Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Travel by Air? (with pictures)

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Most doctors believe that it is safe for a pregnant woman to travel by air.
Most doctors believe that it is safe for a pregnant woman to travel by air.

Many question whether it is safe for pregnant women to travel by air. When you’re talking about commercial airlines, and not rocket ships, parasailing, or bungee jumping, most doctors believe that it is safe for healthy pregnant women to fly under most circumstances. There are a few contraindications to flying when you are pregnant, and some airlines may not allow it after the 36th week of pregnancy, unless you have a note from a medical professional clearing you to fly.

It is important for pregnant women to drink water when flying to prevent dehydration.
It is important for pregnant women to drink water when flying to prevent dehydration.

It’s also the case that it may not be safe for pregnant women to travel by air frequently. While in flight, you are exposed to low levels of radiation. Consistent exposure, if you are a flight attendant or a pilot may make flying on too regular a basis unsafe, since radiation — even in low levels — can affect fetal development. Airlines frequently have rules to protect their employees from retaining their regular jobs if they are pregnant. This may not apply if you work at a job, not at an airline, where you must travel by air frequently. If your job or lifestyle requires frequent travel, you may need to discuss the potential impacts on your pregnancy and fetal health.

After 36 weeks, some airlines may not allow a pregnant woman to fly without written consent from a medical professional.
After 36 weeks, some airlines may not allow a pregnant woman to fly without written consent from a medical professional.

Most medical experts suggest that it is safe for pregnant women to fly during the first two trimesters, but recommend not flying during the third trimester unless absolutely necessary. Cautions during the first trimester may have more to do with physical comfort than anything else. Provided a woman is healthy and the pregnancy is progressing normally, air travel is usually fine, but it may make early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and nasal congestion worse. There’s also some concern about the rate of catching viruses or infections on crowded planes, especially on long flights. Since some viruses can put you and your baby at risk, especially during the first three months, you might want to save traveling for the second trimester of your pregnancy.

Women who have pre-existing medical conditions should not travel by air.
Women who have pre-existing medical conditions should not travel by air.

It’s also possible to make it safer for pregnant women to travel by air, by observing a few precautions. Though rare, occasionally air travel will cause clotting of the blood in the legs, which can lead to an embolism or stroke. To avoid this risk, use compression stockings, and get up every half hour to walk around, restoring good blood circulation to your legs. It’s also recommended that you drink plenty of water on long trips, since flying can dehydrate the body.

Women who are at risk for premature labor should generally avoid traveling by air.
Women who are at risk for premature labor should generally avoid traveling by air.

Sometimes, it is not safe for a pregnant woman to travel by air, particularly if she has a pre-existing medical condition or a complicated pregnancy. If you have prenatal diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, heart conditions of any kind, problems with your placenta, or any other conditions that make your pregnancy high risk, you should consult a medical professional before you make your travel plans. Women who at risk for miscarriage or premature labor may also be told to avoid flying, and a women carrying a child with a severe medical condition may be asked not to fly in the third trimester to avoid the potential problems early labor might pose.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent InfoBloom contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent InfoBloom contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon327424

My wife is eight months pregnant now, so is it safe for us to travel or not? Please advise me.

anon313308

I am nine weeks pregnant right now and planning to fly to Leh after the 12th week and then stay with my husband there as long as my condition allows. Can I fly from Delhi to Leh and come back during my sixth month? It's a one hour, 10 minute flight. I was staying in Leh when I conceived and was four weeks pregnant when I flew from Leh to Delhi. Please help and guide me.

anon148263

i am seven weeks pregnant. can i travel from mumbai to bangalore by air?

altima

i am 12 weeks pregnant and i want to fly to pakistan from dubai and i want to stay for two months in pakistan. can i travel by air? Please reply to me.

anon137743

I am 8 weeks pregnant and I am planning to fly going to Philippines on Jan 19. Is it safe for me to do it?

anon135337

i am 11 weeks pregnant. I am planning to fly to india for 18 days and then i will come back.

Can i fly to kerala, india? please reply to me.-- jasnikk

anon101882

I am three weeks pregnant woman. I have my tickets to fly to India from US. Do I have to cancel the ticket?

anon97805

My wife is four months pregnant. can she fly from india to dubai? please let me know. --Riyaz

anon87567

i am three months pregnant. can i travel to india from australia? but i am worried about the hot weather it is in high 50. --priyanka

anon85170

i am five months pregnant. can i fly to Dubai from pakistan? Is it safe for me and my baby?

anon74126

I am planning to fly to India from US in my 12th week and in June to Patna.I think the in-air part is OK as long as I do exercise, keep hydrated etc.

But it is going to be very hot in Patna that time - what precautions should I take?

anon69108

actually i am planning to fly to india in 26th week of my pregnancy. is it safe to travel by air?

anon61401

I am planning to fly to india from singapore and i am 4-5 weeks pregnant. is it safe to travel and can i travel?

anon50249

The 26th week refers to the seventh month. what's the problem in traveling?

anon50248

Actually I am planning to fly to India from america but now I am in 26 weeks pregnant.

Can I travel by air or not?

anon49244

yes you can but not in the seventh month.

anon40241

i am 6 months pregnant. can i fly to Dubai from India? Is it safe for me and my baby?

anon38540

actually i am planning to fly to india from dubai but now i am in 30 weeks pregnant. can i travel by air or not?

anon31081

Actually I am planning to fly to India from Dubai but now I am in 6 weeks pregnant.

Can I travel by air or not?

S.Chandrika

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    • Most doctors believe that it is safe for a pregnant woman to travel by air.
      Most doctors believe that it is safe for a pregnant woman to travel by air.
    • It is important for pregnant women to drink water when flying to prevent dehydration.
      It is important for pregnant women to drink water when flying to prevent dehydration.
    • After 36 weeks, some airlines may not allow a pregnant woman to fly without written consent from a medical professional.
      After 36 weeks, some airlines may not allow a pregnant woman to fly without written consent from a medical professional.
    • Women who have pre-existing medical conditions should not travel by air.
      Women who have pre-existing medical conditions should not travel by air.
    • Women who are at risk for premature labor should generally avoid traveling by air.
      Women who are at risk for premature labor should generally avoid traveling by air.
    • Pregnant women should consider wearing compression stockings during air travel to prevent their legs from clotting.
      Pregnant women should consider wearing compression stockings during air travel to prevent their legs from clotting.
    • Compression stockings can reduce a pregnant woman's risk of getting blood clots in her lower legs when flying.
      Compression stockings can reduce a pregnant woman's risk of getting blood clots in her lower legs when flying.