Can You Fly When You Are Pregnant?

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Flying while pregnant is usually safe, so long as there are no complications with the pregnancy, the mother-to-be stays well-hydrated, and she travels with her medical records. Get tips on flying on an airplane safely and comfortably while pregnant with helpful information from a certified nurse-midwife in this free video on pregnancy.

Part of the Video Series: Pregnancy Information
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Video Transcript

So you're pregnant, and you're thinking about taking a trip and want to know if you can fly. This is Mavis Schorn, professor and nurse midwife at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. And I'm here, I'm going to try to give you a few tips about flying. It really is perfectly okay, assuming you're a healthy and normal pregnancy. If you have some complications like hypertension, uncontrolled diabetes, sickle cell disease, or pre-term labor, then those are some examples of conditions you really need to talk to your midwife or physician about before you fly. But assuming everything is going well with your pregnancy so far, the biggest risk about flying has to do with really more comfort things and the airlines not wanting you to have your baby on their airplane. So let's talk about you first. And that's things like food and drink. You want to drink plenty on the airplane. Remember, you get very dehydrated when you're on a plane. So when you have those offers of what you want to drink, you want water. You may want to take some extra bottled water that you buy in the airport before you get on the plane. You might consider buying some food in the airport to take on the plane with you, if it's a longer trip, because then you have more choices in foods. And other than food, things like swelling. And it's very common when you're flying and you're sitting up, that your legs and feet would swell. So one advantage of drinking frequently is you'll be up to the bathroom fairly regularly. And that's a good thing. You getting up out of your seat about every hour and a half to two hours will help that circulation for your legs. You may want to use some of those really stiff, tight, circulation kind of stockings, if it's a long flight; for example, like an international flight. But for a couple of hours, you probably just, that getting up and going to the bathroom will take care of that for you. Wear shoes that you can keep on your feet the whole time. If you take them off and your feet swell and you can't get your feet back in, you may be walking out barefoot. So that's not a good plan. But other than those things, those are some things to keep in mind. Now some other things to talk to your health care provider about is whether you can take a copy of your records with you. And who would you see on the other end if you had a problem? So it's nice, if you're visiting somebody or if you're going on business, that you know where you would go if you had a problem when you got there. And if you have your records in hand, it makes it much easier to help somebody when you have all their lab work, their tests, or all the history already on paper. So I would ask to see if you can take that with you. One other thing, if it's an international flight, are there any health risks in the area that you're going to? Being prepared for that is particularly; since you're pregnant, you want to plan ahead, possibly a little bit differently depending on where you're going.

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