Pregnant, with a flight on the horizon? Here’s what you need to know

Posted on 21 February 2024 By Savanna Douglas
When the travel bug bites, you can’t resist any opportunity to hop on a flight. But if you’re pregnant, what do you need to know?
Pregnant women tend to experience some anxiety when it comes to travelling in general. There is a lot of hesitation due to information that travelling, especially air travel, could be dangerous for you and your bun in the oven. Facts or fiction? KLM Royal Dutch Airlines fills us in with 4 things you need to know about travelling while pregnant:

First things first:

Flying when you are pregnant will run no harm to your unborn baby and there is no scientific evidence that travelling while pregnant will increase the risk of miscarriage, birth defects or premature birth, the airline shares.

You can assure yourself that the foetus is well protected from changes outside the mother’s body, such as variations in air pressure and humidity in the aircraft cabin but with that being said, it might be good to familiarise yourself with a few things before you step on that flight:

Pre-travel advice and immunisation

Depending on your destination, you should enquire about any vaccinations and malaria prevention treatments. It’s important to be well-informed because vaccines or treatments might be different if you are pregnant. There are rare cases that travelling to some countries could be discouraged because of the disease risk factors. Pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant should also avoid travelling to countries with outbreaks of Zika, a mosquito-borne virus spread through mosquito bites.

How far into your pregnancy can you fly?

Women at 32 weeks or more are recommended not to fly. KLM actually discourages flying – for you and your child – during the first week after birth, too. Even if you are less than 32 weeks, it is always wise to consult with your doctor regarding any travelling.

If this is not your first pregnancy and you’ve experienced any complications you should get your doctor’s permission to fly. Additionally, it is recommended that you carry any pregnancy documentation with information about your due date and other relevant medical information needed.

Cosmic Radiation

Cosmic radiation is compared to the same exposure as that of an X-Ray.

X-ray radiation can be harmful to women who are pregnant because it affects the foetus. To be on the safe side it is recommended to avoid frequent air travel when pregnant.

Increased Risk of Thrombosis

Pregnancy on its own comes with some risks and there is a great risk of developing thrombosis. Flying is believed to increase this risk. Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) can be life-threatening disorder, in which blood clots can form in the deep veins of the body. In an aircraft, the dehydration caused by the dry air may thicken your blood. The static position of sitting in a confined space for a long period can cause blood to collect in your legs.

There are a few things you can do to prevent or reduce the risk of thrombosis:

  • During long flights, walk around the cabin every 15 to 30 minutes, if possible
  • Do some simple stretching exercises while you are seated
  • Only sleep for short periods – up to 30 minutes at a time
  • Move around after every nap
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Wear compression socks

If you are worried about DVT during the flight, consult your doctor beforehand to discuss how to best reduce the risk.


A little extra preparation and advice can really help you because let’s face it, you might need this break before baby arrives!


Article originally shared on Woman&Home.

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