With the summer holidays approaching, lots of you are looking forward to a sunny break abroad. But would you fly in late pregnancy? And would you think to consult your doctor before setting off for foreign climes?
A recent report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has said that air travel poses no significant risk, but before you head off on holiday, take a look at our top tips on keeping you and your baby safe when flying and travelling abroad:
1. Make a doctor's appointment to check if you’re safe to travel
You’ll normally be fine, but it’s best to have a chat especially if you’re in your first three months of pregnancy, had a previous miscarriage or have any problems like spotting, diabetes or high blood pressure. Also discuss your options if you suffer from morning sickness, as flight-induced motion sickness can make it worse, says RCOG. Also tell your GP where you’re planning on visiting – exotic holidays that require vaccinations or malaria tablets may have to be put on hold for now, but your doctor can advise you.
2. Check your airline's policy on pregnant passengers
Airlines usually require a doctor’s letter of confirmation for passengers who are more than 28 weeks pregnant – and most won’t let you fly past eight months. However, according to RCOG you can fly up to your 36th week with no significant risk to you or your baby – 32 weeks if you are at risk of early labour or are having twins.
3. Don’t forget to pack your pregnancy medical notes
Your notes contain valuable information for doctors and midwives about your medical background and the health of your baby. It’s also worth checking out the nearest hospitals and doctors’ surgeries at your destination – just in case you have an emergency. And don’t forget your European Health Insurance Card if you’re travelling in Europe.
4. Make sure you’ve got appropriate insurance
It might sound obvious but make sure you’re fully covered for the stage of pregnancy you’re at when you fly out – and also the return journey. Most policies will cover you for any complications but it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with what you’re entitled to.
5. Get ready for your flight
Ask for an aisle seat on the plane so you can get up, stretch your legs and nip to the loo. You don’t need to worry about airport security scanners, RCOG says they pose no threat. However if you are uncomfortable about going through them, you can speak to the security team at the airport. During the flight, keep your circulation moving to help reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – wearing compression socks can help swollen legs. Air humidity is often very dry, so keep your fluids up by drinking plenty of water. RCOG also mentions that any drop in cabin pressure during the flight carries little risk to healthy pregnant women.