Especially during pregnancy, women should pay attention to risks and avoid them. It is often said that air travel is dangerous during pregnancy. But is this really true? This is analyzed in this article and some tips are given for your next flight.
This post aims to give you a basic understanding of the perceived risks of air travel during pregnancy. You will find out when is the best time of pregnancy to fly and how long the flight should last. You will also be given some important tips for your health and the side effects.
the essentials in brief
- The second trimester is best for flying during pregnancy. In the first trimester there is still a risk of various risks and in the third trimester there could be a risk of premature birth.
- Flying during pregnancy is not particularly dangerous. The rays do not have a negative effect on the pregnancy unless you take a lot of long-haul flights.
- If you are afraid of flying, it does not make sense to fly during pregnancy. To prevent thrombosis, you can wear thrombosis stockings and you should have enough legroom.
Background: What you should know about flying during pregnancy
Below you will find answers to the most important questions about pregnancy and air travel. This should help you to take away your worries about air travel during pregnancy.
Can you fly while pregnant?
In general, it is not forbidden to fly during pregnancy and especially short flights do not pose a complication. (1) Flying for short flights should not pose a problem for pregnant women.
Faster transport for pregnant women will be made possible, and pregnant women who work on the plane can continue to fly. (2) In most cases, there is no change in the fetus in the abdomen during a flight, and air travel is safe. (3)
If you have problems during pregnancy and are very prone to miscarriages, you should discuss with your doctor whether you can fly. Cardiovascular diseases or diabetes should also be discussed with a doctor beforehand. If you are pregnant with multiples, you should also be more careful and ask your doctor for advice. In the case of unproblematic pregnancies, however, a flight does not pose a threat.
Until when is flying allowed during pregnancy?
At the end of the pregnancy you should no longer fly, as complications could arise or an unplanned birth. It is recommended that you can fly up to the 28th week. This should then be clarified with the doctor and a medical certificate is required. (4)
In the case of an uncomplicated pregnancy, it should also be possible to take a flight up to the 36th week. (5) However, in the case of a multiple pregnancy, airlines have different limits. Then a flight is usually only allowed up to the 32nd week.
Many airlines have provisions for pregnant women.
Since the various airlines have different regulations, you should inquire beforehand until when air travel is allowed. You can read the respective regulations on the websites of the airlines. You should also make sure that the airlines require a certificate. (6)
When is the best time to fly during pregnancy?
The best time to fly is in the second trimester. By this time, the first symptoms have disappeared and the risk of suffering a miscarriage decreases. In addition, you can still get enough exercise in the second semester. (5) The first trimester is less suitable, since pregnant women have symptoms at this time and a flight would not promote them. In addition, the embryo is still developing and is very delicate.
Towards the end, care should be taken that the due date is not too close to avoid an unplanned birth. In the third trimester, however, it depends on the general health of the pregnant woman. So if you feel ready for it and don't have any symptoms, you can still fly in the third trimester.
|trimester of pregnancy||Flying during pregnancy|
|1st trimester||Symptoms of pregnancy could worsen, risk of miscarriage|
|2nd trimester||optimal time, sufficient freedom of movement|
|3rd trimester||Risk of an unplanned birth|
The table clarifies once again in which trimester it is best to fly and which risks could exist in the different trimesters.
How long can you fly during pregnancy?
Air travel longer than 3 hours does not pose serious problems for pregnancy. However, if air travel is 8 hours or longer, it could increase the risk of thrombosis. However, this does not necessarily have to happen and depends on other factors.
So if you have other problems during pregnancy, the risk of thrombosis can be increased during a flight of 8 hours or longer. (7) On a long-haul flight, you should be careful not to book a low-cost airline, as they offer little legroom.
You can also take long-haul flights during pregnancy, but the risk of thrombosis increases. (Image source: unsplash/ Alevision.co)
If the normal legroom is not enough for you, you should book a seat with more legroom. This is very important so that you can move enough on a long flight and counteract thrombosis.
How dangerous is flying during pregnancy?
Flying during pregnancy poses some dangers. Cosmic radiation and thrombosis can be dangerous when flying. During a long flight, the radiation is particularly pronounced and this can affect the development of the child's organs in early pregnancy.
The risk of thrombosis increases when flying because of the long periods of sitting. That's why you should drink enough water on a long flight and get up from time to time or do small exercises. (4)
Sitting on an airplane for a long time can lead to thrombosis.
Although the radiation during a flight is higher, this does not have a negative effect on occasional flying. So if you fly very seldom during your pregnancy, air travel does not pose a great risk to the child. If you travel by air more often, the rays could have an effect on the pregnancy and disruption to the sun can also increase this radiation. Frequent flyers should therefore be more careful. (8th)
In an uncomplicated pregnancy, air travel does not pose any danger. The breathing rate of pregnant women is only increased during take-off and landing of a flight. But this can also be due to the tension. There is also no significant difference in the heart rate of the pregnant woman or the baby. (3)
How often can you fly during pregnancy?
There is no general indication of how often you should fly during pregnancy. If you are going to take a long-haul flight, the radiation is very low. (9) You should avoid flying too much during pregnancy. Especially since the second trimester is best for air travel, you should avoid it in the other two trimesters.
If you make several long-haul flights a year, the annual limit for cosmic rays could be exceeded. However, this is not necessarily the case and the risk is very small. Very frequent long-haul flights should therefore be avoided in order to reduce stress during pregnancy.
What should you consider when flying during pregnancy?
If you have a complicated pregnancy and there are already some risks, you shouldn't take the extra risk and fly. To avoid the risk of thrombosis, it is important to dress properly.
There is a risk of thrombosis on long flights during pregnancy.
Loose clothing is therefore very appropriate. Having an aisle seat is also helpful to ensure more legroom. You can also get up and loosen up your legs whenever you like. (10)
An aisle seat is very helpful to ensure enough legroom. (Image source: unsplash/ Suhyeon Choi)
It is also important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration at high altitude. It is a good idea to drink half a liter of water every 60 minutes. You should also snack occasionally and avoid eating foods that cause gas. (10) Nuts are very good as a snack. You can also take an electrolyte powder during the flight to avoid losing fluids or salt. With electrolyte powder, for example, you can use magnesium .
So that you can show your pregnancy week when you fly, you should always have your maternity pass with you. With this you can show in which week of pregnancy you are. As described above, this is necessary because after a certain week you are no longer allowed to fly with different airlines. (10)
|thrombosis||Loose clothing, legroom, exercise|
|food||Snacks, no gassy food|
|dehydration||Half a liter of water per 60 minute flight|
If you pay attention to the different points in the table, you should have a comfortable flight, despite your pregnancy. These things should be observed so that you do not get a thrombosis and also do not become dehydrated.
Flying during pregnancy: The best tips & tricks
To make your flight easier and avoid complications, we will show you some tips and tricks below. These will help you to take away your fear and prepare you optimally for your next trip. The following tips can help you and significantly improve your flight, especially if there is a risk of thrombosis.
Nausea when flying during pregnancy
If you fly early in your pregnancy, you may feel nauseous. This can be increased during a flight. It is therefore very important that you drink enough fluids in case you do throw up.
There is a risk of nausea, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. Then a flight should be avoided. (Image source: unsplash/ John Looy)
You can also take medication for this nausea. However, you should discuss this with your doctor beforehand to avoid complications. (11)
Fear of flying during pregnancy
If you already suffer from a fear of flying, it doesn't make sense to fly during pregnancy. This would only worsen the situation. Therefore, you should avoid air travel during pregnancy. (12)
Otherwise, you don't need to be afraid of flying during your pregnancy. As already described above, the risks of flying during pregnancy are low. So if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you don't have to worry about the flight.
Stockings for bow ties during pregnancy
To prevent thrombosis while flying, pregnant women can wear thrombosis stockings. These support the legs and reduce thrombosis. (1) Thrombosis stockings are particularly advantageous on long-haul flights.
In addition to the stockings, it is also necessary to move sufficiently and occasionally get up from the seat. (11) You can choose between different strengths for stockings. To find the perfect strength for you, you can consult your doctor. (12)
For a short-haul flight, it is sufficient if you buy simple thrombosis stockings and these are not necessarily adapted to you. Since the risk of thrombosis is not quite as high on a short-haul flight. However, if you are going on a long-haul flight, you should buy thrombosis stockings that are individually tailored to you.
These then ensure that they sit perfectly and nothing pinches. Individually fitted stockings are particularly important if you already have an increased risk of thrombosis. But stockings alone are not enough. Getting enough exercise is also very important.
Thrombosis syringe for flies during pregnancy
If you want to use an injection against thrombosis, you should discuss this with your doctor beforehand. The syringe can prevent thrombosis and contains low molecular weight heparin. (12) However, the syringe also has some side effects and cannot be used in every case. If you are already taking other medication or have illnesses, you may not be able to use the thrombosis syringe.
Flying during pregnancy has almost no risks. However, if you already have a problematic pregnancy, we do not recommend flying and the additional burden. The radiation in the plane is very low and only a small risk on very frequent and long flights. It is best to fly in the second trimester, as the symptoms of pregnancy are very low there and miscarriages should be less likely.
Since there is a risk of thrombosis when sitting on a plane for a long time, which is increased during pregnancy anyway, you should pay attention to a few important points. Thrombosis stockings are therefore very suitable for flights. You should also exercise regularly on the plane. It is particularly important for pregnant women to drink plenty of fluids during the flight to prevent dehydration.
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