The Latest on Flying During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

flying while pregnantThe American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) just published a new opinion on the safety of flying during pregnancy in the October 2009 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Here's the lowdown.


1. Women with uncomplicated pregnancies don't need to worry about occasional air travel. Recent studies show there is no increased risk of complications in pregnant women who fly.

2. Pregnant women who are at risk for complications that would require emergency care or could be made worse by flying should not fly at any time during their pregnancy.

3. The risk to the fetus from cosmic radiation on flights is negligible—even on the longest flights, travelers will be exposed to no more than 15% of the recommended limit. However, pilots, flight attendants, and frequent travelers, could exceed this limit.

4. The best time to fly is in the second trimester. According to the report, the most common obstetric emergencies occur in the first and third trimesters.

5. To be safe while flying, wear a seat belt at all times. Also, wear support stockings, move your legs periodically, avoid restrictive clothing, walk around the airplane occasionally, and stay hydrated to reduce the risk of blood clots. Avoid gas-producing foods and drinks before flying (the gases expand in your stomach and you'll get very uncomfortable as the plane's altitude increases).

Are you worried about flying during your pregnancy?

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