Pregnant women can normally travel safely by air, but most airlines restrict travel late in pregnancy. It is important that you check with your individual airline before you book your trip, but as a general rule for a single pregnancy, flying is permitted up to the end of the 36th week, and for multiple pregnancies, until the 32nd week.
If you are travelling after 28 weeks of pregnancy, you should have a letter from your midwife or doctor confirming an uncomplicated pregnancy and your expected date of delivery. If you have a complicated pregnancy you must check with your medical team before you travel by air to ensure it is safe to travel.
Pregnancy increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT (clot in the leg). If you are taking a long haul flight (over 8 hours), you should take steps to reduce this risk of developing a DVT, such as moving about the cabin at intervals through the flight, performing simple calf exercises in your seat, and remaining well hydrated.
Vaccinations during Pregnancy
There are some restrictions on vaccination during pregnancy; however, pregnancy should not deter women from receiving vaccines that are safe and that will protect her and her unborn child.
Live vaccines such as those for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, BCG, Varicella and Yellow Fever should generally be avoided, though risks and benefits should be considered for each individual case. Vaccination with Yellow Fever is sometimes given after the 6th month of pregnancy in a woman who cannot avoid travelling into a Yellow Fever area. We will discuss your case further when you attend for your appointment.
Malaria in pregnancy
Pregnant women risk serious complications if they contract malaria.
Travel to malaria-endemic areas should be avoided during pregnancy if at all possible. When travel cannot be avoided, it is extremely important to take effective preventative measures against malaria, including bite prevention and preventative medication.
Pregnant women should seek help immediately if malaria is suspected.
Pregnant women with medical conditions
Women with long term medical problems such as asthma or diabetes, a history of obstetric complications, or risk factors for travel, should attend their GP to ensure they are fit to travel.
Activities to avoid
High altitudes should be avoided late in pregnancy, as should scuba diving.