Tips to make air travel safe for the pregnant

March 2, 2013 | By More

If you have a straightforward pregnancy and are healthy, there is no evidence that the change in air pressure and decrease in humidity have a harmful effect on you and your baby, according to Dr Namita Pawar, Specialist Gynaecologist, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah. – See more at:


“There is no evidence that flying causes early labour or your waters to break. Nor is there any increase in the rate of miscarriage,” she adds. With any flight there is a slight increase in the amount of radiation you may be exposed to but occasional flights are not considered to present a significant risk to the baby.

There may, however, be an increased risk of discomfort:

  • Due to fluid retention (edema).
  • Nasal congestion or problem in your ears.
  • Motion sickness.
  • Some women are at an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (clot formation in calf muscles and thigh) in their pregnancy and postpartum period unto six weeks.

The following tips can make your air travel safer and pleasant.

  • Try to do majority of your travelling in the second trimester. Not only will you be more comfortable, but in general the risk of miscarriage and preterm labour are lower.
  • If you are over 28 weeks pregnant, your airline will ask you to get a letter from your doctor regarding the due date and confirming that you are not at an increased risk of any complications.The safest time to fly is before 37 weeks with singleton and 34 weeks with twin pregnancy. But policies vary according to the airline. Some airlines do not allow travel from 34 weeks of pregnancy.
  • You must wear a seat belt and ensure that the strap of your seatbelt is reasonably fastened under your tummy and across the top of your thighs.
  • Dress comfortably in loose cotton clothing and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Make sure to carry a copy of your prenatal records.

To minimise the risk of deep vein thrombosis, you should:

  • Take an aisle seat and take regular walks around the plane every 30 minutes.
  • Increase your water intake at regular intervals throughout the flight.
  • Cut down on drinks which contain coffee.
  • Wear graduated elastic compression stockings.

You may be advised to inject heparin to reduce the likelihood of formation of blood clots. You may be advised not to fly if you have risk of premature labour, severe anemia, sickle cell anemia, significant vaginal bleeding recently, any serious condition affecting your heart and lungs, recent surgery on abdomen or an ear infection.

It is important that you discuss any health issues or pregnancy complications with your doctor before you fly.


Category: Health and Fitness

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