NHS website - Is it safe to fly while pregnant?

Is it safe to fly while pregnant?

It's usually safe to fly while you're pregnant and it shouldn't harm your baby if pregnancy is straightforward. 

Most airlines will not let you fly after week 37 of pregnancy, or week 32 if you're pregnant with twins or more babies.

What to do before you fly?

If you're planning on travelling by plane, you should discuss it with your midwife or GP first.

Some women try to avoid travelling in the first 12-15 weeks of pregnancy, because exhaustion and nausea tend to be worse at this early stage.

Before you book your tickets, check with your airline and insurance company that they will allow you to travel while pregnant. After you get to 28 weeks, most airlines require a letter from your midwife or GP confirming:

  • that you're in good health
  • that you have a normal pregnancy
  • the expected date of delivery

Be aware that your GP may charge you for the letter.

Some airlines may require medical clearance if:

  • your delivery date is less than 4 weeks after your departure date
  • complications are expected in your delivery

This may involve your GP or midwife filling in a form, or an assessment by the airline staff.

Check with your airline, as the restrictions can vary.

Risk of blood clots when flying

Flying for longer than 4 hours (long-haul travel) increases your risk of getting blood clots (thrombosis). It's not known if this risk gets higher when you are pregnant.    

Wearing correctly-fitted compression stockings will reduce your risk of blood clots and fluid being retained in your legs (oedema). You can buy these over the counter in a pharmacy.

The following things can also reduce your risk of blood clots: 

  • calf exercises – most airlines provide information on these
  • walking around the aircraft when possible
  • wearing loose, comfortable clothing

Read some more tips to help you have a healthy and comfortable flight.  

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