When I found out I was pregnant with F, now 5, I wondered how much our traveling would change due to my pregnancy. I had always heard rumors about not being allowed to fly after a certain point in pregnancy, and with several trips planned I didn’t know what would happen.
Luckily for me our trips went off as planned, with visits to Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Iceland, the US, and several places throughout the UK. I joke that F already had more stamps in his imaginary passport than many people do as adults.
I learned a few things on these trips, and while no one should make decisions on traveling without consulting their doctor/ob/midwife first, traveling for two shouldn’t put a damper on any trips you have planned during those 9 months of pregnancy.
Let’s tackle some of the myths that I hear people say about traveling while pregnant. The biggest one is that you aren’t allowed to fly after a certain time in pregnancy by rule of the airline. Here is a list of major domestic American airlines and their rules (current as of today)
Alaska Airlines – No restrictions for either domestic or international travel, but advised to consult a doctor.
American – For domestic travel no flying allowed 7 days before/after your delivery date. I am not sure how they calculate your delivery date, so I assume it is your due date. For international travel or any flights over the water, travel is not advised within 30 days of the due date, unless you are examined by an obstetrician within 48 hours of outbound departure and certified in writing as medically stable for flight. Travel within 10 days of the due date for International travel must have clearance from their Special Assistance Coordinators. Travel within 7 days after delivery requires clearance as well.
Delta – No restrictions for travel, and a medical certificate is not needed.
Frontier – No restrictions, consult your doctor
JetBlue - Pregnant Passengers expecting to deliver within seven days are prohibited from travel, unless such Passenger provides a doctor’s certificate dated no more than seventy-two (72) hours prior to departure stating that the Doctor has examined and found the Passenger to be physically fit for air travel to and from the destinations requested on the date of the flight and that the estimated date of delivery is after the date of the last flight.
Southwest – They recommend against travel starting at the beginning of your 38th week.
SunCountry - Travel within 7 days of due date requires a Doctor’s certification obtained within 72 hours of flight.
United Airlines - Passengers traveling in their ninth month of pregnancy must have an obstetrician’s certificate dated within 24 to 72 hours prior to their flight departure.
USAir - If your due date is within 7 days of your flight, you must provide a doctor’s certificate, dated within 72 hours of departure, stating that he or she has examined you and determined that you are fit to fly.
VirginAmerica - They seem to have the most complicated rules. With no issues you can fly up until 28 weeks with no notification to the airline. After 28 weeks and with a single pregnancy you can travel between 28-36 weeks with a doctors note. After 36 weeks they don’t allow flying without it being a special circumstance. For a multiple pregnancy you can fly between 28-32 weeks with a doctors note, beyond that no travel.
Here are some major international carriers (please note these are just a sample and don’t include all carriers)
British Airways - For uncomplicated single pregnancies, they restrict travel beyond the end of the 36th week, and for twins, triplets etc., beyond the end of the 32nd week. After your pregnancy has entered its 28th week, they ask that you carry with you a letter from your doctor or midwife, stating the pregnancy is uncomplicated and confirming the expected date of delivery.
KLM – No flying after 36 weeks
Lufthansa - Expectant mothers with complication-free pregnancies can fly with Lufthansa until the end of the 36th week of pregnancy or up to four weeks before their expected due date without a medical certificate from their provider. However, they recommend that expectant mothers beyond the 28th week of their pregnancies carry a current letter from a physician.
Singapore Airlines – Single pregnancies may travel through 36 weeks, multiple pregnancies may travel through 32 weeks. Between 29 and 36 weeks expectant mothers must travel with a doctors letter.
Emirates - Traveling beyond your 29th week requires a medical form; with a single pregnancy you may travel through 36 weeks, with multiples through 32 weeks.
Qantas - For travel after the first 28 weeks of your pregnancy: you need to carry a certificate or letter from a registered medical practitioner or registered midwife; for flights 4 hours or more you may fly through 36 weeks with single pregnancy and 32 weeks with multiples; with flights less than four hours you may fly up to 40 weeks with single pregnancy and 36 weeks with multiples.
While this information could change at any time it is a pretty good representation that the rules vary greatly between domestic American airlines and international carriers, but traveling is still possible (and fun!).
Always check with your doctor prior to travel, drink copious amounts of water on the plane, walk as much as possible, and compression socks are your friend!