Regarding travel in pregnancy, there are several considerations present but most airlines allow women to fly up to 37 weeks gestation. If you think you will be traveling during this portion of your pregnancy, there are a few factors to consider before planning your next trip.
- A woman may be concerned with the possibility of having pregnancy complications away from her usual source of medical care, as well as the availability of medical resources and their medical insurance coverage at her travel destination.
- The increased risk of venous thromboembolism during pregnancy and the associated prolonged immobility during the trip.
- The potentially increased risk of exposure to infectious diseases (e.g., travelers’ diarrhea, malaria, Zika virus), as well as prophylaxis.
Commercial airline travel is generally safe for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. Fetal heart rate is not affected during flight if the mother and fetus are healthy.
Patients are advised that they should maintain hydration and periodically move their lower extremities to minimize stasis of blood flow and reduce the risk of venous thrombosis. The use of compression stockings and avoidance of restrictive clothing may also be helpful.
Seat belts should be worn continuously to protect against injury from unexpected turbulence. The amount of cosmic radiation received during airline travel is below the level at which there begins to be concern about possible harmful fetal effects (20 millisieverts or 2 rem).
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!