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What to Know About Flying While Pregnant

Flying while pregnant is a topic that often sparks numerous questions and concerns for expectant mothers. Traveling during pregnancy can be safe, but it's essential to be well-informed and take precautions to ensure a smooth journey for both you and your baby. Here, we'll explore the risks associated with flying during pregnancy, the best times to travel, what to do before your trip, and some essential tips for a safe and comfortable flight.


Is Flying Safe During Pregnancy?

Flying is safe during pregnancy for women up to 36 weeks who aren’t dealing with pregnancy complications or don’t have a high-risk pregnancy. Some women with high-risk pregnancies may fly until 24 weeks, while others may be advised to avoid air travel altogether. However, these are general statements, and you should always see your doctor to determine whether flying is safe for you.

When speaking with your doctor before a trip, always include the length of your flight; the longer you’re flying, the higher the risks are. If you’re far along in your pregnancy, you may also need to obtain a letter that confirms your due date for boarding purposes.

Risks of Flying While Pregnant

Although traveling during pregnancy is generally considered to be safe up until 36 weeks, there are still some risk factors to be aware of. These risks are similar for everyone but may be higher for expecting mothers. Some of the most notable risks of flying while pregnant include:

  • Blood Clots — Air travel increases your risk of blood clots in the legs (venous thrombosis). Risk increases with pregnancy but can be reduced with regular moving and stretches.
  • Body Scans — Some more advanced body scans release high amounts of radiation. It’s recommended to alert TSA of your pregnancy and undergo a pat down if you’re worried about this exposure.
  • Radiation — Air travel exposes everyone to radiation, which may be a concern during pregnancy. Although exposure is minimal, frequent flights during pregnancy can increase your risk of complications.
  • Blood Pressure and Heart Rate — Flying can reduce oxygen levels, which may affect blood pressure and heart rate. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or underlying conditions before flying.


Best Times to Travel During Pregnancy

The best time to fly during pregnancy is between 14 and 28 weeks. This is when your body has likely overcome any morning sickness, and your energy levels are back up. Many expecting mothers also still have plenty of mobility during this time, making the physical process of traveling much less taxing. However, everyone is different, so it’s important to listen to your body and do what’s right for you.


What to Do Before Flying While Pregnant

Flying while pregnant doesn’t have to be scary, but it helps if you’re prepared both mentally and physically. To help with this, consider some of the following to-do list items to cover before you board the plane.

Schedule a Check-Up

A few days before your trip, try to get an appointment with your OB-GYN. Even if it’s not the right week for your prenatal check-up, getting seen before you take off can help ease your peace of mind and ensure you start your journey on the right foot. During this time, make sure that your doctor clears you to fly while pregnant. If there are complications that make it dangerous to fly, listen to your doctor and stay home.

Ask Your OB-GYN Questions

There are several things that can help make your experience flying while pregnant more comfortable. Ask your OB-GYN about their recommendations. These may include decompression stockings, nausea remedies, acupressure bands, pregnancy-safe remedies for gas and diarrhea, and more. If you’re flying internationally, ask if you need updated vaccinations — including the flu shot.

Check Airline Policies

Every airline has a different policy regarding flying restrictions while pregnant. Always check with your airline before purchasing your ticket. This will inform you about their policies and what you’ll need before boarding. Some airlines may require a doctor’s note that verifies your due date, especially if you’re showing. 

Check Insurance Policies

While most insurance providers extend coverage nationwide, you should double-check to be sure. If you’re going out of the country, it’s recommended that you purchase a supplemental policy to ensure you’re covered in the case of any accidents or dangerous pregnancy symptoms.

Plan for Prenatal Care

You should continue doing things on your vacation that boost your prenatal health. To help, take the time to do a little extra planning. If you need a check-up while on vacation, ask your doctor for recommendations on OB-GYNs in your destination. Otherwise, pack all of your prenatal vitamins and pregnancy products to help you support a healthy pregnancy while you’re away.

Pack Your Medical Records

Pack your medical records — just in case. You can have a digitalized version or a hard copy in your hand luggage. While you likely won’t need them, it’s always good to be prepared.

Check Destination Information

Do some research before you leave so you have information on doctors and hospitals at your destination. If you’ve been cleared for travel, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to see someone, but it’s always better to have a name on hand in case of emergencies.


Tips for Flying Safely While Pregnant

When you’re in the air, you can do a few things to help increase your safety. Flying while pregnant doesn’t cause too many additional risks, but it can still strain your body—regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not. Some tips for flying safely while pregnant include the following:

Focus on Seat Belt Placement

For safety purposes, it’s important to keep your seat belt fastened at all times while seated. However, if your baby bump is a bit big, you might not know where the seat belt should go. To keep your baby safe, make sure your seat belt buckle is under your belly and low across the hip bones. If you need an extender or aren’t sure if your placement is correct, ask the flight crew for help.

Consider Food Options

Long-haul flights and some business or first-class cabins offer a meal during the journey. If you will be served food, consider your options ahead of time. There are options to mark specific food preferences when you purchase your ticket (i.e., vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.). You may need to contact the airline to learn more, but avoiding foods that you know upset your stomach or cause gas can make the flight more comfortable. If you’re not sure what will be served, bring your own meal for your flight. You can take solid foods through security or purchase something in the terminal before takeoff.

Stay Hydrated

The altitude change that happens in a plane can be extremely dehydrating. To ensure you’re staying hydrated, make sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to reduced fetal blood flow, so extra trips to the bathroom are worth it. To avoid calling the flight attendants every few minutes, bring your own water bottle to fill once you pass security.

Keep Moving

Flying while pregnant can increase your risk of blood clots, but moving around the cabin can help. Try to get up at least once every half hour to walk around the cabin, go to the bathroom, or simply stand next to your seat.

Choose an Aisle Seat

Moving around can help encourage a healthy blood flow, but squeezing past other passengers can be uncomfortable. Choose an aisle seat when booking your flight to help ensure that you can get up and move whenever you need to. However, avoid booking the emergency exit row, as the flight crew may ask you to move when they see you’re pregnant.

Avoid Lifting Heavy Bags

You should avoid lifting heavy objects during pregnancy, especially as you progress into the third trimester. Unless you’re a seasoned weightlifter who has cleared it with your doctor ahead of time, ask someone to help you put your bag into the overhead cabin.


Flying while pregnant isn’t necessarily dangerous, as long as you’re cleared by your doctor and well prepared. Before taking off for your trip, get yourself organized and start preparing for the arrival of your little one by ordering an insurance-covered breast pump. Byram Healthcare makes ordering easy for new and expecting mothers. We partner with various insurance providers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Anthem, Ambetter, United Healthcare, Cigna, and more to help you find the perfect pump for your needs. We also offer several options for ordering breast pump replacement parts and accessories. If you need any assistance throughout the process, don’t hesitate to contact one of our specialists today.