Flying when pregnant: Bump takes to the skies

Here we give you a no-nonsense guide to flying when pregnant.

Flying during pregnancy can feel rather overwhelming. The bottom line is that as long as you’re experiencing a healthy pregnancy, it’s perfectly safe for you and bump to fly. 

Although the internet is full of conflicting advice and information about how many weeks pregnant you can be and still fly…

Most airlines will allow you to fly until 37 weeks if you’re expecting a single baby, and 32 weeks if you’re expecting twins.

After 28 weeks, many airlines will require a letter from your doctor to confirm that you have a low-risk pregnancy. The best policy is to get in touch with the airline you’re planning on flying with, and they’ll be able to confirm their policies. It is also recommendable to discuss any travel plans with your health provider before flying.

At 30 weeks pregnant, we flew from Madrid to Dublin with Iberia, and were really thrilled with their service. I booked my flight rather last minute, and it was just by luck that flights with Iberia worked out cheaper than other airlines.

I had an appointment with my ObGyn about five days before I was due to fly. She confirmed that flying when pregnant was perfectly safe for both of us and really helped to clear up any doubts I had. I asked her for a letter to confirm this, so she gave me one to confirm my dates, and to say that my pregnancy was progressing without any risks, so I was clear to travel.

Flying when pregnant: At the airport

When I arrived at Madrid airport, I went to the Iberia information desk to ask if I needed to present the letter to anyone, or if I just needed it in case it was requested. The gentleman at the desk advised me to show it at the departure gate when I arrived. When I got there, I showed it to the flight attendant who told me that I was entitled to priority boarding. She told me to take a seat and once the gate opened, she called me over so that I was the first person to board. Once on the plane, another of the flight attendants immediately offered to store my bag for me in the overhead locker so I didn’t have to lift it, and once we landed, she helped me to get it down again.

One of my concerns about the flight was the discomfort of sitting in a tiny seat for three hours with sciatica. I was lucky enough to not have anyone in the seats next to me, so I was able to get up and stretch my legs without bothering anyone. The seats also have slightly more legroom than some of the other low-cost airlines, so that little bit of extra comfort was much appreciated!

On the way home from Dublin airport, again I presented the letter at the boarding gate. One of the assistants made a phone call to make sure everything was in order, and again, I was offered priority boarding before the rest of the passengers. They offered to take my bag to store in the hold so I didn’t need to take it on board with me, and once I arrived in Madrid I was able to collect it with the rest of the luggage.

As you can see, flying when pregnant is super straightforward with a low-risk pregnancy. Check with your airline and your ObGyn and most importantly, have a great trip!

For more information on preparing to be a mum, check out our mum-to-be blog.