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Safe Flying While Pregnant

In Flight

Here are some things to consider before and during your flight:

  • Pre-flight diet. Avoid gassy foods (beans, cabbage, broccoli) and carbonated drinks. They can make you more uncomfortable in flight.
  • Buckle up. On the plane, keep your seatbelt fastened. Buckle it under your belly, low on the hipbones.
  • Keep drinking. Get plenty of fluids during the flight. If you become dehydrated, it can reduce blood flow to the uterus.
  • Exercise aloft. Your doctor may suggest you walk every half hour or so during a smooth flight. It will help keep blood flowing. In the seat, flex and extend your ankles to boost circulation.
  • Best airplane seat. An aisle seat will make it easier to get in and out for walks and trips to the bathroom. A bulkhead seat is the most spacious, but a seat over the wing will probably give you the smoothest ride.

Get Ready for International Travel

If your destination is international, take some extra precautions.

To avoid the risks of premature labor or health problems, take your trip before the third trimester.

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:

Your doctor will also likely discourage travel:

  • To high altitudes (more than 12,000 feet)
  • To areas with serious disease outbreaks
  • If your destination requires live virus vaccines for protection

Keep Risks in Perspective

Though slightly increased, these risks should not be major concerns.

Blood clots. When you are pregnant, sitting in one spot for a long time can cause blood to pool in your legs. That can raise the risk of blood clots. The recirculated cabin air and low humidity add to the risk. However, the risk is still not huge. You can lower this risk by moving around as often as your doctor recommends.

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