How to Travel by Plane When Pregnant
Ready to conquer the world with you and your unborn babe? We will tell you how to travel by plane when pregnant, and get you on your next adventure!
Admittedly, even though I was a seasoned traveler, I was feeling a little stomach fluttery (and it wasn’t morning sickness). I remember asking my fellow mom friends and relatives for some advice on how to travel by plane when pregnant, and many had some insightful thoughts to share.
Here are the tried and true experiences to guide you on confidently traveling, baby bump, and all!
- Talk with your OBGYN or Midwife
- Check with the Airlines
- Walk & Hydrate
- Airplane Outfit
- Pack Light
- Ask for Help
- Maternity Support Bands
- Airline Carrier Pregnancy Information
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Philippine Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Enjoy Your Trip
Talk with your OBGYN or Midwife
Talking with your doctor or midwife prior to traveling when pregnant is essential, as they may have concerns depending on how your pregnancy is going. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) does not recommend air travel for pregnant women with medical or obstetric conditions that may be exacerbated by flight or that could require emergency care.
If you don’t have any medical concerns, flying by plane is absolutely okay! There are some differences that can happen with your body due to the plane environment, such as turbulence while in the air. Be sure to wear your seatbelt while in your seat at all times (as if this wasn’t already obvious).
Some carriers require a medical certificate for air travel. Be sure to talk to your doctor beforehand.
Check with the Airlines
Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, you may need to provide medical documentation or a medical certificate approving your air travel. At times, there could be different requirements if air travel is domestic or international. Most major carriers have this information on their website. Move to the Airline Carrier Pregnancy Information section of this post to find helpful information all in one place!
Walk & Hydrate
Walking and drinking plenty of water are keys to feeling better once you reach your destination. According to the ACOG, periodic movement of the lower extremities and maintenance of adequate hydration can minimize the risks of health conditions of lower extremity edema and venous thrombotic events. Book the aisle seat for easier access to getting up and walking around. During my pregnant travels, I would try to get up each hour or so, to walk the plane for a couple of minutes.
Be sure to wear loose-fitting and/or stretchy clothing during pregnant flight travel. Your body typically expands during air travel due to cabin pressure, and being pregnant is no exception to that. In addition to comfy clothing, it is recommended to also wear compression socks to combat the risk of lower extremity edema and venous thrombosis.
Keep it simple; loose basics and shoes that are already broken make for a better overall flying experience while pregnant.
This really should say “pack light or have a lightweight carry-on”. To avoid really having to lift anything heavy, you can also check your luggage and only worry about a personal item onboard the plane. The CDC makes the point of calling out the limitations of heavy lifting during pregnancy. This helpful infographic can guide you on recommendations in this space.
Ask for Help
This one can be tricky, as I’ve heard many times that flight attendants aren’t supposed to help you with your luggage and put them in the overhead compartment bins (even though I have had help before). I’ve had strangers offer to help when I was pregnant as well. In the times that I’ve found myself needing help, I still asked. No shame in that!
From personal experience, I lifted something too heavy and learned the hard way with a painful pubic bone split when I was 5 months pregnant!
Maternity Support Bands
A quality maternity support band was a godsend, especially after a premature pubic bone split. These special support bands help distribute baby bump weight and provide the much-needed support as your belly grows. Most find this extra support helpful in the later months of pregnancy.
Pro tip: If you are going on a trip where there will be a lot of walking, be sure to bring one of these along to help support your bump and pelvis.
Airline Carrier Pregnancy Information
This information is updated through April 2022. Although we do our best to keep current information here, you will ALWAYS want to double check with your carrier for current guidance.
Air Canada’s site shares that if you are having a normal pregnancy, without any preterm labor issues, you are able to travel with them up to and including through your 36th week.
Read Air Canada’s Pregnancy and Breastfeeding page here.
This carrier has a page dedicated to Pregnant travelers. Their site shares that they do not require any documentation. Air France does offer resources for making your trip more comfortable, as well as pregnant travelers’ tips.
Read the full page here.
Alaska Airlines does not currently have anything designated on its site for expecting mothers regarding air travel.
Contact Alaska Airlines directly if you have concerns regarding using them during pregnant travel or read more here.
This carrier’s policy is pretty straightforward. From their site, “If your due date is within 4 weeks of your flight, you must provide a doctor’s certificate stating that you’ve been recently examined and you’re fit to fly.” America Airlines notes the difference between domestic and international flights though.
For domestic flights, if you are within 7 days before or after your birth, you will need to show approval from your doctor, as well as have a special assistance coordinator. International flights (and flights that take place over water), also require the clearance of a special assistance coordinator if you are within four weeks of your due date. The same stipulations apply if you are 7 days before or after your delivery.
Read the full information here.
For those traveling with All Nippon Airways, be prepared to fill out a medical form if you are within 28 days of your due date. The medical form can easily be downloaded from their site. Be sure to have it filled out in advance and bring it to the airport on the day of departure. You are able to provide medical certification in lieu of the form as well. If you are traveling within 14 days of your due date, ANA requires a physician to accompany you on your trip.
Read ANA’s full policy here.
Prepare for your journey with British Airways by ensuring that you’re not beyond 36 weeks pregnant (with one baby). If you are pregnant with more than one baby, then British Airways advises no flying after 32 weeks. Although you are not required to fill out their medical form, you are encouraged to carry a letter or statement from your medical provider regarding your ability to travel.
Read the full details here.
If you have travel booked with Cathay Pacific be sure to read their guidelines for pregnant travelers. They recommend carrying documentation supporting your projected due date. The airline’s guidelines are specific in that they reserve the right to deny boarding if you are not carrying appropriate medical certification as well. Cathay Pacific has a useful chart outlining the requirements for uncomplicated pregnancies versus complicated ones, as well as providing direction depending on what stage of pregnancy you are in.
Be sure to read their full guidelines for air travel while pregnant.
Traveling with Delta airlines while pregnant can prove quite easy according to their site. This airline does not impose any restrictions during any stage of pregnancy. However, during your eighth month of pregnancy, they do recommend that you check with your doctor regarding your ability to travel.
EasyJet’s policy fits with their name- easy. Easy to understand and easy to follow. This airline shares that you are allowed to fly “quite late” into your pregnancy. Their site points out the following:
- If You have experienced any complications during your pregnancy please consult your medical practitioner before flying with Us
- You can travel up to the end of the 35th week for single pregnancies
- If You are expecting more than one baby You can travel up to the end of the 32nd week
If flying with Emirates, as long as you don’t exhibit any complications with your pregnancy by the 29th week, you are okay to book and fly as you normally would. Beyond the 29th week, Emirates requires you to bring a medical certificate signed by your midwife or doctor. Your medical certificate should include the following information:
- Confirmation of whether you are carrying one baby or multiple
- Validation of no pregnancy complications
- Estimated due date
- The last date on which you are deemed fit to travel
- Statement of good health
- Validation that there is no known reason of why you shouldn’t be traveling
Emirates also states, “You aren’t allowed to fly after the 32nd week of a multiple pregnancy or the 36th week of a single pregnancy.”
Read their full policy here.
Etihad Airways permits flying during the first 28 weeks of normal pregnancy without a medical certificate. Like other airlines, they do recommend speaking to your doctor prior to flying to ensure your own safety.
This airline also makes a distinction between single and multiple pregnancies.
For single pregnancy, you may fly between 29 and 36 weeks, as long as you have a medical certificate to fly. You are able to download their medical certificate here. 37 weeks of pregnancy and beyond, you will not be permitted to fly.
Women carrying multiple will have to abide by similar requirements, with a difference in allowed weeks. Weeks between 29 and 32 weeks will require their medical certificate and travel beyond 33 weeks pregnant will not be allowed.
Read Etihad’s full policy here.
JetBlue’s guidelines are fairly straightforward and less restrictive compared to other airline carriers. This airline shares, “Customers expecting to deliver within seven days are not allowed to travel on JetBlue unless you present documentation from your doctor, dated no more than 72 hours prior to departure.”
Documentation must include the following information:
- The doctor has examined you and found you to be physically fit for air travel to and from your destinations on the date of the flight.
- Your estimated date of delivery is after the date of your last flight.
Read their full policy here.
Japan Airlines’ site calls out specifics pertaining to pregnant travel. Travel between 12 and 28 weeks of pregnancy is considered a stable period for airline travel. For international travel, a medical certificate may be required if one or more of the following applies:
- When the expected delivery date is within 28 days.
- *When the due date is in 14 days or less, an obstetrician must accompany the expectant mother.
- When the due date is not certain.
- When multiple births may be expected.
- When there were previous premature births.
To read Japan Airlines’ full policy and to download their medical certificate, click here.
This Skyteam partner welcomes you aboard during your pregnancy in almost all instances. Their website shares that they will not recommend that you fly if you are more than 36 weeks pregnant or if you have delivered within the past week.
KLM does advise that you should consult with your doctor prior to pregnant travel.
Read their policy here.
Expecting mothers with uncomplicated pregnancies and not beyond their 36th week of pregnancy (or 4 weeks until their expected due date) are able to fly with Lufthansa without a medical certificate. They do recommend that you carry a medical certificate (supplied by them to give to your provider) after the 28th week of pregnancy.
Here is the criteria they would like your doctor to include:
- confirmation that the pregnancy is progressing without complications
- the expected due date
- the gynecologist should expressly state that the patient’s pregnancy does not prevent her from flying
- in the case of uncomplicated twin or multiple pregnancies, flying is possible up to the end of the 32nd week of pregnancy
- because of the increased risk of thrombosis during pregnancy, we recommend the wearing of compression stockings in the aircraft
Read Lufthansa’s site here.
We were able to locate pregnant travel-specific information in the Frequently Asked Questions section of Malaysia Airlines’ site here. Upon check-in, they ask that all pregnant travelers fill out a Release & Indemnity Form.
Here are the general guidelines they also provide:
- For normal single pregnancy for Domestic/International travel, MH does not accept any pregnancy cases after the 36th week to travel on their flight.
- For complicated or multiple pregnancies for Domestic/International travel, MH does not accept any pregnancy cases from the beginning of the 32nd week to travel on their flight.
- Passengers are advised to check with the embassy of your country of destination should there be any local restrictions into the country for expectant/pregnant mother
Read the FAQ here.
In order to fly you are asked to fill out an Expectant Mothers Information Sheet (EMIS). Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy will determine if you will need medical clearance. Philippine Airlines shares the following specifications on their site:
An expectant mother may be accepted for travel if she is not beyond 35 weeks (8 months and 3 weeks) pregnant under the following conditions:
- Expectant Mothers Information Sheet (EMIS) Form Part 1 is properly accomplished
- For those between the sixth and eighth month (24-32 weeks) of pregnancy. EMIS Form Part 2 is properly accomplished by their personal physician. In addition, if the expectant mother is below 21 years of age, the consent in writing of the husband, parent, or guardian must be secured
- For expectant mothers beyond 32 weeks of pregnancy, EMIS Part 3 must be accomplished by the Flight Surgeon or Company Physician who shall issue the clearance for travel
- Clearance for air travel will be determined and indicated on the Expectant Mothers Information Sheet (EMIS) form. Expectant mothers need to fill up the EMIS form on a per-flight basis. The maximum validity of an EMIS form is 7 days unless otherwise specified by the attending Physician/Flight Surgeon. The notation of the attending Physician/Flight Surgeon shall prevail.
For further information read their policy here.
If you are traveling with Ryanair, you can expect to fly up to your 28th week of pregnancy (keeping in mind that you’re healthy and do not have any pregnancy-related complications). Beyond the 28th week, Ryanair requires a ‘Fit to Fly’ letter. This document will need to be completed by your attending doctor. You can download the Fit to Fly letter directly from their site.
If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy you are permitted to fly until the end of the 36th week for a single pregnancy, or the 32nd week for multiples.
Read the full details here.
Singapore Airlines notes specific requirements on their site, pertaining to pregnant travel. As with most airlines, they recommend speaking with your doctor prior to travel.
If you are at 28 weeks are less, you are permitted to travel they do not require a medical certificate. Uncomplicated pregnancies (29 to 36 weeks for a single pregnancy or 29 to 32 weeks if carrying multiple) are allowed to fly as long as you have a medical document certifying the following items:
- fitness to travel
- number of weeks of pregnancy
- estimated date of delivery.
- The certificate must be dated within ten days of the first flight after 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Air travel is not allowed if you are beyond the pregnancy criteria outlined above.
Read their full policy here.
Like other airlines listed here, Southwest Airlines advises consulting with your doctor prior to air travel. Their site recommends not traveling beginning your 38th week of pregnancy.
Read their Advice to Pregnant Passengers here.
The Turkish Airlines site provides thorough guidance on what to expect as a pregnant passenger. Their online chart distinguishes the difference in travel ability based on how many babies you might be expecting.
Here are the current guidelines:
Expecting 1 baby: Weeks 1 to 27, permitted to fly; 28 to 35 weeks doctor’s note required; 36 weeks and beyond, not permitted to fly.
Expecting more than 1 baby: Weeks 1 to 27, permitted to fly; 28 to 31 weeks doctor’s note required; 32 weeks and beyond, not permitted to fly.
Read their full policy and advice here.
United Airlines keeps it fairly straightforward on their site when it comes to pregnant travelers. You may fly without medical documentation up to the beginning of your 36th week pregnant. Beyond that date, they airlines require providing doctor’s medical certificate stating that you are fit for travel. They also require an original and two copies, with it dated no more than 72 hours of your flight departure.
Read United’s full policy here.
With Qantas, you will need to carry a certificate or letter from your doctor or midwife confirming the following information:
- the estimated date of delivery
- whether it is a single or multiple pregnancy
- that your pregnancy is routine and that there are no complications.
There is also a specification for flight less than or greater than 4 hours, as well as routine single or multiple pregnancies.
Routine Single Pregnancy: Flights less than 4 hours; permitted to travel up to the end of the 40th week. Flights greater than 4 hours’ permitted to travel up to the end of the 36th week.
Routine Multiple Pregnancy: Flights less than 4 hours; permitted to fly up to the end of the 36th week. Flights greater than 4 hours; permitted to fly up to the end of the 32nd week.
Read more at Qantas.
Expecting mothers will need to read the fine details of Qatar Airways’ policy. Here is a quick rundown of what you can expect before flying with this carrier.
If you are beyond 36 weeks pregnant, you will not be permitted to fly.
Up to the end of you 28th week of uncomplicated pregnancy, you are recommended to have a doctor’s certificate, but are not required to fill out a MEDIF form (available on their site).
Single pregnancy (no complications):
- 29th week through the end of the 32nd week: Doctor’s certificate required. No MEDIF required on the departure flight, but a medical certificate from a qualified doctor has to be issued within 10 days of travel date.
- 33rd week through the end of the 35th week: Doctor’s certificate required and must be issued within 10 days of travel. ugh the end of the 32nd week: Doctor’s certificate required. MEDIF required as well.
Multiple pregnancy or complications:
- 29th week through the end of the 32nd week: Doctor’s certificate and MEDIF form required.
- 33rd week through the end of the 35th week: Not permitted to travel
Read Qatar Airways full policy here.
Virgin’s pregnant traveler policy shares that as long as you have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, you should be able to until your 28th week without needing clearance.
Their guidelines are based on single or multiple pregnancy. For single pregnancy (uncomplicated) travel between 28 and 36 weeks is possible with a certificate from your doctor. If you have multiple pregnancy, you will need the same documentation from your doctor, but the time span is lessened to 28 through 32 weeks pregnant.
Read Virgin’s full Pregnancy and Flying policy here.
Enjoy Your Trip
Most of all, enjoy your next trip! Traveling on a plane when pregnant can be intimidating at first, but with all the precautions considered and these tips in your imaginary pocket, you can confidently board your next flight.
Are there any tips you’ve tried when traveling by plane when pregnant? Share with us below in the comments!