Holidaying abroad: Here is what you need to know about flying in your 3rd trimester
Facing into your 3rd trimester and wondering whether or not it is too late to take a little summer holiday abroad?
There has recently been some revises made to commonplace guidelines, and the vast majority of experts now agree that as long as you are having a safe and healthy pregnancy, there is no reason why you can't fly in your third trimester – as long as you you do it responsibly and with the approval of your doctor or midwife – and airline.
However, there are some things to keep in mind – because the third trimester really is the home stretch, mama.
Talk to your doctor first
Your doctor knows your history and can advise you on whether it is safe for you to travel or not. He or she will also be able to advice you on possible vaccines needed for your destination, and whether or not you can get these when you are pregnant.
Depending on how far along you are, you might need to ask your doctor to write you a "fit to fly" note confirming how many weeks pregnant you are and that you are having a normal, healthy pregnancy – to bring along in case airline staff ask you at check in or boarding. This might especially be the case for women who have a rather large bump, and you might need to show proof of how many weeks pregnant you are.
Look after yourself
First of all, make sure you feel well enough to travel and take care of yourself in every way possible.
This is what the HSE have to say:
"Long-distance travel (longer than five hours) carries a small risk of thrombosis (blood clots) in pregnant women. If you fly, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and do the recommended calf exercises.
You can buy a pair of support stockings in the pharmacy over the counter, which will reduce leg swelling."
Road accidents are among the most common causes of injury in pregnant women. To protect yourself and your baby, always wear your seatbelt with the diagonal strap across your body between your breasts and with the lap belt over your upper thighs. The straps should lie above and below your bump, not over it.
Destination and insurance
Before you travel, think about your destination. Could you get medical help if you needed it? Are any vaccinations needed which might be harmful to the pregnancy?
Make sure your travel insurance is up to date and covers every eventuality and also – for travel in the third trimester, maybe avoid travelling to places you really can't imagine yourself giving birth.
Also, if you are flying to the US, make sure you double-check with your insurance company, as you may not be covered for medical costs if you should go into labour and deliver in a hospital while there.\
Rules by airline
The rules on how far into your third trimester you are allowed to fly varies from airline to airline, and it is always adviced to get in touch with them directly just to make sure before you book anything. However, as a general rule, this is what their websites state:
Ryanair: Expectant mothers are free to fly up to 28 weeks of pregnancy. Once an uncomplicated pregnancy reaches its 28th week, Ryanair requires expectant mothers to carry a “fit to fly” letter (downloadable on ryanair.com), completed by their midwife or doctor.
For an uncomplicated single pregnancy, travel is not permitted after week 36, while for an uncomplicated multiple pregnancy, travel is not allowed after week 32.
Incidentally, babies must be at least eight days old before Ryanair will allow them on board, in case you’d planned on jetting off with Junior.
Aer Lingus: With Aer Lingus, the destination matters when it comes to how far into your third trimester they will let you board their flights.
For flights between Ireland and the UK, pregnant women can travel up to week 32 with written permission from a doctor. To travel between weeks 32-35, the woman must bring an Expectant Mother Travel Advice form (downloadable from aerlingus.com), completed by their medical professional. Travel is not permitted after week 36 on this route.
For all other Aer Lingus routes, women can travel up to week 28 of the pregnancy with written permission from a doctor/midwife. Women who are 28-33 weeks’ pregnant must complete and bring an Expectant Mother Travel Advice form, while those over 34 weeks pregnant are not permitted to travel.
Norwegian Air: You can fly up until 2 weeks before your due-date with certain restrictions.