Flying when pregnant: Is it safe?
Flying while pregnant should not be a problem for the majority of women, but there are some guidelines to be aware of. Here is the key information you need to know if you’re planning on travelling by plane while pregnant.
Most airlines ask that passengers who are over 28 weeks pregnant present a ‘fit to fly’ certificate. Signed off by your doctor, the letter states your due date and confirms that travelling by plane poses no especial medical risk to you.
However, be warned: the cost of these letters is not covered by the NHS and each doctor can set his or her own fee. They can cost anything from £15 to over £30.
The following guidelines refer to passengers whose pregnancies have been without complications. If you have experienced any complications, speak to your doctor and seek advice before making your travel plans.
It’s simple to know where you stand if you’re travelling by Virgin, British Airways or Ryanair – all three share the same rules when it comes to flying on their services while pregnant.
On these three airlines, mums-to-be can fly up until they are 36 weeks pregnant (32 weeks for multiples). From week 28 onwards, a ‘fit to fly’ letter is required.
Flybe discourages pregnant women from flying after they are 28 weeks pregnant, but allows them to do so up until 34 weeks pregnant, provided they can present a medical certificate signed by their doctor confirming that they are fit for air travel.
Easyjet allows expectant mothers to travel up to the end of their 35th week (or 32nd for multiples).
A fit to fly letter is not required under their official guidelines. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that some women have had issues, particularly when boarding return flights from foreign airports, so you may wish to get a fit to fly letter from your doctor or midwife for peace of mind.
There is a slightly elevated risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) for pregnant women, so if you’re going to be in the air more than a few hours, take care to keep the blood circulating in your legs, and consider investing in compression stockings.
Although it may well turn out that flying is perfectly sound from a medical perspective, it’s for you to think about your own comfort. A lot of women prefer to avoid travelling during the first few months of pregnancy due to the discomfort caused by nausea and fatigue often experienced during this stage.
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