Looking to take a trip before baby comes along? There are certain things to consider if you want to go overseas while you’re pregnant.
We’ve put together some tips on flying while you’re expecting.
Is it safe to fly when pregnant?
According to SingHealth, commercial air travel poses no particular health risk to an uncomplicated pregnancy1. While domestic travel is usually allowed until the 36th week of pregnancy, international travel should be avoided after the 32nd week.
Before you board that plane, though, be mindful that you may experience the following during your flight:
- Increased fluid retention in your legs
- Worsening of pregnancy sickness
- Increased likelihood of blocked ears (ouch)
These might be a little uncomfortable, but they’re not considered dangerous to you or your baby.
What’s important is to get a health assessment before you fly, particularly if you have any additional medical conditions that put your pregnancy at higher risk.
Preparing for the flight
As far as possible, choose a flight without layover and avoid flights that are more than three hours as anything longer could get particularly uncomfortable especially if you’re in a later stage of pregnancy. To make sure your flight is as straightforward and comfortable as possible, there are several things you can do in advance to prepare.
- Talk to your GP
Have a chat with your gynaecologist or midwife about your travel plans before you leave. Ask about any dos and don’ts.
- Check health advisories for your destination
It’s a good idea to check that there are no additional health risks to pregnant women at your destination. Your doctor can let you know if there are any particular vaccinations or precautions you should take. You can also get useful advice about your travel destination from the Ministry of Home Affairs at their website.
- Check with your airline
Depending on the airline you’ll be travelling with, you can usually fly up until your 36th week of pregnancy (or 32 weeks for twins or multiple pregnancies). But check with your airline or travel agent before you leave to make sure you’ll be able to board. If you’ll be more than 28 weeks pregnant on your return flight, it’s worth getting a signed certificate from your gynaecologist or midwife to prove you’re fit to fly. Some airlines will ask to see this at check-in.
Taking Singapore Airlines’ guidelines for expectant mums as a reference, this certificate should be “dated within 10 days of the first flight after the 28th week of pregnancy” and state your fitness for travel, number of weeks of pregnancy and estimated delivery date.
- Ensure your travel insurance plan covers pregnancy-related expenses
Remember that not all travel insurance covers emergency pregnancy- or childbirth-related expenses, so choose your plan carefully. Singlife’s travel insurance plan includes cover for pregnancy-related overseas emergency medical expenses for up to S$1,000 (Lite plan) to S$8,000 (Prestige plan)*.
- Pack your medication
Good advice for any traveller, but it’s worth repeating. Remember to take any medication or documents you could need with you on holiday – just in case. And always carry documents stating your expected date of delivery and any information a doctor may need to know about your pregnancy in case of an emergency.
- Staying comfy on the flight
Advice for mums-to-be is the same as for everyone else: stay hydrated to minimise the drying effects of the low humidity in aircraft cabins, move around the cabin to encourage blood circulation, and wear loose, comfortable clothes.
Compression stockings could help with reducing swelling in your legs, as well as lowering the risk of blood clots. Calf exercises and regular walks up and down the plane aisle can help, too.
Fit your seatbelt under your bump to stay comfortable, or if it doesn’t fit, ask the cabin crew for a seatbelt extender.
1 Care during pregnancy, SingHealth
*Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to Product documents for full details.