Up, up, and away! What you need to know about flying and pregnancy 3 years ago

Up, up, and away! What you need to know about flying and pregnancy

40 weeks can feel like a long time.

And, of course, it's not always practical to say that you'll stay on home-soil for the duration of your pregnancy. That and you might fancy a baby-moon or a long weekend away before your little one arrives.

But what are the restrictions when flying while pregnant? Are there any health risks?

Here, HerFamily looks at the facts...


1) Check your airline:

Certain carriers have different cut-off points - so it's always worth checking before you book. When flying within Europe, Aer Lingus allows you to travel up to 27 weeks, and from 28 weeks to 35 weeks with a Expectant Mother Travel Advice Form. If you're going transAtlantic, the cut-off point is 33 weeks (also with the form from 28 weeks).

Similar applies with Ryanair - and it also has a form that must be filled out in advance: Expectant Mother Fitness To Fly.

Ryanair highlights that for "twins, triplets etc. pregnancy, travel is not permitted beyond the end of the 32nd week of pregnancy".


Emirates says "once you have entered your 29th week of pregnancy, a medical certificate or letter signed by an appropriately qualified doctor or midwife is required". That form needs to confirm that you're not expecting multiples and it must state your estimated date of delivery.

Emirates will consider letting you fly after 36 weeks (or after 32 weeks for multiples) but you'll need to fill out this form and make contact with the airline in advance.

2) Get your paperwork in order:

If you're travelling within the EU (or to Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, or Liechtenstein), make sure your European Health Insurance Card is up-to-date. It's free and you can renew it online once you have your PPS number and your previous EHI card to hand. Otherwise, you can apply at a post office or, if you have a medical card or are registered for the drugs payment scheme, you can apply online.

The card means that you're entitled to access medical treatment abroad - either for free or at the cost that residents in that country pay.

However, it isn't a supplement for travel insurance and it doesn't cover private healthcare, so it's advisable to get that in order too and check your policy before flying to make sure you're fully covered while pregnant.


3) Consider your destination:

Especially if you're travelling outside the EU, you should consider the medical facilities at your destination: are they adequate to cope with any problems or emergencies that might arise? Understandably, your pregnancy isn't a time to visit remote locations unless absolutely necessary.

Some countries actually restrict or limit entry of non-national pregnant women. So check that out in advance if you have any doubts or concerns.

4) The practicalities of travel:

Travel can be a pain - more so if you're pregnant and fatigued, or feeling uncomfortable and swollen. Plan your journey as much as you can - including how you're getting to and from the airport - and keep to a pretty modest itinerary once you arrive at your destination.

Then there's your baggage: heavy-lifting during pregnancy should be avoided, so take care when lugging your bags around.

While in the air, wear your seatbelt across your lower lap/upper thighs. Pick an aisle seat if you can (or ask someone to swap!) so you can hop in and out to the loo, and get up to walk around and stretch your legs.