Many people believe it's risky to fly during pregnancy. However, in most cases, it's perfectly safe until the 36th week. Even so, there are special precautions you may want to take to reduce your risk of problems, such as consulting your healthcare provider first, wearing compression stockings, and keeping antinausea medication on hand.
Is Air Travel Safe During Pregnancy?
While being pregnant is an exciting time, it also comes with questions about what you can and can't do. What about flying? Is it possible? Is it safe? Will the metal detector or body scanner cause problems? These questions can lead to a domino effect of concerns for women who want to protect their unborn child the best way they can.
Try to relax and know that there are some guidelines in place in the event you have to fly during your pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has researched this topic and has issued some recommendations to help put your mind at ease.
The Best Time to Fly
According to the ACOG, women who are healthy can safely fly until their 36th week of pregnancy. However, the best time to fly would fall between week 18 and 24 of pregnancy. During this time, the risk for miscarriage or premature labor is fairly low.
Also, the second trimester is a good time to fly, as you should hopefully be past the worst part of the morning sickness that tends to happen more often during the first trimester. If you are still experiencing morning sickness and flying is a must, make sure to bring lots of crackers and other snacks to help quell that nausea. Your healthcare provider may be able to prescribe some antinausea medication to help as well. Also, the second trimester won't leave you as fatigued as you might get during the third trimester.
Even if you are having a perfectly healthy pregnancy, check with your healthcare provider before making plans for air travel. He or she may have some recommendations and warnings for you to consider before embarking on your journey. In addition, if you are flying and you notice any contractions or simply don't feel well, make sure you let the flight attendant know right away. They may need to make an emergency landing.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Travel during pregnancy -- frequently asked questions (August 2011). ACOG Web site. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq055.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130828T1444003863. Accessed August 27, 2013.
American Society of Hematology. Clots and travel (2013). American Society of Hematology Web site. Available at: http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Blood-Disorders/Blood-Clots/5234.aspx. Accessed August 27, 2013.
Maroo A, Raymond R. Pregnancy and heart disease (January 2009). The Cleveland Clinic Foundation Web site. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinicmeded.com/medicalpubs/diseasemanagement/cardiology/pregnancy-and-heart-disease/. Accessed August 28, 2013.
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