The Real Risks Of Flying On A Plane While Pregnant

Traveling may be considered glamorous but we can't commit to the belief that it is comfortable. This is especially true if you are flying on a plane. The cramped cabin and hours of sitting often lead to a few stiff joints and some aching muscles. This is especially true if you are pregnant. After all, that seat you paid for is for one. And considering you are currently growing a plus one, you might really be feeling the cramped plane cabin symptoms. Unfortunately, an aching back is not the only risk you have to worry about. Here are a few risks pregnant women should be aware of before they fasten their seatbelts and prepare for take off.

Air travel can often leave us feeling dryer than the Sahara at noon. In other words, flying on planes can increase our risk of dehydration, claims Mayo Clinic. This is caused by the cabin's low-humidity pressure. Feeling parched is uncomfortable on its own, but according to Healthline, if you are pregnant and dehydrated, you can risk the side effects of low amniotic fluid, birth defects, and even premature labor.

We want you to stay hydrated, but you may want to avoid the carbonated drinks. Mayo Clinic notes they can leave you feeling even more bloated (is that possible?) than usual, and increase the risk of discomfort due to trapped gas.

Keep moving and check your airlines' policy

The distance you travel can also be a factor in what type of risks you may face with pregnancy and air travel. According to the UK's National Health Service, long-distance travel — longer than 4 hours — carries a small risk of blood clots. So make sure you take mini breaks and walk up and down the aisles. And if that isn't possible, then at least flex and stretch while in your seat.

It's also important to note that, according to the Mayo Clinic, different airlines have varying policies about how far along a future mother can be in her pregnancy when flying. Typically, airlines and doctors say that flying is safe if you are less than 36 weeks along. So if you are planning on taking a trip during your third trimester, you may want to check your airlines' policies before you book a non-refundable ticket. And always check with your doctor before traveling while pregnant. 

We don't want to scare pregnant woman away from taking that much anticipated babymoon they're counting down the days to. "Travel during pregnancy is a concern for many women," says Sarah Reynolds, M.D., a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at the Bedford Hospital NHS Trust to NHS. "But if your pregnancy has no complications then there's no reason why you can't travel safely, as long as you take the right precautions." We agree. So once you've received the OK from your doctor, keep your water bottle nearby, stay active, read up on your chosen airlines' policies, and try to enjoy your time away before baby arrives.