Safety Tips for Flying When Pregnant - PIH Health

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Published on August 16, 2016

Safety Tips for Flying When Pregnant

Safety tips when flying while pregnant

If you are enjoying a healthy pregnancy, planned travel is likely to be safe. “You can fly through 36 weeks of pregnancy” said Sara Soto MD. “Air travel should be avoided during the last month of pregnancy.” When you're pregnant and fly, your blood pressure and heart rate can go up, but experts say it's typically not enough to put you in any danger.

The best time to travel is during your second trimester of pregnancy, the morning sickness and fatigue are fading, and you should be feeling more energetic and more like your old self. Later, your expanding belly could make traveling more challenging. Before booking, be sure to consult with your doctor.

In Flight

Consider the following before and during your flight:

  • Pre-flight diet. Avoid gassy foods (beans, cabbage and broccoli) and carbonated drinks.
  • Buckle up. Keep your seat belt fastened during your entire flight. Be sure to buckle it under your belly, low on the hipbones.
  • Keep Drinking. Be sure to keep hydrated, to keep blood flow to the uterus.
  • Exercise a lot. Your doctor may suggest walking down the aisle every half hour during a smooth flight. When in your seat be sure to flex and extend your ankles to boost circulation.
  • Best Airplane Seat. An aisle seat is the best to get in and out for walks and trips to the bathroom.

Don’t fly internationally if:

  • This is your first pregnancy and you’re 35 or older or 15 and younger.
  • You are carrying more than one baby.
  • You have placental abnormalities, now or in the past.
  • You have any vaginal bleeding or risk of miscarriage.

Also do not fly internationally if you have a history of:

  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Premature labor or premature membrane rupture
  • High blood pressure, diabetes, or preeclampsia in pregnancy

Body scans. The body scan technology used for security at airports is safe during pregnancy, according to the Transportation Security Administration. But you can request a hand or wand search instead.

If you plan to travel to a third world country beware of the Zika Virus

A pregnant woman can pass Zika virus to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend special precautions for the following groups:

  • You should not travel to Americas South of Mexico, including all of Central America and almost all of South America, and also in parts of the South Pacific
  • If you must travel, talk to your physician first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
  • If you have a partner who lives in or has traveled to Mexico, either use condoms (or other barriers to prevent infection) or do not have sex during your pregnancy.

For more information about the Zika Virus visit CDC at

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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