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A pregnant woman can travel by plane as long as she has consulted the obstetrician before the trip so that an evaluation can be carried out and whether there is any risk. In general, air travel is safe from the 3rd month of pregnancy, as before that there is still a risk of miscarriage and changes in the baby's formation process, in addition to the fact that the first trimester of pregnancy can be marked by constant nausea, which could make the trip uncomfortable and unpleasant.
For the trip to be considered safe, it is recommended to pay attention to the type of plane, as smaller planes may not have a pressurized cabin, which can result in decreased oxygenation of the placenta, increased heart rate and blood pressure. In addition, some conditions related to women can interfere with the safety of the flight and the he alth of the baby, such as:
- Vaginal bleeding or pain before boarding;
- High blood pressure;
- Sickle cell anemia;
- Placenta insufficiency;
- Ectopic pregnancy;
- Severe anemia.
Therefore, a medical evaluation at least 10 days before the trip is essential to verify the he alth status of the mother and baby and, thus, to be informed if the trip is safe or not.
Until when can pregnant women travel by plane
Although there is no consensus between doctors and airlines as to when it is safe for pregnant women to travel by plane, travel is normally allowed up to 28 weeks in the case of a singleton pregnancy, or 25 weeks in the case of a pregnancy of twins, as long as they do not have any sign of contraindication, such as vaginal bleeding, high blood pressure or diabetes, for example.
In the case of women with a higher gestational age, travel is allowed up to 35 weeks of gestation as long as the woman has the medical authorization in hand, which must include the origin and destination of the trip, date of flight, time maximum flight allowance, gestational age, estimated baby's birth and doctor's comments. This document must be sent to the airline and presented at check-in and/or boarding. From week 36, travel is only authorized by the airline if the doctor accompanies the woman during the trip.
What to do if labor starts on the plane
If the uterine contractions start inside the plane, the woman should try to remain calm and at the same time she should inform the crew about what is happening, this is because if the trip is very long and it is still very far from her destination, you may need to land at the nearest airport or call an ambulance to wait for you once you land at your destination.
Labor can take about 12 to 14 hours in the first pregnancy and this time tends to decrease in subsequent pregnancies, which is why it is not advised to travel by plane, especially on long trips, after 35 weeks of pregnancy. However, the woman's body is prepared for conception and childbirth can happen naturally inside the plane, with the help of close people and the crew, being a remarkable experience.
How to relax while flying
To ensure calm and tranquility during the flight, it is advisable to avoid travel very close to the probable date of delivery and preferably choose a seat in the aisle, next to the bathroom on the plane because it is normal for the pregnant woman to have to get up to go to the bathroom several times during the trip.
Other tips that can be useful, ensuring peace and quiet during the trip are:
- Keep the belt always tight, below the belly and wear light and comfortable clothes;
- Get up to walk around the plane every hour, to improve blood circulation, reducing the risk of thrombosis;
- Avoid clothing that is too tight, to avoid changes in blood circulation;
- Drink water avoiding coffee, soft drinks or teas, and prefer easily digestible foods;
- Adopt breathing techniques, maintaining concentration on the abdominal movement, as it helps to keep the mind focused and calm, helping to relax.
Having books and magazines with topics you like at hand can also help make your trip less stressful. If you're afraid of flying, it might be useful to buy a book that talks about this subject, because everyone has good tips to overcome fear and anxiety during the flight.
Also, it is important not to forget that after long trips, some symptoms of Jet Lag may appear, such as tiredness and difficulty sleeping, which are normal and end up disappearing in a few days.