Is Air Traveling Risky For Pregnant Women?

The vast majority of first-time pregnant women are not entirely sure about how to handle this unique experience of being a mother soon. Some of them are so scared of doing something contraindicated that they practically decide to lock themselves inside their home throughout the pregnancy period.

Well, however strange, awkward or scary pregnancy may appear to you, it does not mean you have to cut ties with the rest of the world for the next nine months. And yes, despite the common belief, traveling by plane is perfectly acceptable and safe. Sure, you will need to take a few basic precautions before deciding to take a longer trip. But that’s all there is to it!

Air travel during the first trimester of pregnancy

Numerous obstetricians claim their patients reported a moderate level of discomfort during air travel in the early months of pregnancy. On the other hand, the discomfort level during this phase is normal and there are several methods to minimize its effects. For instance, if you booked a flight on a commercial plane, then you can ask for an aisle seat so you will be able to stretch your legs and have easier access to the restrooms. Another solution would be to charter a private jet so you can lay down comfortably during the flight.

In addition, several studies suggest there is a link between the risk of miscarriage and frequent flights. However, it is important to note that the research connecting the higher risk of losing the baby during the first trimester and air travel is not conclusive. Essentially, physicians state that air travel posses no risk for fetus in this phase if the woman is healthy and the pregnancy is developing accordingly. However, in the eventuality that the woman has certain conditions (placental insufficiency, sickle cell disease or clotting disorders) it is advisable to limit air travel as much as possible.

Air travel during the second trimester of pregnancy According to various gynecologist and obstetrician associations, the second semester of pregnancy (14th to the 28th week) is the best time to organize a trip that involves air travel. At this point, the future mother is beyond the morning sickness and associated pregnancy symptoms specific to the first trimester. Moreover, this pregnancy phase is the least one to lead to various complications. These facts determine most gynecologists to advice their patients to try scheduling most of their flights in the second trimester (if possible).

Despite the fact that you will be feeling your best at this time, it still does not hurt to take the similar precautions as in the first trimester of pregnancy. Essentially, this means carefully choosing your seat for easy access and comfort, wearing your seat belt as well as drinking plenty of fluids. On a side note, it is recommended that you steer clear of carbonated beverages and certain foods to avoid experiencing nausea symptoms.

Air travel during the last trimester of pregnancy

Considering that your due date is just around the corner, air traveling in the last trimester is perceived as riskier. To put it simply, there are certain factors that can lead to premature labor during air travel for some women. Even though the personnel has some basic training and can help you in this kind of situation, they are not professional gynecologists who can recognize and assist you and the baby in case of complications.

However, the main risks are not related to premature birth, but rather to the different complications pregnant women can develop during a longer trip (usually more than 4 hours). The most common and dangerous complications that can appear in late pregnancy is the deep vein thrombosis, a condition that implies the formation of blood clots in the legs. The problem with the aforementioned blood clots comprises of the fact that they can quickly travel to the lungs area, causing a pulmonary embolism and possibly death.

Even though women with healthy pregnancies will probably not experience any of the symptoms above while traveling by plane in the third trimester, it is advisable to play it safe. Therefore, if you planned a longer trip, you can consider chartering a private jet so that you can rest and move around whenever you feel like it. At the same time, you can hire a nurse that can assist you during your travel and make sure everything is alright.