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Mothering › Groups › August 2012 Birth Club › Discussions › How late is "too late" to fly?

How late is "too late" to fly?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Has anyone flown or would consider flying at 30+ wks in their pregnancy?


Originally, I had planned on "no more travel" after my last trip in April (I had placenta previa at the time, which was a big worry factor but which has now cleared up).  But I am just at my wits end being alone here without DH, my close friends or family and feel that I could/need/should squeeze in one last trip to the east coast on very short notice (like THIS week, which is going to cost me a fortune nonetheless)!


I've heard that certain airlines won't let you fly without a doctor's note after 29 wks, or the 7th month.  Other's won't allow you to fly within 30 days of due date.  I do feel that I could handle the flights alone, which would be about 8 hrs (with 2 connections) - if I leave my dog behind w/the dog-sitter (booooo).  I'm just worried that they might not let me onboard since I look VERY pregnant (being so short and small framed)....??

post #2 of 18

It comes down to two things in my book


1) are you comfortable with the idea of doing it? Is your midwife/Dr ok with it?


2) If flying, is it legal/allowed by your airline? (Each is different, and domestic rules are totally different then international). Call the airline as ask before you book. Some allow flying up until 36w domestically and international it really varies by airline.



On that note, I am 30/31w and will be traveling on Sunday for 4-5 days to Budapest (but by train not air). I actually asked my Doctor at my last appointment if she felt this would be ok/safe/no issues in terms of labor.. . Since I got the green light, I am totally fine going. I will be taking it really easy there and not much working.. plus they have amazing thermal baths there which I can soak in the majority of the time I'm there :) 


With DS1 I flew international almost every month (each flight was anywhere from 12-24 hours in one direction). After week 28, I found it uncomfortable but not impossible to travel (with a singleton pregnancy). I would recommend if you're doing any longer flights (over 4 hours) to get compression socks, they help a ton so you don't have any leg swelling.. I would still fly now with my twin pregnancy but would limit the flights to 2 hours just because sitting is uncomfortable for me right now for long lengths of time.


If it were me, I would go!!! With that being said, I travel almost every month (sometimes 2-3x in a month) for work, so I'm really comfortable with air/train travel of any type.. .. if you are a person who finds its really stressful and taxing, I'd reconsider.

post #3 of 18
I'll be flying for my sister's wedding at the end of the month (right around 30 weeks) and have been previously ok'd to fly by my midwives, though I will check in with them again at my appt on Wednesday. It's a short flight so the only concern would be my possibly-developing preeclampsia. I did the same flight at the beginning of the month for a funeral, and it wasn't too bad except my feet swelled, my seat didn't recline at all so the tray table barely fit in front of my belly, and I ended up getting a cold and having my ear clog up on the return flight. I should mention I kind of hate flying anyway though.
post #4 of 18

I would not recommend this - but I flew at 36 weeks with my first - long story ;).  I didn't tell the airline I was prego and they didn't ask.  So, it's a pretty wide-open envelope and a very personal decision.  Ideally - I would fly up until about 34 weeks and have very few concerns.  But that's just me!  And yes, it depends on the airline as well. 

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies!  I'm used to traveling alone and frequently (pre-pregnancy).  It was pretty uncomfortable during my trip in April but it was also a multi-leg trip with the dog, DH, tons of luggage, and long drives in between.  At the time, I said I was glad for it to be my last trip.  But I think this time, because I'd be traveling alone w/minimal bags and going to a destination of my choice (home!!) it feels much more doable - just a brief walk through a couple airports and sitting through a few flights......as long as there are no delays/cancellations and I have access to decent food!!

post #6 of 18

I'll be flying at 30 weeks, and then at 33 weeks. My midwife said both are fine, but the last one is close to when they tell people to stop flying. Personally I would prefer not to fly for the 33 weeks trip, but I can't get out of it.

post #7 of 18

I have to take two 2-week work trips in late June and late July, so I'll be flying cross-country at 30w, home at 32w, back out at 34w, and home again at 36w.  Ugh.  I'm not looking forward to it, but my midwife & doctor have said it's okay so I'll get some socks & make do.  irked.gif

post #8 of 18

My doctor's general rule is no  significant travel after 32 weeks. I'll probably respect that, although obviously plenty of people travel later and do just fine.  I think one of the biggest worries with late travel is that you will go into labor and deliver a premie in an unknown place where you have no support and not be able to leave for many weeks.  But since your whole point is to travel closer to a support network, this strikes me as much less of a concern. In fact maybe it's a benefit if your husband isn't around.  


I think you are not going to have a problem with most airlines. You may want to double check their policies and bring a doctor's note with your due date just in case.

post #9 of 18

I've always been told 35-36 weeks if things are going fine.  I love being able to have an excuse not to make the 5 hour drive to see my parents and in laws (love them, hate the drive) so I usually refuse to travel more than an hour away after 32 weeks.  I did end up making a 5 hour drive and going camping when I was 34 weeks with my second though b/c I really wanted to camp at the beach.  It's not going to happen this time though  b/c that abor was only 100 minutes so once 36 weeks hits I'm going to be terrified to even drive across town.

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

Ah, this is great to hear from all of you.  I feel much better/less guilty about making the trip, and again I do feel physically up to it (although I know my parents are going to absolutely freak out about my visit - since they hardly venture far at all!)  Unfortunately it looks too late to make my trip this weekend (which I really reeeeeally wanted) since flights are close to $2K now and the times/connections are terrible (gotta save that $$ to fly our peeps out after baby comes!). But I'm still considering booking something soon since DH will be away even more next month and I'm starting to go stir-crazy here.....Honestly, I'm not even worried at this point about possibly having the baby during my visit and getting "stuck" there - at least I'd be with my family (I'd only be very sad that DH misses out)!

post #11 of 18

I took a trip when I was either 30 or 32 weeks with my first and it was pretty uncomfortable. I was surprised because I was still feeling pretty good, otherwise. That was 6 years ago, and since then I've come to pretty much loathe flying anyway. But I think if you're feeling up for it then there should be no major reason not to go! I have a couple of semi-long car trips planned for later this summer, but I always travel more comfortably in the car, anyway,

post #12 of 18

I also think I would do it much later if I didn't have any other kid(s) yet or with me.. the jet lag and recovery time is much harder when you have to factor in a toddler or kid in my experience.

post #13 of 18

I'm planning to fly back 'home' for my baby shower at 34 weeks.  I'm not too worried about it as everything has gone fine up until this point.  I guess I should talk to my midwife about it, but I didn't since I saw that 36 weeks was the cut off for airlines pregnancy travel restrictions.  Maybe I'll mention it at my appointment today.

post #14 of 18

I did see one story (I think on the main page?) of a  woman who said she had serious swelling issues flying late in pregnancy and that the swelling took a really really long time to go away after, even post-partum.  Not sure anyone has any experience with that, but it might be something to consider if you're already struggling with swelling.  Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it.  I'm not doing any flying, but we'll be doing a car trip at 35 weeks, which I think should be fine.

post #15 of 18

I'm 28 weeks and just got back from from a trip halfway across the country. Before this, I'd had no problems with swelling, and I've been feeling good in general. But after the flights out there, my feet definitely swelled. They never really went down while I was there, although I think there are a lot of factors why: I was in a much hotter and more humid climate, didn't exercise, didn't sleep enough, ate poorly, and was stressed in general. The trip home was worse though--we had to land in Denver due to mechanical issues, and we sat in an overheated plane for another couple of hours before they told us the plane was unfixable. While waiting, I did get up and walk up and down the aisle, but by then it was too late for my feet. They got so incredibly swollen--it was pretty ugly and uncomfortable. It's only a few days later now that they've somewhat returned to normal.


Having said all of that, I would still go too! I suggest staying active, drinking lots of water, elevating your feet as much as possible and getting lots of sleep while you're there. I don't really want to fly again for the rest of my pregnancy because of my experience, but I would do it if I had a good enough reason/destination!

post #16 of 18

My flight is tomorrow morning, and I think I'm as prepared as I can be. I got some compression socks to hopefully help reduce the swelling. I'm sick with a cold (again!) which really sucks so I'm going to take a sudafed & a plain cough suppressant before the flight and I got some "ear-planes" ear plugs, so hopefully my ear(s) won't cause me any problems. I also had my partner upgrade us to early boarding (& seats that are toward the front - should be near one of the restrooms) so we won't have to struggle to fit our bags overhead if the flight is full. I think the toughest thing will be staying hydrated enough without needing to pee at really inconvenient times. 

post #17 of 18

I'm flying at 32 weeks, from Portland, OR to San Fran.  Short flight.  I did specify to the person booking (work trip) that I needed a direct flight, and that more leg room/bulkhead would be really good.


I feel pretty okay about it, it is a short trip (in Sunday night and out Tuesday afternoon), but if I had my preference I wouldn't travel at this point.  DD was 41 wks, 1 day - so I feel fairly confident that I will be okay.


Sarahdb - landing in Denver was probably a big culprit.  Elevation is quite high, and even though I lived there for the first 31 years of my life, I get a bit swollen when I go back to visit when I am *not* pregnant.  Dry and high, body does weird things to compensate.


All the advice I have gotten from midwives and prenatal yoga teacher are to keep hydrated and get up and move or stretch your legs to keep blood moving. 


Good luck on your trip. :)

post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

AdinaLPenny and VV - good luck on your upcoming trips!  Eleuthia, hope yours went well!


Well my mom has recently decided to come out (from MA) for a visit here this month - in order to keep me from flying anywhere at all - so I'll have some much needed company while DH is away for 10 days.  That's in just a couple of weeks from now, and then I won't be making any plans to fly in July (as I'll be 36+ wks, too far for my comfort level).  I feel like the next 2 months are going to fly by quickly now, so I'm not as worried about the impending boredom or loneliness like I was earlier.  I've also been busy lately planning our move to NYC this fall, which is a nice reminder that I'll be back "home" again on the East Coast relatively soon.....  :)

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