Is it Safe to Travel by Plane During Pregnancy?

My daughter is expecting her first child. She travels by air frequently. Will this hurt her baby-to-be?

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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

To my knowledge, there have been no studies showing that air travel is hazardous to the well-being of the fetus. I assume that your daughter is traveling by commercial carrier where the cabin is pressurized.

When traveling during pregnancy it is important to allow plenty of rest periods, get plenty of fluids (dehydration can be enough to cause uterine contractions), plan frequent trips to the bathroom and stretch your legs a few times every hour. Even in confined areas, exercise is important. It is a good idea to do simple isometric muscle-strengthening exercises while traveling by car or airplane.

Once a mother-to-be reaches the 26th week, around the beginning of her third trimester, she will probably have an exam to see if she is having any early changes that might indicate risk of preterm labor. If she has no signs and she is not experiencing any contractions or backaches, she can probably continue to fly. She should carry a copy of her most recent prenatal record, just in case she needs to consult another care provider or if she does go into labor in a strange city.

If you begin to experience any low back pain, cramping or any spotting, it is very important to seek out a care provider in the area and not try to make it back home.

When a woman has a history of problems during pregnancy or have medical problems that might complicate a pregnancy it is probably best not to stray far from home base.

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