Plane travel when 7 months pregnant?

August 28, 2013 12:00 AM

Q:  My best friend is getting married in Sweden and I would love to go to the wedding. I will be about seven months pregnant at the time. Do you think this is a dangerous trip given I live in San Diego, California?

A:  No. If you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy, the trip itself is relatively safe at seven months. Flights in a pressurized jet are not harmful to you or the baby. Many airline medical departments let pregnant passengers travel up until the 36th week, according to the Aerospace Medical Association, and in your seventh month you’ll still be within that safer range.

On the other hand, there is a one in 20 chance you could have a pre-term delivery.  The airplane is obviously not an ideal place to be in labor. And, while the health care in Sweden is excellent, there could be insurance issues. If the baby had to stay in a premature nursery for weeks, you would have an extended (and possibly costly)  stay in Sweden yourself.

I would guess that most obstetricians would not recommend taking this trip. However, they would not forget it. You will have to use your own best judgment. If you do decide to go, remember that the humidity in planes is low, so drinking lots of water is important. To prevent blood clots in your legs – at particular risk when you’re pregnant – move them hourly, or get up every hour and walk to the bathroom. When you’re not up walking, stay seated and always wear your seat belt in case of turbulence.

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