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Flying While Pregnant

Flying While Pregnant: Is it Safe to Fly During Pregnancy?

Nicolle Harwood-Nash
8 minutes read
Last Updated: February 16, 2024

Do you have an upcoming flight to catch while expecting a new addition to the family? You're not alone in wondering about the various aspects of flying while pregnant. Whether it's the safety precautions you need to consider or the airline policies you need to be aware of, there's a lot to unravel before you head to the airport.

In this comprehensive guide, we provide crucial information about flying when pregnant to put your mind at ease. Discover everything you need to know, from medical risks to airline policies, and tips for comfortable air travel during pregnancy. You'll also find a FAQs section to answer any remaining pressing questions you may have.

Is flying safe while pregnant?

If you've ever wondered, "Can I fly pregnant safely?", the answer is, more often than not, yes! Most times, flying isn't detrimental to either your or your baby's health. However, it's always a good idea to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying health issues or any pregnancy complications.

In the second trimester, your energy levels are higher and the risks of experiencing miscarriage or premature labour are lower, making it perhaps the safest time to fly.

Furthermore, airlines have stringent policies in place to safeguard the well-being of pregnant women. It's always recommended to stay informed and adhere to these guidelines to ensure a safe and secure journey as you await the arrival of your new bundle of joy.

Flying while pregnant

What are the medical risks when you’re pregnant?

The primary medical risks of flying while pregnant are:

  • DVT
  • Premature labour
  • Miscarriage

You can explore more on each of these medical risks below:


Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a condition where blood clots form in deep veins, usually in the legs. Pregnant women are at a higher risk due to increased blood volume and hormonal changes. During flights, the risk can be heightened because of prolonged immobility. 

So, if you're travelling while pregnant, it's advised to get up and move around often, stay hydrated, and consider wearing compression socks to reduce the risk.

Premature Labour

Air travel is generally considered safe until the 36th week of pregnancy. It's worth noting, however, that flying can potentially trigger premature labour, especially during the third trimester. This is mostly because of the cabin pressure and the physical strain that travel can put on the body. 

To mitigate this risk, always consult with your healthcare provider before planning your travel and consider keeping your flight durations short in the later stages of your pregnancy.


While it's relatively rare, there's a small risk of miscarriage associated with flying while pregnant, particularly in the first trimester when the pregnancy is still very fragile. This is why many expecting mums choose to avoid air travel during the early stages of pregnancy. 

If you must fly in the early stages of your pregnancy, discuss your travel plans with your doctor to understand the precautions you can take to safeguard your pregnancy.

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When should you stop flying?

It's generally advised to avoid air travel during the late stages of pregnancy, primarily after the 36th week, to prevent the onset of labour at a high altitude and when far from your primary healthcare provider.

Moreover, the third trimester can bring increased discomfort during flight because of swelling and limited mobility. So, as mentioned, planning your travel during the second trimester, when you're likely to be feeling your best, could be an excellent choice. Remember to always consult with your healthcare provider to decide on the most suitable time to travel when pregnant.

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What are the airline policies for pregnant passengers?

Below, you can explore the general policies for pregnant passengers in various jurisdictions: 

UK and EU

  • Doctor’s Note: Many airlines require a doctor's note if you are travelling after 28 weeks of pregnancy. The note should confirm the expected date of delivery and state that you are fit to travel.
  • Airlines Policies: Different airlines have different policies; it's not uncommon for airlines to restrict travel beyond 36 weeks for a single pregnancy and 32 weeks for a multiple pregnancy.
  • Travel Insurance: Ensure your travel insurance covers pregnancy-related events.


It is always best to check the specific guidelines of the country and the airline you are using, as policies might have changed. Also, consider discussing travel plans with your healthcare provider, especially during pregnancy, to ensure safe and comfortable travel.

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How do I make my flight more comfortable?

Flying while pregnant doesn't have to translate to a journey filled with discomfort. With a little planning and some essential items in your carry-on luggage, you can make your flight considerably more comfortable. Here are a few tips that can go a long way in ensuring a pleasant flying experience when pregnant:

Pack some snacks

Nutritional needs increase during pregnancy, and it’s not uncommon to feel sudden bouts of hunger. Packing some healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or granola bars can be a saviour during your flight. Not only will it keep hunger pangs at bay, but having your preferred snacks will also prevent reliance on aeroplane food, which might not always cater to your cravings or dietary needs.

Bring a pillow

Comfort is key during pregnancy, and what better way to ensure it than bringing along a pillow? Whether it's a small neck pillow or a cushion to support your back, having a pillow can drastically increase your comfort levels. It can aid in finding a comfortable seating position and prevent potential backaches during the flight.

Don’t forget compression socks

Long flights can sometimes lead to swelling in the legs, a condition exacerbated during pregnancy. Wearing compression socks can be a fantastic preventative measure. These socks promote healthy blood circulation and can prevent conditions like DVT. Moreover, they can keep your legs from swelling, helping you maintain comfort throughout your journey.

Wear comfortable shoes 

As your pregnancy progresses, you might notice swelling in your feet, making it essential to wear comfortable shoes. Opt for footwear that can be easily taken off to let your feet breathe and prevent any discomfort from shoes that might become tight during the flight. You might even consider bringing a pair of slippers or flip-flops to change into during the flight for added comfort.

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Good to know:

Is it Safe to Use My Cellphone on an Airplane?

Is it Safe to Fly a Plane In a Thunderstorm?

Is it Safe to Fly With an Ear Infection?


To help further with your travel preparations, we've compiled a series of FAQs that touch upon essential aspects of flying during pregnancy. From post-flight actions to ensuring in-flight comfort and safety, we've got you covered. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions pregnant travellers have:

What should I do after the flight?

Once you get off the plane, make it a priority to stretch your legs and walk around to promote circulation, which might have been compromised during the flight. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water, and consider having a light, nutritious meal to replenish your energy.

It's also advisable to monitor how you're feeling and consult a healthcare provider if any unusual symptoms arise. Additionally, give yourself time to adjust and rest before engaging in strenuous activities, thus ensuring both your and your baby's well-being post-flight.

How do I wear my seat belt while pregnant?

While pregnant, it's generally recommended to wear the seat belt low so that it rests below your baby bump, essentially hugging your hips. This position avoids putting direct pressure on your belly and ensures safety for both you and your baby in case of turbulence.

If needed, you can ask the flight attendants for a seat belt extender to make sure you're comfortably and securely buckled in throughout your flight.

What should I eat and drink on a plane while pregnant?

When it comes to in-flight nutrition, maintaining a balanced diet is key. Opt for meals rich in fibre to avoid digestion issues, commonly exacerbated by the change in pressure during the flight. Stay away from gassy foods and beverages, as they can cause discomfort at high altitudes.

Keeping hydrated is vital, but try to avoid caffeinated drinks, instead opting for water, juice, or herbal teas. Also, keep some healthy snacks handy to munch on in case you feel hungry between meals, helping to keep your energy levels steady throughout the flight.

How often should I get up and move around on a plane while pregnant?

While flying, it's recommended that pregnant women get up and move around every 30 to 60 minutes. This regular movement helps prevent swelling and blood clots, which, as discussed, are a heightened risk during pregnancy due to increased blood volume.

Simple stretches and walking down the aisle can promote circulation and prevent stiffness. If it's not feasible to get up frequently, try doing seated exercises or ankle rotations to maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort. Always prioritise your comfort and well-being, and don't hesitate to ask for help if needed.

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