flying when pregnant

Have you thought of flying when pregnant? Whether you have to, on a business trip, or you want to, simply for leisure, it's good to know basic information.

You should know when you can do it and when not, where you should sit or if there are risks for either you and the baby or both. That's why we at Captain Mums want to provide you with a list of essential points that you should know before flying while pregnant.


Flying when pregnant: What to consider

The plane is about to take off, so let's get started!

  1. Can you fly when pregnant? Yes, but...: the doctor will have the final decision. It's ok for you to take a plane as long as you are having a healthy pregnancy. If you are suffering or have suffered from conditions like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, spotting or a previous preterm birth, your GP may try to dissuade you from travelling.

  2. The second trimester, the best option: if you get the OK by your health care provider and you happen to have flexibility to travel, you have to know that flying when pregnant is better during the second trimester, to be more precise from 14 to 27 weeks pregnant. Remember that in the first trimester, pregnancy symptoms may tear you down, while the second tends to go a lot smoother (at that point, morning sickness may stop haunting you, which will make your life way easier, and the risks of having a miscarriage or experiencing a preterm labour are also the lowest).

  3. The deadline is 36 weeks pregnant: yes, the deadline for flying when pregnant is 36 weeks (early on the 9th month). Up to that point, it's considered safe as long as you aren't having any complications.

  4. Get a medical certificate: Some airlines can have an issue with carrying future mummies who are more than 28 weeks pregnant, since they want to avoid dealing with hypothetical premature labours. However, you should be able to ask your GP for a medical certificate that indicates what stage of pregnancy you are in and that you are capable of travelling. You may have to sign a document to exempt the airline from any responsibility, in case something went wrong during the flight. The best thing to do is check the airline policy in advance.

  5. Choose a suitable seat: once your air travel is approved, be careful when doing the checking and choosing the seat. You should let the ticket agents know (don't forget the medical certificate!) that you are pregnant and request an aisle seat, so that you have extra space for your legs. If it's possible, pick one close to the restrooms... just in case!

  6. Wear loose clothes to promote blood circulation: it's important to promote blood circulation if you are flying when pregnant, so you should take action about it. For example, wear loose clothes, make sure to stand up and take walks every hour and, if you can't, at least try flexing and extending your ankles, fingers and toes once in a while. When it comes to fastening your lap belt, do it under your abdomen, so that it doesn't tighten.

  7. Fill up on fluids: as you may already know, drinking extra liquids is essential while expecting a child. Taking that into consideration, if you fly when pregnant you will have to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (the cabin tends to be very dry) and boost blood flow.

And what about the risks? Well, flying when pregnant can actually increase (just slightly, though) the chances for you to have blood clots and grow varicose veins, and that's why doctors recommend wearing support or compression stockings to improve blood flow in your legs. And, in case you are wondering about the radiation exposure while flying and its possible impact on the foetus, you have to know that it may only affect flight attendants or business people who constantly travel. If you do, talk to your GP about it in order to find a solution.


How do you feel about flying when pregnant? As you can see, there's nothing to worry about as long as you follow the medical advice and respect the special timing set by airlines. Also, even if you have to go on a business trip, you need to be honest and ask yourself whether you feel well or not. Remember that the priority here is your wellbeing and the baby's one. But if your pregnancy is going smoothly and you are feeing alright, start packing your suitcase!