If you’re in your second trimester, an official letter from your doctor certifying you can travel should be enough to satisfy airlines. At this stage, the risk of miscarriage is lowest; airlines prefer that pregnant women travel when in this period.
Fatigue sets in after the excitement and energy surge of the first trimester, and now is when most women become concerned for the health of their fetus.
Traveling in the Second Trimester
The second trimester of pregnancy is often considered the safest time for traveling, with pregnancy complications at their lowest point. Most airlines allow women up to 36 weeks gestation to fly domestically while some cut off international flights earlier in the second trimester. By this stage of the pregnancy, nausea often subsides and you are less likely to experience false or preterm labor symptoms.
Your baby will continue to develop quickly during the second trimester, and you may find yourself becoming more uncomfortable as your body prepares to give birth. In most cases, travel should still be safe; however, be sure to consult with your physician regarding comfort levels and risk levels for miscarriage or other complications.
At this stage, your due date should be approaching quickly. Now is an opportune time to purchase a passport and investigate the quality of healthcare in your destination country – Australia offers reciprocal healthcare agreements that may help when needed; additionally purchase comprehensive travel and medical evacuation insurance just in case. Your obstetrician or midwife should want to conduct a pelvic exam around this time, suggesting you remain close to home should anything arise during gestation.
Traveling in the Third Trimester
As your due date approaches and energy levels drop off, travel can become increasingly demanding – especially as your belly continues to expand and cause discomfort.
Your uterus is expanding quickly as your baby prepares for birth, so your body may stretch as well. Additionally, heartburn and fatigue may become more evident. Some women even start feeling false labor contractions (known as Braxton Hicks contractions).
Your doctor is likely to advise that you stay close to home until your due date. Even during non-pandemic times, many cruise lines don’t allow pregnant mothers after Week 23 of gestation onboard their vessels; airlines typically impose rules regarding how late in gestation women can fly (with domestic flights sometimes having restrictions while international trips may impose additional ones). Before booking any ticket for travel it would be prudent to call and inquire as to their rules as well as have your medical records with you or readily accessible when traveling.
Flight during the third trimester should generally be safe for most pregnant women who had an uncomplicated first and second trimesters without complications, but there are certain considerations before you take to the skies.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the best time for pregnant travelers to travel safely during their second trimester – typically 14-28 weeks gestation – is between 14-28 weeks when morning sickness should have subsided and you have the lowest risk for miscarriage or preterm labor emergencies.
If you are planning a late stage pregnancy trip, consult with your physician regarding how far along you are and the airline policy for pregnant passengers. Most airlines impose restrictions as to which weeks it is safe for pregnant passengers to fly, while others require that a doctor sign off before they allow boarding.
On the day of your flight, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and don’t eat or drink anything that could expand in your stomach, such as caffeine or citrus drinks which may exacerbate bloating and heartburn associated with pregnancy. Make sure you drink lots of water, juice or soup to stay hydrated, choose an aisle seat to make trips to the restroom more manageable, flex your legs periodically to improve blood flow and take regular stretching breaks to increase circulation.
No specific date should be set when it comes to pregnancy travel, although as your due date nears it may become increasingly challenging and uncomfortable to travel long distances by car unless medical reasons dictate otherwise.
The second trimester (from about weeks 13-27), is often an ideal time for pregnant women to travel. That is because they won’t feel quite so sick and fatigued later in their pregnancies, with their uteruses still protected by bones in their pelvis. Many couples who enjoy taking one last romantic getaway before they give birth opt to do it during this period.
Most pregnant women can safely travel well into their third trimester; however, airlines often start imposing flight restrictions at 28 weeks gestation. If you plan to fly late into your pregnancy, make sure that you consult with both an ob-gyn or midwife beforehand for their advice.
When traveling in your third trimester, ensure you pack plenty of water and healthy snacks to stay hydrated and provide adequate energy. Be sure to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs. If possible, arrange for someone else to drive part of your journey so as to minimize extra weight and fatigue; consider wearing a pelvic support belt as this may alleviate back strain and aid with posture issues.