PHCC affirms flying is not harmful during pregnancy, but pregnant women should follow some tips to protect themselves and their unborn baby. In this regard, Dr. Hanan Al Shamery, Family Medicine Specialist at Airport Health Center at PHCC, said that pregnant women should consult their doctor before flying about their destination and number of traveling hours to avoid any complications.
Dr. Al Shamery urged pregnant women to take all precautions, noting that there is a difference between short-distance travel (around 4 hours) and long-distance travel (longer than 4 hours). She also recommends pregnant women, before traveling, to secure medical care in the country she wishes to travel to by getting health insurance to cover any medical expenses during travel.
Pregnant women who do not have any health problems can travel to any country, Dr. Al Shamery added, noting that the best time to travel is during weeks 14 to 27 of pregnancy. It is also preferable to avoid traveling during the first trimester, as the overall risk of miscarriage is greatest during the first trimester, especially in case of long-distance travel.
Dr. Al Shamery said that pregnant women should follow the doctor's advice and take all medications necessary as they may suffer from symptoms like nausea and fatigue during the first trimester.
The safest time to fly during pregnancy is before 37 weeks or, if carrying twins, before 32 weeks, and passing through airport security devices does not pose a risk to a pregnant woman or her unborn child.
For air travel, pregnant women should avoid sitting near the emergency exit seat and sit in the aisle seat or in the middle seat to avoid plane pressure.
As the pregnant woman's body goes through various physiological changes — including an increase in heart rate and a slight increase in blood pressure — she may be exposed to some health problems. For instance, women are at higher risk for a blood clot during pregnancy, such as a blood clot occurring in the legs.
To avoid having an unexpected clot in one of the legs as a result of sitting in the same place for a long time, it is important to walk for several minutes every hour when traveling by plane, and to take a break approximately every hour when traveling by car.
Dr. Al Shamery advised pregnant women to wear comfortable clothes, drink adequate amounts of fluids, and stay hydrated.
She also noted that pregnant women should be aware that some countries require travelers to take certain vaccines or conduct certain tests before traveling, such as the PCR Test for COVID-19 and urged them to sanitize their hands, wear a face mask, and adhere to social distancing.
They should also watch their food and water intake to avoid diarrhea, which poses an additional risk to the pregnant woman and her unborn baby compared to others.
A pregnant woman needs a constant follow-up during her pregnancy, so it is important to consult a doctor while she is abroad for a long time to check on her health and her baby's health and monitor her weight, in addition to conducting some routine checks, such as measuring blood pressure, testing blood sugar level, and doing an ultrasound to check her unborn baby's growth