aware of your pregnancy and can provide any necessary assistance or accommodations if needed.

Can you fly over 28 weeks pregnant ( third trimester )?

Flying during the third trimester of pregnancy, especially after 28 weeks, can be more complicated and may have additional restrictions imposed by airlines. It's important to check the policies of the specific airline you plan to fly with, as well as consult with your healthcare provider before making any travel plans.

Many airlines have restrictions on flying during the late stages of pregnancy due to the increased risk of certain complications and the potential for labor and delivery. Some airlines may require a medical certificate or documentation from your healthcare provider stating that you are fit to travel. The requirements and cutoff dates for flying during the third trimester can vary among airlines, so it's crucial to verify the policies directly with the airline you will be either flying while pregnant or with.

What trimester is safest to fly?

The second trimester of pregnancy, typically spanning from around 14 to 27 weeks, is often considered the safest and most comfortable period for air travel. During this trimester, many women experience a decrease in pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea and fatigue, while the risk of certain complications, such as preterm labor, is generally lower compared to the first and third trimesters mid pregnancy.

Why we should not travel in the 8th month of pregnancy?

Traveling during the eighth month of pregnancy, which falls within the third trimester, can pose certain considerations and potential risks. While it's important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your specific circumstances, here are some reasons why traveling in the eighth month may be discouraged:

  • Risk of preterm labor: As you near the end of your pregnancy, the risk of preterm labor increases. The eighth month corresponds to around 32-36 weeks of pregnancy, and there is a higher likelihood of going into labor prematurely. Being away from your healthcare provider or medical facilities during this time may not be ideal.

  • Accessibility to medical care: Traveling during the eighth month may pose challenges in terms of accessing appropriate medical care and facilities at your destination. It's essential to consider the quality and availability of healthcare services, especially if you are traveling to a remote location or a place with limited medical resources.

  • Airlines' restrictions: Many airlines have specific policies and restrictions for pregnant passengers, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. Some airlines may require a medical certificate or documentation from your healthcare provider to confirm your fitness to fly. It's important to check the policies of the airline you plan to fly with.

When should you not fly pregnant?

There are certain other situations when it may not be advisable to fly during pregnancy. Here are some common situations when air travel during pregnancy may be discouraged:

  • High-risk pregnancy: If you have a high-risk pregnancy due to factors such as a history of preterm labor, placental abnormalities, preeclampsia, or other complications, your healthcare provider may advise against flying.

  • Multiple pregnancies: Pregnant women carrying multiple babies (e.g., twins, triplets) are at higher risk for certain complications. Your healthcare provider may have specific guidelines regarding air travel for women with multiple pregnancies.

  • History of miscarriage or preterm birth: If you have a history of miscarriage or preterm birth, your healthcare provider may recommend avoiding air travel during your pregnancy or suggest additional precautions and considerations.

Each pregnancy is unique, so it's important to make an informed decision based on your own circumstances and consult with your healthcare provider to ensure your safety and well-being during air travel.

Does flying increase risk of miscarriage?

The risk of miscarriage during air travel is generally considered to be low. However, it's important to note that there are some factors associated with air travel that may slightly increase certain risks for pregnant women. Here are a few considerations:

  • Blood clots: During long flights, the risk of developing blood clots, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), may be slightly higher for pregnant women. It's advisable to move around the cabin periodically, perform simple exercises, and wear compression stockings to promote circulation.

  • Changes in cabin pressure: The change in cabin pressure during takeoff and landing is generally well tolerated by pregnant women. However, if you have any specific concerns or complications, such as placental issues or a history of premature labor.

  • Infections and illnesses: Being in a confined space with other passengers may increase the risk of exposure to respiratory infections or other illnesses. Pregnant women may be more susceptible to certain infections due to changes in their immune system.

To minimize any potential risks, it's advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before flying during pregnancy, especially if you have any specific concerns or complications.

Is it OK to go through airport security while pregnant?

Going through airport security while pregnant is generally considered safe, but it's important to keep a few considerations in mind to ensure a comfortable experience. First and foremost, when you arrive at the security checkpoint, inform the security personnel that you are pregnant. This will allow them to provide any necessary assistance or offer alternative screening methods if needed.

When carrying essential medical items like medications or medical devices, inform the security officers in advance. While these items are generally allowed through security, they may require additional screening or documentation.

To ensure your comfort during the security process, wear comfortable footwear and loose-fitting clothing that won't constrict your abdomen. This will help you feel at ease throughout the screening procedure. Additionally, staying hydrated is important, so be sure to drink enough water before going through security and carry some light snacks to keep your energy levels up during potential wait times at the airport.

Is TSA screening safe while pregnant?

Most metal detectors and full-body scanners used in airport security employ low-frequency electromagnetic waves, which are considered safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies.

However, if you have concerns about the scanners, you can request a pat-down search as an alternative. It's advisable to avoid going through full-body X-ray scanners, such as the backscatter scanners, as they use small doses of ionizing radiation. Although the radiation exposure is minimal, it's best to minimize exposure during pregnancy. In such cases, opt for a pat-down search instead.

Do you have to tell airlines you are pregnant?

You should inform the airline that you are pregnant when you make your travel arrangements or at least before your flight. Airlines have their own policies regarding pregnant passengers, and some may have specific guidelines or requirements for pregnant travelers.

By notifying the airline in advance, they can provide you with any necessary information, accommodations, or assistance that may be available to ensure your comfort and safety during the flight. Additionally, some airlines may have restrictions on travel for pregnant women after a certain gestational age or for those with certain medical conditions, so it's important to be aware of these policies.

It's advisable to check the specific policies of the airline you will be flying with regarding pregnant passengers. This information can often be found on the airline's website or by contacting their customer service directly. Your healthcare provider can also provide guidance on whether it is safe for you to travel by air during your pregnancy and any precautions you should take.

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