It’s generally safe to travel in your first or second trimester. However, most gynaes would advise you to wait until the second trimester – weeks 14-27 – to fly, when your pregnancy has stabilized somewhat.
Your doctor may caution you against flying if you have experienced medical issues such as spotting, diabetes, high blood pressure or a previous premature delivery.
Most airlines will carry you up to the 36th week of your pregnancy, provided you have the relevant documents to certify you fit to fly. An official letter of permission from your gynae is often sufficient for this purpose. The letter should state your due date, and that you have been examined and are not likely to go into labour in the next 72 hours. Do ask for two copies of the letter, as you may need one for the flight there, and one for the return flight.
Note that some airlines have travel policies that restrict women more than 28 weeks pregnant from boarding, due to the risk of premature labour. Do find out about such policies before booking your tickets, to avoid a massive disappointment at the gate or check-in.
Last but not least, once you’ve got those tickets booked, remember to pack some healthy snacks in your hand luggage, to fill those hunger pangs that are part and parcel of being pregnant. And make sure you drink lots of bottled water on board, to avoid dehydration and prevent swollen feet and ankles.
By Dorothea Chow