19.07.2015

During pregnancy travel by air

With the holidays upon us, many women I see in my practice have questions about how safe it is to fly during pregnancy. If your travel dates are flexible, the second trimester (approximately 14 to 28 weeks) is an ideal time to fly—morning sickness has usually resolved, energy levels are at their highest, and physical activity is generally not yet limited by a growing belly. Many patients worry about possible radiation exposure from the security scanners at the airport. Staying hydrated is always important during pregnancy, and the low humidity of plane cabins can make this challenging. Pregnancy is the time when a lot of care needs to be taken of the pregnant woman’s health, especially by her own self and by others around her. The pregnant woman is generally advised by the doctor not to travel in the first trimester as at that time the risk of miscarriage is highest. If your doctor has permitted you to travel to your chosen destination, ensure that you are carrying all the required medicines or prescription. Travelling by car, train or bus does not have any disadvantages, though you should avoid long journeys and try to limit your drive to not more than 5-6 hours. Ask for priority boarding for yourself and also use electric car if available at the airports instead of walking long distances. In case of travel to a foreign country, make sure that you have taken requisite immunisations much before the date of travel. You can enjoy your travel during pregnancy but just remember to follow the instructions mentioned above.
The gestational age limit may be lower for international flights, and some airlines may request documentation of a woman’s due date, so be sure to check with your airline for any requirements or restrictions.
As tempting as a long-distance babymoon may sound, think about your comfort during a long flight, as well as being in an exotic locale should something unexpected arise.
When flying while pregnant, this risk is increased slightly due to the normal changes of pregnancy.
She provides comprehensive obstetrical care and specializes in caring for high-risk pregnancies as clinical faculty at NYU Langone’s Maternal Fetal Care Center.


Though, travel during pregnancy is certainly not prohibited, it has be ensured that the pregnant woman takes necessary precautions so that her and child’s health is not compromised.
Moreover, she may also have to avoid travelling in case of high risk pregnancy or as suggested by the doctor.
Although flying and changes in cabin pressure do not increase the risk of breaking your water early or going into preterm labor, women with certain obstetrical conditions that place them at high risk for preterm labor—such a twins or a short cervix—should stop flying earlier in pregnancy as to not risk going into labor far from home.
Some of the new full-body scanners use extremely low-level x-rays, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) states that this level also does not pose a significant risk to pregnant patients. If you have forgotten to eat amid the frenzy of a hectic travel day, grab a healthy, low-sodium snack, as well.
Be careful when walking around during turbulent flights to avoid any trauma to your belly and don’t be shy about holding on to seat backs. The ideal time to travel during pregnancy is the second trimester as most common pregnancy emergencies usually occur in first and third trimester. Moreover, some insurance companies don’t cover pregnancy, so you need to check that also. Air travel may involve risk as the air pressure decreases during the flight and can slightly reduce the amount of oxygen in your body which may cause damage to the membranes of the uterus. Similarly, women who have had problems such as bleeding from the placenta may be advised not to travel given the possible need for emergency medical care. Also, if you are 35 years or above and pregnant for the first time, it would be better that you don’t travel. Even if your car has an air bag, wear a seat belt low on the hips and not on the abdomen to avoid undue pressure. It is also recommended that you don’t travel to a place where infection chances are more. Your doctor may have his or her own preferred gestational age cut-off for flying, so check with your physician before making any travel plans. You can also wear support hose during the flight which may have the added benefit of preventing leg swelling that commonly occurs during flying.


You may also carry a pillow during the journey which can be used for uncomfortable positions.
Consult Your Health Care Provider:Most pregnant women are allowed to fly by their health care professionals.
Here are some points for consideration:Some airlines can turn out to be more compassionate as compare to others in terms of offering special care and support to pregnant women. Pre-Inform The Airline About The Pregnancy: It is essential to inform the airline about your pregnancy before the travel. Pregnant passengers can also request for the additional courtesy from the airline staff.Ask for the seat near the restroom. Pack All Essentials For A Comfortable Trip: The comfort during the flight can be ensured by packing all the essential things in a handy manner.
The low humidity inside the flight cabin could lead to dehydration for some pregnant women.Rotate ankles and wrists in small circles. Women with healthy pregnancy are allowed to enjoy commercial air travel.In most of the cases women are advised to avoid any kind of travel after 36 week of pregnancy.
It is advisable to check the policies of the particular airline regarding the air travel during pregnancy.2.
All the airlines are required to maintain the standard levels of cabin pressures for the safety and security of the passengers. Do not attempt to even get up at this time![ Read: Cramps During Pregnancy ]It is not easy to include air travel during pregnancy but with the appropriate planning one can have a safe and comfortable trip.



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