Women who are in the late stages of pregnancy may still be able to fly home for the holidays. Pregnant women can also exercise more than previously recommended. Until now, there were no formal recommendations on flying during pregnancy. Most airlines in the United States allow women to travel until they are about 9 months pregnant, but international airlines prohibit women from flying after 35 weeks of pregnancy.
In the absence of medical or obstetric complications, air travel is safe up to 36 weeks. Women who are at risk for preterm delivery, those who have poorly controlled diabetes, and those with placental abnormalities, however, are advised to refrain from air travel while pregnant.
Some women, particularly those with heart problems, may experience discomfort while flying due to changes in cabin pressure, which may lead to subsequent increases in both their heart rate and blood pressure. Those at risk for such problems should be prescribed supplemental oxygen during air travel.
In addition, because gas expands with increasing altitude, pregnant women should avoid consuming beans, sodas and other gas-producing foods or drinks before flying, and should wear support stockings to prevent any fluid from accumulating in their legs. Similar to all other airline passengers, pregnant women are also advised to move their legs periodically during their flight to prevent blood clots.