Air travel and pregnancy
There are certain people who should either avoid flying or are banned from it, altogether. These restrictions are usually applied to those with certain illnesses that could put their lives at risk. Pregnant women are just a fraction of those with flying restrictions. If you’re a pregnant you might need to reconsider your travels.
For most pregnant women, their second trimester is the ideal time to travel and even fly. This period is between the weeks 14 and 27. This is because your morning sickness will be gone, the risk of losing the pregnancy is minimized, and you’ll generally feel more energetic. In any case, you’ll still have to talk to your doctor or midwife before traveling. You might even ask for information on a good doctor just in case you’ll need to pay a visit to one at your destination.
While flying during the first trimester is not recommended as the chances of losing the baby are generally higher, flying and traveling in the last trimester can cause an early birth. While many babies that were born before term grew up to be healthy, they generally had to stay in incubators for some time. The risk of giving birth while in mid air is also pretty high, and some airlines will ban women with advanced pregnancies to board. The flight attendants can assist a woman in labor to give birth, but they don’t have the training needed for specific situations, like an emergency C-section.
Many pregnant women are worried these days about going through the security check. They’re generally scared their unborn baby will suffer some sort of damage, however recent technology minimizes this risk, and this means that a refrigerator magnet is actually more dangerous than the ones used by the airport’s security staff. The machines that use X-rays to scan travelers use very low intensity rays, that pose no dangers to your fetus, especially not during the few seconds it takes to get scanned.
Many pregnant women choose to be completely safe when going through security, and request a pat down. Some doctors will even recommend this option simply because there are not enough studies to prove the scanning gates and devices are completely harmless. Pregnant women should listen to their gut instinct, even if they should wait for longer: male TSA are not allowed to pat down female travelers.
Pregnant women should make sure they fly only on commercial airplanes for their cabins are pressurized to ensure passengers’ comfort. Smaller non-commercial planes are not pressures and this can affect both the mother and the baby. Some women with specific health related conditions are advised not to fly at all during their pregnancies. Some of these conditions include a high risk of developing blood clots, placental insufficiency, or severe sickle cell anemia.
Whatever the case might be, it is always a good idea to carry a copy of your health record with you. Should you need to be evaluated by a doctor at your destination, they will know whether to prescribe medicine or not, and which type.