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Planning to Travel by Air While Pregnant?

I’m four months pregnant and planning to travel on a commercial flight during the Thanksgiving holiday. Is this okay for me and my baby?

"You shouldn't have to cancel your travel plans if you're healthy and have a low-risk pregnancy," says Ashley Rizzutto, M.D., a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. "Air travel is usually safe during the first and second trimester as long as your doctor approves."

Dr. Rizzutto says women are typically safe to fly up to 36 weeks into their pregnancies.

"If you're planning air travel close to your due date, especially in the 40th week, or have problems that require special medical attention, you may want to rethink your travel arrangements," she says.

"Be sure to check the airline's rules and regulations regarding flying while pregnant. One airline strongly recommends against air travel after the 38th week of pregnancy, and, in some cases, asks pregnant women not to sit in an emergency exit seat," Dr. Rizzutto adds.

Some airlines ask pregnant women to present a note from their doctor stating that it's safe for them to fly, so it may be wise to travel with an updated copy of your prenatal record.

"Whatever the state of your pregnancy, be sure to consult with your physician prior to air travel," concludes Dr. Rizzutto.