Flying During Third Trimester

Airplane preparing to take flight

Pregnant women may be wondering whether flying during third trimester is something they will be allowed to do. The answer is not a simple one--it depends on the policy of the airline, the timing of the flight, and the woman's health.

Flying During Pregnancy

For many women, flying during pregnancy is quite safe. Some of them may even be traveling by air before they even know they are expecting. The first trimester can be a time when the mother-to-be is plagued by morning sickness and general fatigue. She may not be feeling very comfortable physically during this time and may choose to avoid air travel until these symptoms subside.

It's a good idea for a pregnant woman to check with her doctor before making travel arrangements. If the pregnancy is progressing normally, there should be no reason why the woman can't take a trip. However, if she is or has been experiencing spotting or her blood pressure is elevated, it may be a good idea to avoid getting on the flight.

Flying during Third Trimester for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women have a lot to think about when they consider flying during third trimester. Most airlines have restrictions about pregnant women flying close to their due date because of concern about the woman going into labor during the flight. Even for an uncomplicated birth, an aircraft and its crew is not equipped to provide appropriate medical care for the woman and her baby.

Each airline sets its own policy about flying during the latter part of pregnancy. For some airlines, the cutoff for pregnant women who want to fly is the 35-week mark, while other carriers will allow a pregnant woman on board up to two weeks before her due date. Some airlines will allow a woman to get on board close to her due date if she can provide a note from her doctor.

Comfort During the Flight

If a woman decides to fly during the last several weeks of her pregnancy, there are some things she can do to feel more comfortable while on board. The air in the cabin tends to be dry, so she will want to be sure to drink plenty of water while on board to stay well hydrated. Dehydration is one of the risk factors for premature labor, which is another reason to keep fluid intake high while on board the plane.

As the baby grows and the due date approaches, increased pressure on the mother-to-be's bladder means that she will need to use the bathroom more often. The woman should request an aisle seat to make it easier for her to get to the restroom as needed.

Hazards Associated with Air Travel

A pregnant woman who has high blood pressure may want to consider a different mode of transportation. Traveling in a pressurized cabin may cause the numbers to rise even more, which could be dangerous to the woman and her unborn child. A woman who has a history of blood clots or who has been identified as being at risk for premature labor, would be well advised to avoid traveling as she gets close to her due date.

Each pregnancy is different and the best course of action for a woman who considers flying late in pregnancy is to discuss her plans with her doctor. Her healthcare provider is the right person to advise her about any risks associated with this type of travel, no matter what the policy of a particular airline is about pregnant women and travel.

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Flying During Third Trimester