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Flying When Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re planning a baby moon, or are planning air travel while pregnant, it is best to be prepared. If you are visibly pregnant chances are you will be stopped by airline staff requesting evidence that it is safe for you to fly.

While this is mostly for your safety and that of your unborn baby, some have argued that it is a matter of mere convenience for airline staff not wanting to deal with a mid-air flight. What ever their motivations it is better to come prepared than risk not being allowed to board your flight.

Most airlines have a blanket ban on women flying when pregnant past a certain stage in their pregnancy, this varies from airline to airline and can be anywhere between 28 and 37 weeks. So if you are planning to travel and your pregnancy stage is in this grey zone, it is worth checking their rules before you book your flight.

What RANZCOG Says

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist (RANZCOG) suggest that the second trimester is the safest and most comfortable time to travel by aeroplane. The RANZCOG Guidelines for Travelling While Pregnant state that deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a significant risk associated with flying and this risk increases with pregnancy, and remain for two weeks after the flight. It suggests wearing compression stockings, staying well hydrated, walk around the cabin regularly if it is a long haul flight and do leg exercises while on board.

What the Airlines Say

Qantas

Flights less than four hours: for routine singleton pregnancies you can travel up to the end of the 40th week. For a multiple birth pregnancy, Qantas says you can travel up to the end of the 36th week. For flights longer than four hours: for routine singleton pregnancies you can travel up to the end of the 36th week, for multiple birth pregnancies you can travel up to the end of the 32nd week.

Virgin

After 28 weeks gestation Virgin requires that you carry a letter from your doctor or midwife, dated within ten days of your day of travel, stating your due date, that their are no complications with your pregnancy and that you are fir to fly on the nominated day. Medical clearance is required by Virgin in certain circumstances. If your pregnancy has had complications, or you have given birth within the previous five days you must obtain medical clearance.

Jetstar

For a normal complication-free pregnancy women can fly with Jetstar up to the start of the 36th week. Pregnancies at 28 weeks or more need to obtain medical clearance prior to flying. If your pregnancy has had complications or is a multiple birth pregnancy Jetstar strongly suggest taking your doctors advice before booking flights.

Tiger

Pregnant women must advise Tiger Airways of the progress of the pregnancy at the time of booking. Pregnancies up to 30 weeks are permitted for travel, unless there are complications. If you are between 30 and 35 weeks of pregnancy you will need a doctor’s certificate stating that you are fit to travel. Women who are 35 weeks or more are not permitted to travel on a Tiger Airways flight.

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