Is Air Travel Safe During First Trimester of Pregnancy?
I was in Tokyo during my first pregnancy and I had to fly back to India for one of my family members’ health issue during 1st trimester. It was around 2nd-3rd month of pregnancy.
Though flying during 1st trimester is not dangerous but it may not be completely safe if you have complications during pregnancy like: pregnancy-included hypertension (PIH), bleeding, preterm contractions or even gestational diabetes. so it is being advised to avoid long travels during any of your complications.
So if you have to travel through flight during 1st trimester of pregnancy and you have a normal pregnancy then here are some important tips for you.
1. Talk to your doctor: You must ask your doctor if it is completely safe for you to travel.
My Japanese doctor was very casual when I asked if it was ok to travel, it was a 9 hrs continuous journey so he gave me few tips (mentioned below)
2. Doctor will give you a medical certificate about your week of pregnancy and if you are healthy to travel in flight. You may have to show the certificate in case you need the priority or help.
3. While booking a seat: book a seat in front row, you get extra leg space and you can easily stand and walk once in 1-2 hrs which keeps blood circulated and yes, the toilet is near front row which is very helpful for a pregnant lady. You can also ask the airline to provide you with the seat near the middle of the plane which provides the smoothest journey and can also reduce your nausea.
4. Make sure you take anti-nausea medicines prescribed by doctor. Even if you don’t have nausea problem still it’s advised to keep medications in case of emergency.
5. Drink lots of fluids. Fresh cut fruits and juices will help you stay hydrated and also keep nausea away.
6. Sleep well before and during travel. If you are working and have long working hours, it’s a good idea to take a proper rest before you travel may be a day’s holiday before day of travel is good.
7. Metal Detector: Its ok to pass through metal detector.
Just before traveling in 1st trimester, I read in newspapers that the airports are installing new type of special metal detectors. I got worried and talked to my doctor, he was ok with it and he said that these were not like X-ray machines and airport would not install anything which could be dangerous to pregnant ladies. Still he advised me to talk to guard near metal detector gate to ask if it was safe for pregnant ladies. Of course guards told me it was safe, but I suggest you ask when you travel.
8. Keep your pregnancy medical file with you to the destination.
9. Keep some snacks in your handbag to maintain energy level in waiting etc.
10. Use priority in waiting queues. Most of places give priority to expectant ladies, make use of it.
11. Exercises: Do light exercises like flex your feet, wiggle your toes, rotate your ankles, neck stretching, back stretching while seated or standing. It will help blood circulation. At high pressure there is danger of blood clotting that’s why exercising is advised to all. Also just seating will make you feel more tired.
12. Avoid eating the gas producing items like beans, carbonated beverages etc. before or during the flight as it can cause a stomach ache.
13. Properly plan for the connecting flights so that you won’t have to rush to another gate and get stressed
14. Avoid any travelling before the 7th – 8th week as it is delicate part of pregnancy, so try to plan your trip after that period.
15. Wear comfortable and loose clothes
Travelling during pregnancy isn’t dangerous, with proper precautions you can travel safely. So go out and don’t restrict yourself due to pregnancy, Travel safely and have happy flight :).