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flying in pregnancy

If there’s one thing you can’t guarantee in Ireland, it’s good weather. So there’s nothing better than having a sunny break abroad to look forward to. But would you fly in late pregnancy? And would you think to consult your doctor before setting off for foreign climes?

The HSE states that, “air travel is not harmful for your baby, but some airlines will not let you fly towards the end of your pregnancy” and also that, “in most cases, if you are well and healthy and take necessary precautions, there should be no reason not to travel.” So what are the things you should consider before you head off on holiday? Take a look at our top tips on keeping you and your baby safe when flying and travelling abroad.

1. Make a doctor’s appointment to check if you’re safe to travel

You’ll normally be fine flying, but it’s best to have a chat especially if you’re in your first three months of pregnancy, have had a previous miscarriage or have any problems like spotting, diabetes or high blood pressure. Also discuss your options if you’re suffering from morning sickness, as flight-induced motion sickness can make it worse. Also tell your GP where you’re planning on visiting – exotic holidays that require vaccinations or malaria tablets may have to be put on hold for now, but your doctor can advise you.

2. Check your airline’s policy on pregnant passengers

Airlines usually require a form or letter from a doctor for passengers who are more than 28 weeks pregnant, such as the ‘Fit to fly’ letter required by Ryanair – and most won’t let you fly past 36 weeks. The Aer Lingus requirements vary for flights within Europe and transatlantic flights. Whether you’ve experienced any pregnancy complications, or you’re expecting twins, or more, can also be factors, so it’s important to check with your airline before you book your tickets.

3. Don’t forget to pack your pregnancy medical notes

Your notes contain valuable information for doctors and midwives about your medical background and the health of your baby. It’s also worth checking out the nearest hospitals and doctors’ surgeries at your destination – just in case you have an emergency.

4. Make sure you’ve got appropriate insurance

It may sound obvious, but make sure you’re fully covered for the stage of pregnancy you’re at when you fly out – and also the return journey. Most policies will cover you for any complications but it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with what you’re entitled to.

5. Get ready for your flight

Ask for an aisle seat on the plane so that it’s easier to get up, stretch your legs and nip to the toilet. You don’t need to worry about airport security scanners as these should not pose any threat to you or your baby. However if you are uncomfortable about going through them, you can speak to the security team at the airport. During the flight, keep your circulation moving to help reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – wearing compression socks can help swollen legs. Any drop in cabin pressure during the flight carries little risk to healthy pregnant women, but cabin air is often very dry, so keep your fluids up by drinking plenty of water.

Happy flying and safe travels!

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