You are pregnant and can hardly wait to hold your baby in your arms. Before the exciting time begins as a small family, you may want to use the last few weeks of undisturbed togetherness with your partner again to fly on vacation together. Or your job requires that you get on the plane every now and then. But is a flight trip for you and your unborn baby possible without hesitation? In this article you will find out whether flying during pregnancy is dangerous for you and your baby and what needs to be considered.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND LIMITATIONS for FLYING DURING PREGNANCY?
In some cases, pregnant women are advised against flying beforehand. This can be the case, for example, with a tendency to premature birth or miscarriage or cardiovascular disease. If one of the two applies to you, you should always consult your gynecologist before planning a flight. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated, flying with a baby bump is basically possible. However, there are some risk factors you should be aware of while flying during pregnancy.
- Less oxygen in the air
you breathe maybe you know it from hiking: the higher the ascent, the less oxygen is available for breathing. Even if the oxygen pressure in aircraft is artificially increased, it is lower than we are used to on the ground. However, there is no reason to worry that your unborn child’s oxygen supply will be affected: Researchers have found that the heart of an embryo beats just as quickly when it takes off, lands, and at full flight altitude as it does on Earth, i.e. optimally supplies it with oxygen becomes.
Risk in pregnancy, the risk of thrombosis – a blood clot in the veins – is generally increased. Due to the long sitting and the limited freedom of movement, the risk on long-haul flights is slightly higher. Therefore, make sure to drink enough during the flight. If you have the opportunity, get up in between or move your legs while sitting to prevent a blood clot. Even if they don’t look that much, it is also advisable to wear thrombosis stockings during the flight.
- Cosmic radiation exposure
In general, you are exposed to increased so-called high-altitude radiation on every flight. The following applies: The load increases with the duration of the flight and with the proximity to the poles. On long-haul flights, the radiation exposure roughly corresponds to that of an X-ray of the upper body. However, there is some controversy as to whether cosmic radiation actually poses a danger: some doctors advise mothers-to-be to avoid travel by plane, especially long-distance travel, in the first few months of pregnancy, since radiation at the beginning of pregnancy could favor malformations. Other experts generally estimate that cosmic radiation is harmless to both mother and child.
- Restrictions on the choice of the country of travel
Depending on how far your pregnancy has progressed, it may be that entry into certain countries is restricted or not possible at all. For example, in the United States, pregnant women may be denied entry if there is a fear that their child may be born within the country because it would automatically give them US citizenship. For this reason, proof is also required upon entry that you are sufficiently insured and plan to leave the United States in good time before the birth. In Singapore, a so-called “Social Visit Pass” is required for entry from the 6th month of pregnancy, which confirms that your stay is a short-term private visit. You can apply for this in advance at the embassy or consulate. To minimize the risk of infection, doctors also advise pregnant women against traveling to yellow fever and malaria areas. It is best to find out in good time which regulations apply to the destination of your choice.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO FLY DURING PREGNANCY?
- Frist Trimester
is controversial whether in the first trimester the risk of malformations of the embryo is promoted by flying. Nevertheless, the first three months of pregnancy may not be the best choice if you plan to travel. Because: Many women suffer from nausea and discomfort at the beginning of pregnancy and can hardly imagine getting on a plane anyway.
- 2nd Trimester
The second trimester of pregnancy is considered ideal for air travel: The first, sensitive period of pregnancy with its possible initial problems is over and many expectant mothers are feeling new vigor. At the same time, your belly is probably not yet so big at this point that it could hinder you from flying.
- 3rd Trimester
Even in the third and last trimester you can still fly without any problems – if certain requirements are met. The first thing that a matter is how you feel and whether you think you can fly. If in doubt, you should always ask your midwife or doctor for advice. The further your pregnancy has progressed, the greater the risk of an unplanned birth. Most airlines therefore require a certificate from a certain week of pregnancy so that they allow the pregnant woman to fly with them. In the certificate, your doctor must confirm that your pregnancy is uncomplicated and that you are fit to fly. When this is necessary is different for each airline, but usually from the 34th to the 36th. Week of pregnancy, in the case of multiple pregnancies usually from the 29th week. The best way to do this is to contact the airline you want to fly with.
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WHAT SHOULD I PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN FLYING DURING PREGNANCY?
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE FLYING DURING PREGNANCY?
- Inform your airline about your pregnancy in good time when you have a plan for flying during pregnancy. For example, you have priority for check-in and boarding and avoid long standing and waiting times. If you are lucky, you will get a place at the emergency exit or at least in the corridor, so that you can stretch your legs in between. You will also find out whether you need a certificate.
- Even if you feel good at the time of booking, it is advisable to take out travel cancellation insurance as a precaution. If you should not be able to take the flight after all, you will get at least part of the cost refunded.
- Find out about medical care at your destination. Make an appointment with your gynecologist shortly before the day of departure. He or she can tell you if there is nothing standing in the way of your flight, if necessary issue the required certificate and so send you on the trip with peace of mind.
- Carry your mother’s passport and, for security, a copy of it with you during the flight. You may have to show it at check-in, and it should always be within reach in an emergency.
- By making all the necessary preparations in good time and making your way to the airport with enough lead time, you avoid unnecessary stress on the day of departure.
DURING THE FLIGHT WHILE YOU ARE PREGNANT
- On the day of the flight, choose clothing that is as loose and comfortable as possible so that you have it comfortable even during a long-haul flight.
- Put on thrombosis stockings for the duration of the flight to minimize the risk of a blood clot.
- Close the belt underneath your baby bump so that it cannot cut into and injure your baby in the event of possible flight turbulence.
- Drink enough water during the flight to keep your circulation and blood flow going.
- If possible, get up every now and then and take a few steps. Movement also stimulates blood circulation.
As long as you are healthy and your pregnancy is without complications, there is nothing standing in the way of flying during pregnancy. The decision to fly during pregnancy depends on your own feelings and the assessment of your doctor.
We wish you and your baby a good flight and a relaxing journey ! 🙂