Flying during pregnancy

Air travel and vacation during pregnancy

As a general rule, air travel is not really a problem from a medical point of view, even during pregnancy. But there are exceptions here, too. During the first three months of pregnancy, air travel should rather be avoided, as the embryo is still in the middle of development. But even if you are prone to premature births or miscarriages, smoke, have a fear of flying or suffer from cardiovascular diseases, you should definitely seek medical advice beforehand. Even if the doctor confirms that there is nothing wrong with a flight, you should follow a few basic rules in order not to endanger your health and that of the expected offspring. In the following overview you will find the most important information about "flying during pregnancy".

Pregnant travel by plane

Tips and tricks for pregnant passengers

  • A seat on the aisle makes it easier to reach the restroom more quickly. You should therefore make sure that you secure such a seat in good time (by checking in online or by reserving a seat).
  • During pregnancy, the risk of travel thrombosis is increased - especially on long-haul flights. Short, regular walks along the central aisle or exercises that stimulate blood circulation are therefore recommended.
  • Because of the dry air on board, pregnant women in particular should make sure they drink enough fluids.
  • Since flight regulations require a seat belt to be worn at least during takeoff and landing, you should make sure that it is below the abdomen, in front of the pelvic area. It should also not be pulled too tightly so as not to press on the uterus.
  • For the flight you should choose loose-fitting and comfortable clothing.
  • Small aircraft should rather be avoided during pregnancy. They do not have an automatic pressure equalization system.
  • For a trip during pregnancy, the second trimester is particularly recommended. At this time, the phase of hormonal change is already completed and the belly is not yet too big to be particularly obstructive on the road.
  • Don't forget to take your mother-child passport - or a copy of it - with you in case of emergency in the vacation country.
  • Check with your health insurance company whether they are willing to cover any costs that may arise due to pregnancy or childbirth. This is not always the case!
  • It can also be worthwhile to find out in advance if and where a doctor who speaks your native language is available at the vacation destination.
  • If you are planning to fly during the first months of pregnancy, you should wait until after the 14th week if you experience morning sickness. Air travel can make the feeling of nausea even more unpleasant. After the 14th week, however, the problem usually resolves itself.

Who can get on the plane pregnant?

Some airlines only take pregnant guests on board up to the 34th or 36th week of pregnancy (for pregnancies without complications). Some airlines even limit this policy to the 28th week of pregnancy. In the case of multiple pregnancies, the transport period usually shifts from the 36th to the 32nd week of pregnancy. The reason for this is that labor can begin at any time after this period. Exceptions are made if you can present a medical certificate (Medical Information for Fitness to Travel - MEDIF) filled out by your attending physician. However, you must present the form in a timely manner and you will be informed afterwards if you are allowed on board and if there are any special conditions for boarding your flight.

Travel cancellation insurance due to pregnancy

Pregnancy - like illness or death in a close relative - can certainly be used by travel insurance as a reason for canceling a flight. However, whether the insurance pays depends mostly on the time when you booked the trip. It applies:

  • If you did not know at the time of your booking that you are pregnant, the cancellation fees will normally be covered upon presentation of a medical certificate. However, you should make sure to cancel your trip as soon as you become aware of your pregnancy.
  • If you already knew about your pregnancy at the time of booking, the insurance will only pay in case of unforeseen complications. To prove this, you need a medical certificate.

Births in the air

Perhaps comforting to know are the statistical figures of the Atlantis magazine, because according to them, births in the air take place extremely rarely. According to the magazine, only 0.8 births per aircraft are registered in the air each year.

If offspring are actually born above the clouds, the question of citizenship still has to be clarified. Various legal views come into play here:

  • Territorial law (Chicago Convention): this states that a country has sovereignty within its borders (this includes its airspace). If these legal provisions apply, the child acquires the citizenship of the country over whose airspace it is at birth.
  • Parentage law: this applies e.g. in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. It states that the child gets the citizenship of the parents.
  • It can be difficult if the aircraft is just over no man's land (e.g. Atlantic Ocean). In this case, the law of the country in which the aircraft is registered often applies.
  • The coordinates where the aircraft was located at the time of birth are entered in the passport as the place of birth for onboard babies.

It is also reassuring to know that airline crew members regularly receive courses in "first aid". Lufthansa, for example, explains in an interview with the General Anzeiger Bonn that its on-board personnel are also prepared for possible births on board as part of regular training courses.

If a birth really does occur on the plane, the pilots usually opt for a safety landing at the nearest airport. The larger the aircraft, the greater the likelihood that there will be a doctor among the other passengers to offer assistance. Nevertheless, it is probably not desirable to give birth above the clouds. In the summer of last year, a little boy who gave birth on a flight from Saudi Arabia to India was lucky. Lucky not only because both his new mother and he himself survived the birth in good health, but also because the joyous event above the clouds was a first for Jet Airlines. To celebrate the first in-flight baby, the airline gave the little one a lifetime of free air travel on Jet Airlines. A generous gesture that is not usually provided by airlines in this form.

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