Q&A: Is plane travel safe during pregnancy?
I have a trip coming up for work. Is it OK for me to fly? When should I not fly?
Travel in the first trimester can be uncomfortable for some women due to morning sickness. The second trimester and early in the third trimester seem to be the safest and most comfortable time for women to travel. But make sure you check with your airline for any restrictions they may have. Most often, you’ll find that airlines restrict travel for women past 36 weeks. If you have experienced pre-term labor symptoms, bleeding, or other pregnancy complications, it is probably best to hold off on air travel until after your baby is safely delivered.
One concern many women have is the safety of passing through airport screening machines. Rest assured, according to ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), passing through an airports screening machines poses no threat to you or your baby.
Before going on a trip, check in with your doctor or midwife and share your travel plans. If your healthcare provider gives you the green light to travel, it is a good idea to have a copy of your medical records and the name of a doctor in the area you will be visiting. You might want to ask if there are medications for travel-related nausea that are safe to take during pregnancy, such as vitamin B6 (100 mg tablet), Emetrol (if you’re not diabetic), or Emetrex.
Traveling by plane brings up so many questions for women who are pregnant. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
- Stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water
- Wear loose comfortable clothing
- Bring snacks such as crackers or granola bars for a quick energy boost or to quell nausea
- Walk around the plane for prevent stiffness and promote good circulation.(if there is turbulence, go back to your seat and ask for assistance if you need it—your balance can sometimes be a bit unstable depending on your size and week of pregnancy)
- Ask for an aisle seat to make it easy to get to the bathroom and for walking
- Wear your seatbelt while seated to prevent injury related to turbulence
- If you don’t feel well or are having contractions, alert the flight attendant immediately. They are trained to assist you.