Airline travel during pregnancy

Travelling during pregnancy is considered safe in most instances but there is some additional planning required. We understand that a number of patients are required to undertake domestic and overseas travel for their occupation or wish to take a family holiday before the birth of their baby.

During the first and second trimester, if your pregnancy has been without complications, it is generally safe to travel by air.

I have compiled a checklist of factors that you need to consider before planning to travel during your pregnancy.

  • Consult with me prior to your holiday. Depending on your destination you may require certain vaccinations. We need to ascertain that they are safe and essential.
  • Scheduling of prenatal tests. Certain tests during pregnancy are scheduled at a certain time during your pregnancy and the window of opportunity is limited. You should consider when these tests will be due and plan your trip accordingly. Organising some of these tests whilst overseas can be difficult and expensive.
  • Having vital information at hand. You should maintain a list of how to contact me via phone or email should a complication arise. You need to be aware that some local hospitals in foreign countries may not be of the highest standard.You should have a list of any medications that you are prescribed and your prenatal vitamins.
  • Health Insurance: Check with your health fund to ensure they will cover you for any treatment you may require whilst overseas.
  • Travel Insurance: This is essential when travelling overseas. You need to consider your destination, gestation and any pre-existing pregnancy or medical complications. It is important to read the fine print and use a reputable provider. Some travel agents can provide you with this information. It may be difficult to obtain travel insurance once you are beyond 24 weeks gestation.
  • Airline Policy: Every airline has different conditions and requirements for their pregnant travelers. You should seek clarification of what documentation is required prior to travel.
  • Policy for entry: Some countries have entry restrictions for pregnant non-national women. If in doubt, you should check with the relevant embassy or consulate before you travel.

 

Qantas

When travel is not permitted

Flights greater than 4 hours in duration:

  • Singleton pregnancy not permitted after the 36th week
  • Multiple pregnancy not permitted after the 32nd week
  • Post-delivery not permitted within the first 48 hours

Flights less than 4 hours in duration:

  • Singleton pregnancy not permitted after the 39th week
  • Multiple pregnancy not permitted after the 36th week

A travel clearance form will be required from your doctor after 28 weeks gestation confirming:

  • The estimated date of delivery
  • Whether the pregnancy is a singleton or multiple pregnancy
  • That the pregnancy has been uneventful and that there are no antenatal complications

The letter from your doctor must be made available on request and be carried with you at the airport and during your flight in your cabin luggage.

A medical clearance letter is required prior to 28 weeks gestation if the pregnancy is not routine or if you are experiencing any antenatal or medical complications.

A medical clearance letter is also required if you are travelling within 7 days of your delivery. Infants cannot travel for 48 hours after birth and require a medical clearance letter between 3 and 7 days after delivery.

www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/medical-assistance/global/en#jump7

 

Jetstar

Permitted travel

Flights of less than 4 hours:

  • Singleton pregnancy – up until the end of the 40th week
  • Multiple pregnancy – up until the end of the 36th week

Flights of more than 4 hours:

  • Singleton pregnancy – up until the end of the 36th week
  • Multiple pregnancy – up until the end of the 32nd week.

If you are more than 28 weeks pregnant you must bring along specific documentation from your doctor. This must include:

  • Your estimated date of delivery
  • Whether you have a single or multiple pregnancy
  • Confirmation that your pregnancy has been non complicated to date.

You will need to carry this document with you at the airport and in your carry-on baggage as it must be available on request.

If you have complications with your pregnancy, you will need to get a special medical clearance form that is available online at www.jetstar.com/au/en/help/asticles/pregnancy-and-air-travel

Your baby must be at least 48 hours old before they can travel and will require a medical clearance to travel between 3 and 7 days after birth.

www.jetstar.com/au/en/help/articles/pregnany-and-air-travel

 

Virgin Australia

If you are 28 weeks pregnant or more, you will be required to carry a letter from your doctor dated nor more than 10 days prior to travel outlining:

  • Estimated date of delivery
  • Single or multiple pregnancy
  • The absence of complications
  • Your fitness to fly for the duration of the flights booked.

A medical clearance letter will also be required if:

  • You have a pregnancy with any antenatal complications
  • You fly within 5 days of a normal vaginal delivery

Flying is not permitted in flights greater than 4 hours:

  • After the 36th week of a singleton pregnancy
  • After the 32nd week of a multiple pregnancy
  • Within 48 hours of a normal vaginal delivery

Flying is not permitted in flights of less than 4 hours:

  • After the 38th week of a singleton pregnancy
  • After the 36th week of a multiple pregnancy
  • Within 48 hours of a normal vaginal delivery

www.virginaustralia.com.au/en/plan/special-needs-assistance/flying-while-pregnant/

 

Useful Tips

  • If you are flying for more than four hours you should purchase some anti thrombotic stockings that should be fitted correctly to your leg size.
  • You will need to discuss with me the need for aspirin/blood thinners
  • You should stay hydrated by drinking lots of water
  • Move around the plane regularly and follow the airline instructions on leg exercises
  • Try to be allocated a seat near the toilet and an aisle seat. Do not request an emergency exit row as pregnant women are not permitted to sit in one of these seats.
  • Ensure you have someone to carry any heavy luggage
  • Pack appropriate clothing and footwear. You may develop swollen ankles and have reduced energy levels so wear loose, comfortable clothing and slip on shoes.

 


 

All information correct as per 20th August 2017