The lowdown on travel during pregnancy
If you're planning to travel while pregnant, you’re probably wondering if it is safe. We spoke to a GP to get the lowdown.
Flying and pregnancy
A common question is, “Can I fly while I’m pregnant?” The general recommendation is to plan any flights for the second trimester (between 13 and 24 weeks) if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. Despite this, many women fly early in a pregnancy either without knowing they’re pregnant or because the trip was already booked, which is generally fine.
Dr Ross advises that some key issues to consider when flying in the first trimester are exhaustion and morning sickness, both of which can make travel more difficult. As a precaution, it’s important to ensure you have both medical and personal support (or know where to find them) at your destination should you need them.
If you’re travelling after the 28-week mark, you’re likely to be carrying more weight than normal, which can make flying while pregnant uncomfortable and tiring. As you approach your due date the risk of some other complications increases too.
Airline policies on pregnancy
In Australia, if you’re flying after 28 weeks you’ll be expected to carry a letter from your doctor certifying that you’re fit to travel.
For flights longer than four hours, most airlines won’t allow you to travel after 36 weeks for a routine single pregnancy or after 32 weeks for multiple ones.
Some airlines will allow you to fly up until the start of your 40th week as long as the flight is four hours or shorter, the pregnancy has no complications and you’re not carrying multiple babies.
It’s important however, to check with the individual airline your flying with for their policy on this.
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Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) risk
For flights less than four hours, no special precautions are usually needed. Longer flights increase your risk of getting blood clots in the deep veins of your legs or pelvis (deep vein thrombosis) if you’re pregnant. These can be life-threatening if the clot travels to your lungs.
So if you’re flying long-haul (or travelling by bus or train), it’s recommended that you take precautions such as:
- Wearing compression stockings (the ones especially designed for pregnant women)
- Remaining hydrated
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Walking in the aisle
- Doing leg exercises when you’re seated.
Places to avoid
Bupa Travel Insurance is distributed by Bupa HI Pty Ltd ABN 81 000 057 590 an authorised representative of the issuer, CGU Insurance Ltd ABN 29 004 478 371 AFSL 238291. Any advice is general only and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement to see if this product is right for you.