Among the many questions that surround pregnancy such as nutrition, exercise and strenuous activity, one of the most frequently asked question is regarding air travel, especially during the first trimester. The debate whether you should fly when pregnant first trimester is long and arduous, but we’re here to help.
To be able to answer this question sufficiently, one has to first know exactly what happens during that stage. It is a crucial period of fetal life, when the organs are starting to form and development begins. This time requires a lot of care. Symptoms of pregnancy are many times more severe during this time. Women experience morning sickness, swollen feet and frequent need to urinate among others. The severity symptoms may determine whether you can fly during your first trimester.
With most doctors, there is no real problem for women who want to fly during the first trimester. However, flying in the third trimester is not recommended as it could induce labor. If there have been health issues or miscarriages, doctors advise against travelling throughout the duration of pregnancy.
Factors such as motion related sickness, uncomfortable tight seats and high cabin pressure may also sway expecting women to opt out of flying. The last factor may not be noticed by others, but due to the increased blood pressure and faster heart rate, women who are pregnant may be affected and require medical assistance which at many times is unlikely to be available.
Despite all the above factors, women can easily fly during the first 12 months of pregnancy. As long as there is no stress or nervousness and as long as she is healthy, there is no direct risk.
However, to make the journey safer, you need to do the following things:
1- Prepare well before leaving – before booking a seat, get professional medical advice. Some airlines may also require a doctor’s notice before you can travel.
2- Always play safe – keep all your medicines handy and get a checkup a few days before your journey. Also enquire with the airline regarding their policies regarding women and incase of unexpected emergencies.
3- Be as comfortable as possible – once boarded, remain as relaxed as possible. Those who experience morning sickness should have sick bags. Have a pillow and a blanket just in case it gets cold. To keep your blood circulation flowing, wiggle your fingers and toes. Snacks are also important especially for those cravings. Your clothing should be comfortable including shoes.
For those who worry about the effects of the scanners that you go through before boarding the flight, be rest assured that these scanners do not cause any harm to the fetus. Once inside the plane, the only problem you could face is the Oxygen levels, but thanks to modern technological advances, the plane keeps control of these levels.
All things taken into account, it is better to avoid flying in the first trimester. If it is necessary then the journeys should be kept to a minimum. During travel avoid destinations that require immunization as these may harm your baby.
No matter how many times you may have travelled during your first trimester, always visit a doctor for a check-up before travelling.