Mom Cleared to Fly Gives Birth on Airplane!


airplane wingOut of the many possible locations a woman could go into labor, I always figured "on an airplane" to be right up there with "the backseat of a taxi" in terms of comfort and, well, hygiene. Long story short: Not the best place to have a baby. But apparently it was as good a birthing place as any for the woman who delivered a son on a Philippine Airlines flight bound for San Francisco on Tuesday.

Amazingly, mom and baby are both doing well. I mean, at 35 weeks pregnant, 41-year-old Aida Alamillo was definitely pushing her luck by taking a long international trip ... or was she? Turns out some airlines are surprisingly well-prepared for in-flight births, while others might not even have allowed a woman in Alamillo's state to board the plane at all.

It's weird to me that such an important safety regulation isn't consistent from airline to airline. And it's not even like the policies differ only in random details or footnotes about legal responsibility.

Take Delta, for instance. There are no restrictions at all regarding pregnancy and domestic or international travel, though Delta does "advise" that women "consult their doctors."

Over on the other end of the cautionary spectrum, you've got American Airlines and restrictions galore. For domestic travel, a doctor's letter is required if you're travelling within four weeks of your due date; travelling within seven days of your due date requires both the doctor's letter plus clearance by an AA special-assistance coordinator. For international travel, you need a doctor's letter within 30 days of your due date (which must be signed within 48 hours of departure); an additional clearance by a special-assistance coordinator is mandatory for flights within 10 days of your due date.

Accordingly, on some airlines (usually on domestic flights), the only assistance available will be a flight attendant with a first-aid kid; on others, there'll be specially trained attendants and hospital-grade gear like forceps.

Still sounds pretty far from my dream birth experience, even if some babies born in the air get perks like free travel for life!

I've never flown more than around 6-and-a-half months pregnant, so I don't have too much personal experience to draw from on this topic, but I can say that I was fairly uncomfortable flying even that far along. So unless it was for some extremely urgent reason, I personally would probably avoid getting on a plane during my last trimester -- definitely my last month.

Would you fly during your last month of pregnancy?

Image via David Sanz/Flickr

delivery, is it safe


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Remus Remus

HA! I want free flights for life! 

nonmember avatar christine

Under normal circumstances, definitely not. However, the story I read about this woman said he father was in bad health. If I had to fly to get to my dad, I would probably take the chance.

Melis... Melissa042807

I flew when I was about 6 months pregnant. Can't say I'd do it again if I had a choice. Being scrunched into a coach seat with the baby smushed up against my stomach gave me the heartburn from hell.

I also find it odd that the policies differ so much from airline to airline. I do agree that if they're going to allowe pregnant women that close to their due date to fly, the flight crew should have training in emergency birth procedures and the equipment they'd need. Because if you go into labor in the air - especially if you're over the ocean - you're kind of stuck. But you'd think they'd have a more universal policy, y'know?

nonmember avatar sara

Yes as long as I wasn't high risk. Giving birth doesn't mean medical emergency. Oh no, I need a doctor to save me!

jalaz77 jalaz77

Sara-but if there was a medical emergency she would have been screwed, in which case an experienced person would be um...helpful to save baby, not just a doc> 

No I would not fly that far long in my pregnancy because it would be uncomfortable. It's not the birthing thing it's that cramped quarters with people I don't want to be with if that were to happen. Plus a plane would absolutely suck, no room.

Bluel... Blueliner

I wonder what they put for place of birth on the birth certificate?

amand... amandasmomma

No, I definitely would not fly the last month of pregnancy.  I wouldn't even fly the first month of pregnancy!!

Evelyn Cortes-Roman

I flew from Germany to El Paso, TX 8 1/2 month pregnant. Was very uncomfortable due to the long trip, small seat and huge belly. Had to go to the bathroom so much that people seem to be feeling sorry for me. At the moment didn’t think of the risk, but looking back I was very lucky nothing happened.

Liz132 Liz132

I think flying while pregnant is safer than someone flying with a heart condition or many other health aliments. If you fly pregnant, yes you could give birth on the plane, but if you had a heart attack on the plane, well that just seems pretty risky to me

hotrd... hotrdumommy

Unless it was an emergency where I had no choice but to fly then yes. Other than that no. Truth is I hate flying and airplanes, so it would have to be something really important for me to even consider getting on the plane.

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