The Potential Risks of Flying While Pregnant

Air travel during pregnancy presents potential risks, but a medical escort or air ambulance can help you fly safely when you need to travel for medical reasons. Most doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid flying when they have a higher risk of complications or are late into their pregnancy. However, medical escorts and medical evacuation teams provide onboard medical care during transport in the event you need to travel at any stage in your pregnancy.

Whether you temporarily reside in another country or are on an extended international trip, understanding the potential risks of flying while pregnant and what options are available can help you make the best decision for yourself or your partner.

Potential Risks of Flying While Pregnant

Certain medical conditions associated with pregnancy can pose risks that may prevent you from flying. It’s important to understand the risks before booking a trip or moving abroad. To minimize potential risks, it’s advisable to avoid commercial flights without medical support during pregnancy.

Labor or Birth Without Medical Support

Premature labor is a possibility at any stage of a pregnancy. If you or your partner go into labor during a commercial flight, you face the risk of having your baby without the support and medical attention you need. While flight attendants receive basic first-aid training, they lack the medical knowledge and equipment to handle potential complications.

If you need to fly while pregnant, you can fly with a medical escort or schedule a medical evacuation flight. A medical escort provides necessary medical care on a commercial flight if you experience any complications during your flight, and a medical evacuation team provides medical care on a private aircraft. Medical escorts and evacuation flight teams travel with the necessary medical equipment to handle any urgent medical matters.

Blood Clots

Pregnancy reduces blood flow to an individual’s lower legs, and a plane’s low cabin pressure can further strain circulation. Due to these reasons, flying while pregnant increases the likelihood of a blood clot. You can help prevent blood clots on a flight by wearing compression stockings and walking or stretching periodically. A medical escort can also fly with you to help prevent blood clots and assist with any complications you experience.

Low-Quality Health Care in Developing Countries

Another risk of flying while pregnant is based on where you travel. Developing countries typically have lower-quality medical services and facilities than developed countries. If you travel to or temporarily reside in a developing country while pregnant, you may need an air ambulance flight to reach a higher-quality hospital for care. In this situation, you can contact a medical evacuation company to transport you to a medical facility in your home country or schedule a medical escort to fly with you on a commercial flight.

You must also consider immunizations and common diseases if you plan to fly to a developing country. Some countries require you to receive vaccines that are unsafe for unborn babies, and certain diseases like malaria can cause pregnancy complications, low birth weight, slower intrauterine growth, stillbirth, premature delivery or miscarriage.

Lack of Health Insurance Coverage

Another risk of flying while pregnant is that your insurance may not cover your health care needs in your destination country. Finding and paying for quality care in another country can be challenging, so it’s essential to have adequate travel health insurance. Some travel health insurance policies don’t cover pregnancy-related medical needs, so read each policy’s fine print to choose the best option.

Reasons Not to Travel While Pregnant

Certain factors can make flying while pregnant more risky. Flying with a medical escort or scheduling a medical evacuation flight is especially crucial if any of the following factors apply.

You’re in Your Third Trimester

Labor or preterm labor is more likely to occur during the third trimester of pregnancy than the first or second. For this reason, some airlines prohibit individuals who are over 35 weeks pregnant from flying, or they require a doctor’s written approval before allowing the individual on the aircraft. Flying with a medical escort or scheduling an air ambulance flight can help you fly safely during your final trimester.

You Have Pregnancy Complications

Doctors advise individuals to avoid air travel if they experience or have previously experienced certain pregnancy complications, such as:

  • Current or past gestational diabetes.
  • Prior miscarriage.
  • Past premature labor.
  • Cervical complications.
  • Multiples pregnancy, such as twins or triplets.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Prior ectopic pregnancy.
  • Current or past high blood pressure.
  • Current or past pre-eclampsia.
  • Vaginal bleeding.
  • Current or past placenta abnormalities.
  • First pregnancy and age 35 or over.

Certain health conditions place a person at a higher risk for complications or preterm labor. If you have any pregnancy-related health conditions, a medical escort can prevent and address any complications that may arise during a flight.

Should You Travel in a Plane for Medical Reasons While Pregnant?

While air travel during pregnancy presents some risks, there are ways to travel safely. Some situations may require you to travel for medical reasons, requiring you to fly. For example, you may need to reach the nearest quality hospital in a less-developed country, or you may need to transfer from an international hospital to a specialist in your home country.

A medical escort can help you reach your destination safely, monitoring your health along the way and providing medical intervention if necessary. Medical escorts keep patients comfortable and safe during their flight. If you fly with a medical escort, you may sit beside your medical support escort or remain on a stretcher if the airline has the space to accommodate it.

You can also book an air ambulance flight when you need to travel for medical reasons. An air ambulance is an aircraft fully equipped with an experienced medical team and equipment. You can trust a medical evacuation team to pick you up from any location and take you to the medical facility you need to reach.

Travel Safely With a REVA Medical Escort

When it comes to pregnancy and travel, your health and safety are essential. Air travel presents potential risks for pregnant individuals, so it’s important to fly with the proper support. A REVA medical escort can help you remain safe and comfortable during your flight if you need to travel while pregnant.

Our medical escorts provide expert medical monitoring and care to prevent and address potential complications during flight. We also offer air evacuation services if you find yourself needing immediate medical transport between international locations. Our teams put safety first by following strict procedures, policies and training schedules. Contact REVA to request a quote for a medical escort or air ambulance services.