Flying for pregnant women

What you should know to help prepare for the flight Flying for pregnant women


Flying for Pregnant Women

Airlines have their own policies regarding pregnant women flying and some will defer to the flight captain’s judgement. In general, if a woman is healthy and has experienced no difficulties with the pregnancy, there should be no problem in allowing her to board an international flight. It is only when a woman is in her third trimester that some reluctance may be encountered. There is no medical evidence to suggest that flying may bring on premature labour, but medical professionals advise caution after the 36th week. It is suggested that certain measures be taken by all pregnant women to pre-empt a possible refusal.

Preparation for Flying when Pregnant

Certain airlines will not consider carrying passengers who have 30 days or less to go to their due date. A letter from a woman’s obstetrician detailing her current health status as well as her expected due date and the unlikelihood of premature labour may go a long way in appeasing nervous airline officials. All necessary pregnancy related medication should be obtained prior to the flight in amounts adequate for the duration of the trip and be kept within convenient reach. Purchasing these in a foreign country may not be possible or may be far more costly. It is also essential that adequate insurance cover be secured.

Insurance Issues

Adequate health insurance is a must in case of the unexpected happening. Many insurers will refuse cover if a woman is in the late stages of pregnancy at the time of flying and, more particularly, if she will be close to term on the return flight. It is highly advisable to discuss every possible scenario with the travel agent prior to finalising flight plans. All insurance issues should be resolved prior to departure and explicit details of any and all restrictions that insurers may impose must be clearly understood and provided for. European health insurance cards are free and will provide the same amount of emergency cover in a member country as would be available at home.

In-flight Precautions

Once boarded on an international flight, pregnant women need to take sensible precautions to ensure their general well-being during flights. Circulatory problems are common in pregnancy and sitting in the same position over a number of hours can exacerbate the problem. Rotating the ankles is beneficial while seated and regular strolls in the aisle will help to promote a healthy blood flow. Cabin crews will be happy supply extra cushions for the comfort of a pregnant woman and these should be requested if necessary.

Despite good health and a pregnancy free of concerns, flying during the later stages of pregnancy does pose some risks. Should premature labour occur, a flight may be forced to land. Giving birth in a foreign country without the support of family may not be the happy occassion that childbirth is meant to be. Although the majority of cases will result in a complication-free pregnancy that continues to term, flying while pregnant should be a carefully considered decision not to be undertaken lightly.

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