Is it Safe to Fly If you are Pregnant?

Dr. Aruna Ashok

According to ACOG/ RCOG Guidelines
• In the absence of obstetric or medical complications, occasional air travel is safe for pregnant women.
• Pregnant women can fly safely, observing the same precautions for air travel as the general population.
• Note: ACOG- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
• RCOG- Royal college of Obstetrics and Gynecology
If Air turbulence Occurs
• Because severe air turbulence cannot be predicted and the subsequent risk for trauma is significant should this occur, pregnant women should be instructed to use their seat belts continuously while seated.
Leg Swelling and Blood Clots
Preventive measures can be used to minimize these risks
• use of support stockings
• periodic movement of the legs
• avoidance of restrictive clothing
• occasional ambulation
• maintenance of adequate hydration
If having risk for DVT
• Regardless of the length of your flight, you may be advised to have heparin injections. These will thin your blood and help prevent a DVT.
• A heparin injection should be taken on the day of the flight and daily for a few days afterwards.
• For security reasons, you will need a letter from your doctor to enable you to carry these injections onto the plane.
Cosmic Radiation
• For most air travelers, the risks to the fetus from exposure to cosmic radiation are negligible.
• Aircrew or frequent flyers may exceed these limits. The Federal Aviation Administration and the International Commission on Radiological Protection consider aircrew to be occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation and recommend that they be informed about radiation exposure and health risks.
Who are at Risks?
If you are at increased risk of going into labor before your due date.
• You have severe anemia. This is when the level of red blood cells in your blood is lower than normal. Red blood cells contain the iron-rich pigment hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around your body.
• You have sickle cell disease (a condition which affects red blood cells) and you have recently had a sickle crisis.
• You have recently had significant vaginal bleeding.
• You have a serious condition affecting your lungs or heart that makes it very difficult for you to breathe.
Anyway consult your doctor before planning to fly
• Will I have to go through a security scanner?
You will have to go through the normal security checks before flying. This is not considered to be a risk to you or your baby.
• Can I wear a seatbelt?
You must wear a seatbelt. You should ensure the strap of your seatbelt is reasonably tightly fastened across the top of your thighs and then under your bump. Ask the cabin crew if you need a seatbelt extension.

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