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Can You Fly While Pregnant? – Here’s What You Need To Know

Posted on Oct 14th, 2022 by Renu Dahiya, Last updated Oct 18th, 2022, Leave a Comment

Flying while pregnant can be a daunting experience for many women. There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what is safe and what is not. Some airlines have strict policies about flying when pregnant, while others are more relaxed. So, can you fly while pregnant? The answer is…it depends. Every pregnancy is different, and you will need to make a decision based on your individual circumstances. However, there are certain things and some specific regulations that you should take into account before making your decision. 

In this blog, we will explore the topic of flying during pregnancy in more depth. We will discuss the safest time to fly, risks, and airlines’ pregnancy flight restrictions, as well as give you some tips on how to make your experience as safe and comfortable as possible.

When Is The Safest Time For Flying While Pregnant?

  • If a passenger is pregnant with one baby, flying before 37 weeks is safe. From the 37th week of pregnancy, you could go into labor at any time, which is why many women avoid flying after this time.
  • In the case of an uncomplicated twin pregnancy, flying only before 32 weeks is recommended. 

If you have any medical concerns, be sure to check with your doctor first. It’s also important to consider the length of the flight and your comfort level. For example: A flight from San Francisco to Delhi takes around 16 hours and can pose risks. Please be noted that most obstetric emergencies happen in the first and third trimesters. 

Note – Most of the airlines do not allow women to fly after 37 weeks. It is important that you check with your airline before flying. Also, it will be difficult to get travel insurance after 37 weeks of pregnancy. 

When Is It Risky To Fly When Pregnant? 

A medical condition or health problem can complicate your pregnancy and put you and your baby at risk. For this reason, if any of the following apply, you may be advised not to fly – 

  • If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are carrying multiples, your doctor may advise against flying. And if you’re prone to motion sickness, long flights may not be the best idea either.
  • You should avoid flying if you have severe anemia. This is when the level of RBC (Red Blood Cells) in your blood is lower than normal. RBCs contain iron-rich pigment hemoglobin which carries oxygen around your body. 
  • If you have recently had significant vaginal bleeding, then it is advisable that you should avoid traveling by air. 
  • If you have very bad morning sickness or there is a threat of miscarriage, your doctor may recommend that you should avoid flying in the first three months of pregnancy. 
  • During the last two months of the pregnancy, you should definitely avoid flying if you have raised blood pressure or if you have an increased risk of premature labor. 
  • Avoid traveling while pregnant, if you have a serious condition affecting your lungs or heart that makes it quite difficult for you to breathe properly.
  • Some airlines may not allow you to travel via plane if you have fractured a bone, have a middle ear or a sinus infection or have recently had surgery to your abdomen that involved your bowel, such as having your appendix removed. 

Things To Consider When Flying While Pregnant

There are many things and tips you can consider while flying to make sure you (and your sweet little munchkin) are as comfortable and safe as possible. 

  • Take precautions to minimize the risk of DVT – Pregnant women are at higher risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis – fatal blood clots in veins), especially in the leg area. To minimize this risk, wear special DVT socks. You can buy them in pharmacies and airport shops. And, Avoid wearing shoes as your feet may swell up, and tight and uncomfortable clothing. 
  • Take a break and walk around every couple of hours – It is important for everyone to keep their blood circulating, especially for pregnant women who suffer from leg and foot swelling. That’s why doctors always recommend grabbing an aisle seat to make it easier to get up and walk around or perform some simple stretches. 
  • Stay hydrated – Good hydration is key for pregnant women. So, drink plenty of water and fresh fruit juice. Avoid drinks and food that will dehydrate you such as tea, coffee, etc. 
  • Pack your snacks – Having your own stash of snacks can be a real lifesaver when you feel hungry or have odd pregnancy cravings. Airport food is super expensive and may not always be healthy for you and your baby. So bring lots of your favorite snacks. 
  • Always choose an aisle seat – You must have been confused about whether the aisle or the window is the best seat on a plane. Even if you love a window seat, as a pregnant person, opt for the aisle seat. Firstly, you’ll have more room. Secondly, an aisle seat lets you move about the cabin easily without bumping your neighbors. 
  • Wear a seatbelt under your bump – You should ensure that the strap of your seatbelt is reasonably tightly fastened across the top of your thighs and under your bump. If you need a seatbelt extension, ask the cabin crew without any hesitation. 
  • Check the airline’s pregnancy flight restrictions – It is always recommended to check with your airline for their pregnancy flyer policies before booking the flight tickets. Every airline has different rules & regulations when it comes to pregnant travelers. 
  • Check entry restrictions of the destination country – It is also important to check any entry restrictions in your destination country if you are planning to book international flights such as New York to Delhi flights, San Francisco to Hyderabad flights, etc. Some countries have restrictions for ‘non-national’ pregnant women. Check with the embassy or consulate before you plan to travel internationally. 
  • Pack a pregnancy kit – Make sure you take enough prenatal vitamins to last the journey or trip. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your health records with you, especially if you’re leaving the country.

Major Airlines’ Policies For Pregnant Passengers

It is advisable to always check with the airline about their pregnancy flight restrictions before you book your flight. Some airlines may allow you to fly beyond the recommended period, but many airlines will need a letter from your doctor or midwife detailing when you are due to give birth. 

AirlinesBefore 28 weeksBetween 29-36 weeksAfter 37 weeks (33 weeks in case a passenger is pregnant with multiples)
American AirlinesNo strict  restrictions.Travel is permitted. The airline demands a medical certificate beginning 4 weeks before your due date.International travel – Clearance from a special assistance coordinator is required, as well as a medical certificate dated within 48 hours of departure time. 
Domestic travel – Travel within 7 days of the due date or 7 days after birth requires permission from an American Airlines special assistance coordinator. 
Delta AirlinesNo strict restrictions. Does not waive pregnancy-related change fees and penalties. No strict restrictions. Does not waive pregnancy-related change fees and penalties.No strict restrictions. Does not waive pregnancy-related change fees and penalties.
KLM Royal DutchNo strict restrictions. The airline recommends consulting your physician for multiples or pregnancy complications. No strict restrictions. The airline recommends consulting your physician for multiples or pregnancy complications. No strict restrictions. The airline recommends consulting your physician for multiples or pregnancy complications. 
EmiratesNo strict restrictions.Travel is permitted but requires a medical certificate. If pregnant with multiple babies, travel is not permitted in the 33rd week and after. A prior clearance from Emirates Medical Services is required.   (Infants are not permitted to fly within7 days of birth without necessity, and only with prior medical clearance.)
LufthansaNo strict restrictions.No strict restrictions for a single pregnancy. If pregnant with multiples, travel after the 28th week may not be permitted. 
A medical certificate is recommended. 
Travel is not permitted. 
United AirlinesNo strict restrictions.No strict restrictions until the 36th week.A medical certificate is required, dated no later than 72 hours before departure time (24 hours is preferred). The original certificate must be presented to the airline at check-in and two copies of the same must be kept on hand during travel. 
Virgin AtlanticNo strict restrictions.Travel is permitted but a medical certificate is required beginning at 28 weeks. A passenger with multiple pregnancy can fly only until the 32nd week. Travel is not permitted unless necessary for urgent medical or compassionate reasons. And, travel in these situations requires approval from Virgin Atlantic’s medical team. Contact the airline directly for details and a companion is strongly recommended. 
British AirwaysNo strict restrictions, but it is recommended that you carry a letter stating whether your pregnancy is single or multiple, expected due date and that there are no serious complications. If a passenger is pregnant with multiple babies, travel is not permitted after the end of the 32nd week.  Travel is not permitted after the end of the 36th week. 
Air CanadaNo strict restrictions.No strict restrictions.Travel is not permitted. 
Etihad AirwaysNo strict restrictions.Travel is permitted but a medical certificate is required. 
Travel is not permitted for multiple pregnancy in the 33rd week and after. 
Travel is not permitted. 
Singapore AirlinesNo strict restrictions.Travel is permitted but requires a medical certificate dated within 10 days of departure date beginning in the 28th week. 
In the case of uncomplicated multiple pregnancy, a passenger is permitted to travel with a medical certificate until the 32nd week. 
Travel is not permitted. 
Air FranceNo strict restrictions.No strict restrictions.No strict restrictions.

Bottom Line

The risk of flying while pregnant is relatively low, but there are a few things to consider before taking a trip. The most important thing is to check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you and your baby. You should also be aware of the risks involved, such as deep vein thrombosis, and take steps to minimize them. If you’re healthy and there are no medical concerns, flying while pregnant is generally safe. Just take a few extra precautions and make sure to stay comfortable during your trip.

Note – If any of your loved ones are planning to for a babymoon and will travel by air, wish them a very happy and safe flight. You can take help from our guide – 56 beautiful ways to say have a safe flight. Check it out now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it safe to fly while pregnant? 

A: Occasional air travel during pregnancy is not harmful to you and your baby as long as you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy. 

Q: Will I have to go through a security scanner?

A: You will have to go through the normal security checks before boarding the flight. It won’t harm you or your baby. 

Q: What is the best time for traveling when pregnant? 

A: The best time to fly while pregnant is during the second trimester because pregnancy symptoms are less severe and there’s a lower risk of an obstetric emergency. 

Q: When will I have to stop flying during pregnancy? 

A: Many airlines do not allow pregnant women to fly from the 37the week of pregnancy or after 32 weeks if they are carrying more than one baby. 

Q: Can you fly during your first trimester? 

A: Flying during the first trimester is considered completely safe if you have a healthy pregnancy.

Whether you’re newly pregnant or planning a babymoon right before welcoming your new bundle of joy, this handy guide ‘can you fly when pregnant?’ will always help you to plan and survive your flight journey comfortably. 

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Here’s wishing you and your little rockstar a safe journey. Happy traveling! :))

About Renu Dahiya | View Posts

Renu Dahiya is a passionate writer who worships her profession. Her love for writing has encouraged her to pursue her career as a writer. Her friends call her a “travel worm” and always come to her to know some interesting traveling tips and destinations. Renu is a repository of knowledge about traveling who knows which place should be visited in which season. Oh yes, she is insanely in love with dancing too. Writer, traveler and dancer, a perfect combination! Without a doubt, she is a complete package.

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