Is is Safe to Fly Long Haul Whilst Pregnant?
I'm 20 weeks pregnant. I have had an ultrasound scan and my placenta is lying low. I have a flight booked in 2 weeks time to fly from Ireland to New York do you think it's safe to still go?
Congratulations on your pregnancy! It is very difficult to give this kind of advice online, without knowing more about your pregnancy and health. In order to fully determine whether it’s safe for you to go on a long haul flight when pregnant, you should really contact your doctor or midwife. They will be in the best position to give you an informed answer, based on your individual medical circumstances.
However, as a general guide, it is usually thought that the second trimester, from 12 to 24 weeks, is the safest time for pregnant women to fly. This is because, during the first trimester there’s a higher risk of miscarriage, and in the third trimester there’s a higher risk of suffering from complications, such as high blood pressure or giving birth prematurely. As I assume you will be 22 weeks pregnant when you board your flight, this element should work in your favour.
Sometimes airlines aren’t that keen on taking pregnant women on flights, but this usually only applies to those at 28 weeks more of pregnancy. It’s also worth noting that flying during pregnancy can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), so it’s a good idea to wear support stockings when you fly, to reduce the risk.
Many women have low-lying placentas (otherwise known as placenta praevia) that show up on scans during pregnancy, such as the 20-week scan. Having a low-lying placenta doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience problems, as in many cases the placenta can move back into the correct place by the time the baby is due. You may well be offered a further ultrasound scan at 36 weeks to check the location of the placenta. In the meantime, it is likely that you may have been advised not to take part in any vigorous exercise and to have a relatively stress-free time, as a low-lying placenta does run the risk of causing bleeding.
It is possible that having a low-lying placenta might affect your ability to cope with a long-haul flight, but you really need to check with a medical professional for accurate advice. It will depend very much on your individual situation and any problems you’ve already experienced. Health professionals are there to provide you with help, advice and reassurance and should be happy to answer any queries you have about whether or not you’re safe to fly.