Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flying While Pregnant

Flying While Pregnant?
My sister is pregnant and she wants to move to the east coast now, but I'm not sure what restrictions there are on flying while pregnant. She's still in her first trimester and she would be flying from Sacramento, Ca to Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. It's a 5 hr flight and thats no including those crazy layovers. I know because I flew out to NC from CA last month. This is her 4th pregnancy and the others have always ended in miscarriage around the 1st-2nd trimester. She has nowhere to stay in Cali and the only family that can help her is here in NC so staying where she is really isn't an option anymore. How safe would it be for her to fly? She'll likely be travelling alone and she's 17 yrs old. I'm 20 yrs old and I know this is a terrible situation, but I'm just trying to find out some info so I'm not looking for judgement. I do not condone this behavior and I myself have no children.
Pregnancy - 1 Answers
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She is safe to travel by plane from the beginning of her pregnancy all the way up until the end portion of her last trimester (usually 9th month - 36 weeks) and can manage what ever kind of trip(s) she wants to do as long as she and her pregnancy are healthy and the pregnancy is progressing normally. As long as everything is fine, air travel does NOT increase the risk of miscarriage or pre-term labor, and poses no other risks to her or her child. It is the last four weeks (once she reaches the 9th month - 36 weeks) that women are usually prohibited from flying. This is because after 36 weeks, a women can go into labor at any time, and the airplane is not made to handle such situations. For one, there is no guarantee that a doctor will be on board a plane, plus, should any complications arise during the labor and delivery, the plane does not have the medical equipment to handle such situations and it could put the health of the mother and child in danger. She needs to get a check-up from her doctor to make sure that she is in fit enough health, and that the pregnancy is healthy enough to allow for her to fly. Many airlines will require a medical certificate from a doctor dated 24-72 hours before the flight once she reaches her third trimester (27 weeks). By the time she reaches her eighth month (32 weeks) almost all airlines will require a doctors note. All airlines make up their own rules and regulations regarding pregnant women. Some do not restrict travel at all, no matter what stage of pregnancy a women is in, and others start to restrict at 7 months, although the majority restrict around 36 weeks. FAA Airline regulations state : Obstetrical patients are free to fly, but pose a significant risk in later stages of precipitating delivery during flight. Pregnancy past 32 weeks should be carefully considered for restriction from flight and must be accompanied with an authorization note from a doctor. Those past 36 weeks should be prohibited from flying unless personally accompanied by their doctor. (Taken from my husbands flight security and survival manual & FAA site) While traveling I advise you to have her keep her medical records, and the name and number of her doctor. She should also get the name and number of a doctor where she will be staying/visiting in case an emergency comes up. To keep herself safe and comfortable on the trip, have her follow these simple things: *drink plenty of water *avoid caffeine *don't eat food that causes gas for at least one day before you travel (pressure builds up as you ascend through the altitudes and could cause pain) *walk around as much as she can (up and down the aisles) *stretch while sitting *wear loose fitting clothing *wear slip on shoes (her feet may swell) *wear maternity support pantyhose or socks *try to get an aisle seat or a front row seat for more leg room *eat light foods *eat small meals or snacks at frequent intervals rather than big heavy meals *do not eat salt *Wear her seat belt just under her abdomen (depending on how big she is, she can also ask for a seat belt extender - just be sure that that too goes under her abdomen) *relax I traveled internationally (14+ hours each way) this past summer while pregnant. I left when I was 13 weeks and returned when I was around 30 weeks. I also did another short (3 hours each way) international trip (left at 32 weeks and returned at 34 weeks). My daughter was born 23 December and is perfectly healthy and happy. I have also traveled internationally at various stages with my first two pregnancies (my children are now 8&6). I wrote an article about traveling while pregnant. It gives more in-depth information if you'd like to reference it: If I can be of any more help or assistance, please feel free to contact me.

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