How soon after birth is it safe to travel?

My parents live outside the U.S. and desparately want to see our new baby this holiday season. How soon after birth can a newborn and mum travel by air? Are there any special precautions we should take?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The general rule is to wait two weeks following a vaginal birth, as this is the time when most recovery takes place. The risk of late hemorrhage, infection, mastitis, thrombosis etc. would be greatly reduced. After a cesarean, a new moms should probably wait about four weeks.

It is also important to weigh the emotional issues here as well. If you travel within the first week -- if you and the baby have had a normal, uncomplicated birth -- you should be fine.

Make sure you know where to find assistance if you need it and it would be prudent to carry your records with you, just in case.

You will need a lot of rest and time alone with the baby, especially if you are breastfeeding. Don't forget to eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids.

You might also check with the airlines as they sometimes have regulations pertaining to this as well. For safety's sake, buy a seat for your infant and bring along a car seat to keep him or her safely secured on the plane.

If you begin to bleed more heavily or feel warm or feverish, it is time to see a care provider.

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