Air Travel During Pregnancy
Is it Safe to Fly During Pregnancy?
It's OK to travel by air during pregnancy unless your due date is near, or your doctor says that you (or your baby) have a medical condition and it's safer for you to stay close to home. Most healthy pregnant women can fly up to 4 weeks before their due date. After that, it's best not to travel far in case you deliver.
When Might Air Travel Be Risky?
Doctors do recommend that pregnant women with some types of health conditions — like high blood pressure (hypertension) or blood clots; or a history of miscarriage, premature labor, ectopic pregnancy, or other prenatal problems — not travel by air.
Note: Pregnant women also should not fly to areas with high altitudes, regions with disease outbreaks or where some kinds infections are common (like Zika or malaria), or where certain vaccines are recommended for travelers beforehand.
What Are the Possible Risks to a Baby?
For women with healthy pregnancies, there are no significant risks. But anyone who has a difficult pregnancy, especially involving the cardiovascular system, should discuss any flying plans with their doctor.
What Else Should I Know?
Discuss any plans for lengthy or distant travel with your doctor, just in case. Then, check with the airline to find out what their policies are about flying during pregnancy. (Most airlines will allow pregnant women to fly up until week 37. Some might ask for a document from your doctor with information about the due date and confirming that you are OK to travel.)
Check your health insurance policy to make sure that it covers pregnancy and neonatal health issues while abroad. If it doesn’t, consider getting travel health insurance.
To keep your flight as comfortable as possible:
- Move your lower legs regularly and/or get out of your seat (especially during long flights) to promote blood circulation and help prevent blood clots.
- Wear support stockings to help prevent clotting in your legs.
- Keep your seatbelt on when you're seated to keep the jostling of turbulence to a minimum.