Contrary to what most people think, pregnancy should not be a hindrance to what you are supposed to and supposed to be. In fact, for some moms, knowing that they are carrying a life inside of their wombs filled them with a newly found strength to strive harder and reach for higher goals. All of these tasks to fulfill the dream of giving the soon-to-be-born bundle of joy, the good life it rightfully deserves.
What do you do, however, if the activity you are supposed to do might pose a danger to your beloved unborn? What do you do if the task entails flying while pregnant?
It is sure is an exciting experience, going places with your little angel but you must be tad sure that you are in a condition that is safe to fly.
Is flying while pregnant safe?
Yes. It is safe as long as you don’t have existing conditions that prohibits you from getting involved in potentially stressful activities. The anxiety and jet lag from flying might be dangerous for a complicated pregnancy, so discuss with your midwife or obstetrician whether this is a good decision or not.
Some health providers do not allow flying during the 1st twelve weeks of pregnancy as this is the most delicate time for the fetus. This is the period of rapid growth and development, especially of the vital organs of the fetus. Any accident during this crucial period might result to anomalies in baby.
Things to Check before Flying
Policy of the airlines
The airlines will not ask whether you are pregnant or not when you reserve tickets online. You might encounter a problem on the day of your flight when the guards do not let you board the plane because of your bloated belly.
It is a must that you check on the airline’s policy before you book a ticket. Some companies will not let you fly when you are in your third trimester, fearing that you might encounter an emergency medical situation while on board and that they might be held liable for it. I don’t know if you have fantasies giving birth airborne but it is not an ideal place for your baby to take his first breath because of the dearth of appropriate equipment, facilities and supplies in case something goes wrong.
Some agencies will not let you fly as early as the 28th week. However, if you provide a certification from your health care provider that you are fit to fly and your pregnancy is as normal as it can be, you are cleared to go.
Medical Clearance from your doctor
As mentioned earlier, some airlines and agencies may require you to present documents proving that you are fit to fly. This may also include:
- Certification of good health
- Proof indicating that you have a normal pregnancy
- Age of gestation (how many weeks of pregnancy)
- Expected date of delivery
Know your Destination
It is important that you do research about your destination: the nearest and the best hospitals in your area, their policies on health care, the local diseases you might be able to contract and other relevant information. Know if you will need vaccinations for their endemic diseases and look for hospitals that will be able to cater your health card and insurance if in case you need medical attention while travelling.
Things to remember when flying while pregnant
It is no secret that a pregnant woman feels a wide array of discomforts all throughout this nine month journey. Sitting still for hours on a jet traversing the skies may pose certain problems to the woman, if not addressed properly.
These are some of the things that you should keep in mind when you board the plane:
Thrombosis or Blood clots
Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing blood clots, especially when they maintain a specific position for long periods of time. Sitting still for hours may impede the circulation in the lower legs, preventing the return of the blood in the veins. This venous stasis (pooling of blood) may possibly develop into a clot in the leg.
This thrombus is dangerous when it gets dislodged and travels to the heart causing myocardial infection (heart attack), to the brain and cause stroke or to your lungs causing pulmonary embolism. These conditions are fatal if not addressed immediately.
In order to prevent this, make sure that your feet are planted on the floor. If your legs are too short that you do not reach the floor, request for a small stool or a foot rest for you to place your soles on. Dangling feet pose higher risk of developing thrombus. If it is allowed to take walks in the craft, take pleasure to do so. This will promote good perfusion in your lower extremities and also help alleviate your boredom.
Also, you may be required to wear embolic stockings. These stocking provide for more effective circulation in the legs. You can perform calf exercises before and during the flight so that no clots form. And, wear comfortable shoes! No heels please.
After the flight and you weren’t able to do the above pointer, all you have to do now is to watch out for signs of clots. If you notice that one of your leg is painful when you walk, it is reddened and slightly swollen as compared to your other leg, this is a warning that you have developed thrombophlebitis (inflammation of vein due to clots). Contact your health care provider immediately.
Drink plenty of water
Dehydration may cause premature labor contractions so keep in mind to stay hydrated during your long travels. Also, pregnant women experience diuresis or frequent urination so you need to replace all these fluid losses.
Fasten it securely but not too tightly that it hurts your bump. Position it carefully below your tummy so you feel comfortable flying while pregnant.
Make sure you know the drill on using the oxygen masks and other lifesaving measures in the craft. Well, you’ll never know if you’ll need them so better be prepared.