One of the most common questions asked during pregnancy is “can I fly?”.
The first responding question is “when?”.
Flying does not specifically invoke any extra risks to the baby from pressure changes or radiation, but an important consideration is what you would do if something were to happen en route or overseas. In the first trimester, this might mean bleeding or a miscarriage. Ideally travel should be avoided until you have seen an obstetrician, had an early scan confirming the pregnancy and (possibly) completed screening for problems like Down Syndrome (if you wish to do this). Later in pregnancy, this might mean going into labour.
The next question is “where?”.
It is important to go somewhere that has access to medical care if something were to happen. It is also important not to go somewhere with risky endemic disease (like the Zika Virus). Your obstetrician will always be able to answer these questions for you.
Another question relates to travel insurance.
Some insurance may cover your medical care while you are pregnant but very few will cover care for your baby. If you were to go into labour very early and require delivery of a premature baby needing special care or neonatal intensive care, costs can rapidly spiral out of control. A consultation with an obstetrician carefully quantifying this risk at your specific gestation is crucial.
Finally: it IS safe to go through airport security devices and you do not need to go through the embarrassment of a “pat down”.
Make sure you enjoy yourself and do not unnecessarily restrict or cancel holidays but also have a discussion with your obstetrician well ahead of time and ensure you carry a letter certifying your medical permission to travel, dated appropriately, specifying the due date, that you are not carrying twins and that you have no medical complications.
For more information, or if you would like to book an appointment, get in touch with Dr Tom Cade today.