Ask Learner Mama #1: Can I fly when pregnant?

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New on the blog for 2015 is a new series called Ask Learner Mama.  To kick off proceedings I am starting with one of my own first questions as a first time mum-to-be which was “Can I fly when pregnant”.

As I sat in the Doctor’s surgery looking at the positive pregnancy test in a state of disbelief all I could think about was the fact that I had transatlantic flights booked for the following week.  I was a clueless newly pregnant woman and so I wasn’t sure if I could go in a plane.


I was 6 weeks pregnant at the time and thankfully my GP reassured me that it was fine for me to fly in a regular commercial airliner as they are pressurised but advised me to kept hydrated during the flight.  So my usual nerve calming glass of wine was out (not that it was in given I was pregnant!).

It is also recommended to wear comfortable clothing, keep your circulation moving by getting up and taking a walk if you can and doing basic calf exercises while seated.

What is not recommended is taking a flight in a non pressurised aircraft.  So no parachute jumps then? Damn!

Once you progress through your pregnancy you will reach a point where some airlines restrict pregnant women from flying even in commercial, pressurised aircraft.  Each airline is different and even within one airline the restrictions may vary depending on the length of the flight. For my own national Airline, Aer Lingus, pregnant women can travel on any of the short routes from Ireland to the UK up to 32 weeks pregnant with their doctor’s written permission and can travel between 32-35 week provided their doctor completes an Expectant Mother Travel Advice Form.   Pregnant women cannot travel between Ireland and UK after 36 weeks gestation.

Image courtesy of AngelFrame /

Image courtesy of AngelFrame /

For longer routes on Aer Lingus (e.g within the rest of Europe and transatlantic) travel is permitted up to 28 weeks gestation with doctor’s permission and between 28 and 33 weeks if your doctor has completed the Expectant Mother Travel Advice Form. Travel is not permitted on these longer routes from 34 weeks gestation.

If you are required to complete the Expectant Mother Travel Advice Form, it should be faxed to 00 353 1 886 6868 before you travel.

If you are booking flights while pregnant, particularly in the latter stages, you should first ensure your doctor is happy for you to fly and then check with the airline you are intending to travel with to ensure you are complying with their regulations and are not turned away at the gate.

I have taken flights while pregnant on all three of my children with no problems.  The latest I ever travelled was 26 weeks and I carried a note from my doctor in case there were ever any issues.  I don’t think any of the airline staff even noticed I was pregnant.  If they did they didn’t bat an eyelid.

Some Key Airlines Pregnancy Restrictions Details:


British Airways

United Airways


Air France

Qantas (Section 3.5 (c))


Got a question for the Ask Learner Mama series?  Just post it below, tweet it @learnermama, post it on the Learner Mama Facebook page or e-mail directly to

Usual disclaimer applies!


  1. Pingback: Ask Learner Mama #2: Do I need to go to antenatal classes? - Learner Mama

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