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Is it safe to fly when pregnant?

Cosmopolitan (UK) logo Cosmopolitan (UK) 2018-11-07 Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Flying while pregnant can feel like a bit of a minefield, especially when all the different airlines have different rules on it. How far into her pregnancy does British Airways allow women to fly? And how about Ryanair? We speak to a doctor to find out what the risks of flying when pregnant are, and outline the different airlines' regulations. © Cherayut Jankitrattanapokkin / EyeEm - Getty Images Flying while pregnant can feel like a bit of a minefield, especially when all the different airlines have different rules on it. How far into her pregnancy does British Airways allow women to fly? And how about Ryanair? We speak to a doctor to find out what the risks of flying when pregnant are, and outline the different airlines' regulations.

Pregnancy can be a stressful experience for any woman, with the strain it puts her body under. So it makes sense that some people would want to take a holiday to maximise rest and relaxation while their baby is a-cookin'.

But a week away in Cornwall isn't the holiday destination of everyone's dreams, which means: flying. So what's the deal with flying? Is it safe to fly when pregnant? Do airlines allow it? And how late into your pregnancy can you push it?

a large passenger jet flying through a cloudy blue sky: airplane © spooh airplane

"It is generally considered safe to fly in pregnancy," Dr Sara Kayat told Cosmopolitan.com/uk. "But it is worth remembering that in the first trimester pregnant women are often nauseous, exhausted and at a higher risk of miscarriage. So having home comforts during those times are often what’s needed, rather than stressing about navigating an airport and cramming yourself on a flight," she added.

One point to consider from a health perspective includes the risk of developing a blood clot during a flight. "During pregnancy, you are at increased risk of developing clots anyway, but travelling on long-haul flights increases that risk further," Dr Sara advised.

Altitude itself, however, shouldn't incite any specific concern for expectant mothers, as the GP explained: "The higher the altitude, the lower the partial pressure of oxygen. Although studies have shown that the oxygen available to the foetus is still preserved even if the mother’s drops, so travelling at higher altitudes for short durations in a low-risk pregnancy is unlikely to pose any danger."

Generally, Dr Sara explained that "in the last few weeks of pregnancy we also don’t recommend flying, as the chance of going into labour on an aisle floor becomes more realistic." For this reason, she said, "many airlines have a cutoff point."

The problem is, these cut off points can vary from airline to airline, but Skyscanner has conveniently looked into the rules on flying when pregnant in many of the major UK airlines.

Ryanair

Mums-to-be who haven’t experienced any complications can fly up to 28 weeks of pregnancy on Ryanair. Post-28 weeks (with an uncomplicated pregnancy) a 'fit to fly' letter is required. Travel is not permitted beyond the end of the 36th week of pregnancy for a single pregnancy, or for multi babies, travel is not permitted beyond the end of the 32nd week of pregnancy.

You can find out more information here.

easyJet

EasyJet advises that mum-to-be who have experienced any complications during their pregnancy should consult their medical practitioner before flying. Pregnant women can travel on the airline up to the end of the 35th week for single pregnancies, or up until the 32nd week for multiple babies.

You can find out more information here.

British Airways

The airline allows travel up until the end of the 36th week if pregnant with one baby, and the end of the 32nd week if pregnant with more than one baby. British Airways recommends that mums-to-be carry a confirmation from a doctor or midwife of whether the pregnancy is single or multiple, the expected due date, and that there are no complications.

You can find out more information here.

Flybe

For uncomplicated pregnancies, the airline allows travel up to 28 weeks into pregnancy. For pregnancies between 28 and 33 weeks, travel is permitted if the passenger has a valid medical certificate. The airline does not allow any travel from 34 weeks onwards.

You can find out more information here.

Virgin

For uncomplicated pregnancies, the airline allows travel up to 28 weeks into pregnancy. For single pregnancies between 28 to 36 weeks, travel is permitted if travellers have a valid medical certificate. For multiple pregnancies, a valid medical certificate is required between 28 and 32 weeks. The airline does not allow travel from 36 weeks onwards for single pregnancies, and 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies.

You can find out more information here.

Thomas Cook

For uncomplicated pregnancies, the airline allows travel up to 28 weeks into pregnancy without a medical notes. The airline does not allow travel from 36 weeks onwards for single pregnancies, and 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies

You can find out more information here.

Jet2

For uncomplicated pregnancies, the airline allows women to travel up to 28 weeks. For single pregnancies between 28 to 36 weeks, travel is permitted if travellers have a valid medical certificate. For multiple pregnancies, a valid medical certificate is required between 28 and 32 weeks. The airline does not allow travel from 35 weeks onward for single pregnancies, and 33 weeks onward for multiple pregnancies.

You can find out more information here.

Emirates

For uncomplicated pregnancies, the airline allows travel up to 28 weeks into pregnancy. For single pregnancies between 28 to 36 weeks, travel is permitted if travellers have a valid medical certificate. For multiple pregnancies, a valid medical certificate is required between 28 and 32 weeks. Travel from 36 weeks onwards for single pregnancies, and 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies, will only be permitted only after prior clearance from Emirates Medical Services.

You can find out more information here.

KLM

The airline advises that women that are over 36 weeks pregnant are recommended not to fly. For multiple pregnancies, they recommend consulting a doctor first. For mums-to-be who have had complications, you are required to have permission to fly from a health professional before flying.

You can find out more information here.

Norwegian

The airline allows mums to be to fly up to 36 weeks without a medical certificate. If you wish to fly after 36 weeks then the flight cannot be longer than 4 hours and a medical certificate is required. You are not allowed to fly in the two weeks before you are due.

You can find out more information here.

"Air travel is considered safe throughout most of your pregnancy providing it has been uncomplicated," summarised Dr Sara. But for mothers-to-be who do choose to fly, she advised taking measures to negate any risks associated with air travel.

"Stay well hydrated, sit in an aisle seat to get more leg room and to be able to stand up easily, and walk around and perform exercises to get the blood in the legs pumping round," said the doctor. "If you have any concerns prior to your flight discuss them with your GP."

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Related: World's funniest flight attendant leaves passengers in hysterics (Provided by Inc.)

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