Is it safe to fly while pregnant? This is probably one of the questions that pop up in your mind if you have a big love for travelling. With a fetus growing in your body, it is safer to seek professional views before you make plans to travel. Dr Wendy Teo from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital address some of the concerns and commonly asked questions that expectant mums want to know before travelling. Let her expertise guide you in making the right decision.
Is it important to check the airline’s policy about air travel during pregnancy?
Even if your obstetrician has given you the go ahead to fly, do check out the airline’s air travel policy first as they can bar you from boarding the plane if you exceed the gestation approved period. Most airlines would require a fit for travel certification from your obstetrician a week before the flight and the limit could range from 32-36 weeks depending on the airline and the flight duration.
Why is it important to choose my seat during a flight?
It is certainly better to choose an aisle seat as the pregnant mother would need to visit the toilet more frequently since the baby is pressing on the bladder all the time. Also it gives you more room to stretch should frequent leg cramps set in during a long flight.
Does it matter which country I am going to?
A short haul flight is preferable in pregnancy as a long flight may cause backaches, leg cramps and increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot formation in the leg veins) due to prolong sitting
Do any changes occur in my body when I am flying?
The cabin of the air plane is pressurised to a safe level so that our body adjusts to air pressure changes well. One may however experience more motion sickness when pregnant and the pregnant mother’s blood tend to be thicker and thus, it clots easily. Pregnant mother’s are at higher risk of blood clot formation in the leg veins when sitting for a prolong period.
What should I pack in my luggage?
b. Medications for motion sickness, flu and diarrhoea. Make sure the medication is safe for pregnancy
c. Comfortable loose clothings
Are there any Do’s and Don’ts that I need to look out for when travelling?
Drink plenty of water
Walk around on and off when on flight
Wear a pair of compression stocking
Check out where you can look for emergency services in the country where you are travelling to
Keep the seatbelt on throughout the flight in case of turbulence
Carry heavy luggage
Sit cross legged on flight
In general, it is certainly safe to fly during pregnancy unless you have signs of miscarriage or preterm labour eg. Vagina bleeding, abdominal or other medical problems. However, do seek medical advise before flying. Second trimester is the best time to fly as the morning sickness would have settled and the baby is not so big as to cause too much discomfort for the mother.
By Dr Wendy Teo
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road
Tel: 6690 6814/ 6100 9636