Flying in Third Trimester

Updated on March 31, 2008
R.R. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
41 answers

I am wondering if anyone has an experience with flying in the third trimester. My sister died yesterday and I can't imagine not going to her funeral to be with my family. I am 35 weeks now, I might be 36 weeks on the return flight. I have heard airlines won't allow you to fly after 36 weeks even with a doctor's note? My pregnancy is going fine and there are no complications.

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your responses, it was great to get some common sense perspective. My doctor ok'd my flying, he just said to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and walk around at least once an hour to prevent blood clots. I laughed because if I am drinking water, I am gonna be walking to the bathroom often. My doctor said there is no specific concern with pressure, or anything like that, it is mostly that they don't want you to go into labor on the plane or in another state. Of course, travel adds some stress that is best avoided if possible.

The airline didn't care, didn't want to see a letter or anything (I flew on Delta). I had reserved window seats because I usually like to have my own little corner, but I found out that sitting in one position was uncomfortable because the baby is right up against my legs. So, I asked other passengers to switch with me on both flights to an aisle seat so I could shift around and also get up and walk around without making anyone move.

The other decision I had to make was about my 18 month old. I left her and my husband home and went to the funeral by myself. I am really glad I did. I stayed with my other sister and we went through a hard 3 days together. My 18 month old was acting out for two days or so when I got home (we had never been apart that long) but she is back to normal now.

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J.N.

answers from Kalamazoo on

My daughter in law flew in her third trimester and she was pregnant with twins. She got along just fine.

J. N

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M.Z.

answers from Detroit on

I flew to the Netherlands for Christmas for a couple of weeks when my second was due mid Feb.. It was smooth and easy. My opinion was they have doctors where ever you are going. Good luck.

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H.K.

answers from Benton Harbor on

So sorry to hear about your loss, my heart goes out to you. I flew in my 8th month. I was smaller and the airline wasn't the wiser. However I was healthy and felt great and had no reason to be worried about early delivery. Best of luck making the correct decision for your situation.

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J.K.

answers from Detroit on

I flew from Colorado home to Indiana at 36 weeks and didn't have a problem. I think that "airlines don't let you fly" thing may be an old wives' tale. I'd still get a doctor's note to be safe. My condolences on your loss.

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L.G.

answers from Detroit on

So sorry about your sister. You should talk to your doctor. A girlfriend of mine flew while 36 weeks with her second son and delivered him in florida while visiting there. her husband missed it and she was all by herself. airlines don't want you to go into labor on the plane. your doctor could check to see if you're dilated and give you some advice on the risks. i flew at 30 weeks with no problem, but that's a big difference!

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A.M.

answers from Benton Harbor on

Hello R., I've also heard that the airlines don't let pregnant women fly when they're at a certain week. So I just didn't fly. My grandfather had a stroke when I was about 30 weeks into my pregnancy and I wasn't gonna let anything keep me from being there with him. So my husband borrowed his friends Sequoia and we drove from Michigan to Arkansas. I was surprised that I was actually really comfortable with the ride. I had pillows, snacks and extra blankets and we stopped every 2 to 2 1/2 hrs. I'm not saying that you'll be comfortable like me and I don't know how much time you have before the funeral, or how far you'll have to travel, but I think you should do what you have to do to get there. Maybe u can stop at a hotel if you drive, or take the train. You'll be surprised what things a woman can do while pregnant, especially if you're healthy. You'll also be happier with yourself knowing you tried every other alternative to get there. Sorry for your lost. Hope everything goes well for you.

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H.M.

answers from Lansing on

I am very sorry for your loss and I understand your need to be there. I would talk with your doctor and then call the airline. I didn't fly in my 3rd trimester, but I did fly 6 months into my pregnancy and that was to Germany which was fine so hopefully it will be okay for you to go. If you can't fly, is it too long of a drive. You might have to make several stops but at least you would get there. Still I would start by discussing it with your doctor. If you fly I suggest trying to get an isle seat if possible since you will probably need to use the restroom a few times. Good luck and again, sorry for your loss.

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S.P.

answers from Detroit on

Hi R.. So sorry for your loss. I flew at 27 weeks and 36 weeks with my first born & neither time did the airlines ask for anything from me. My doctor had to clear me for my own good (quick check up) and allowed me to go because it was just a 2 hr flight and he made sure to tell me which hospital to go to in my destination city if need be. My advice would be to Go ahead and book the flight as long as your doctor says its ok.

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N.W.

answers from Detroit on

You will most likely need a drs note to fly. The biggest worry is usually blood clots from sitting too long. Get up and walk up and down the aisle every 30 minutes.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

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K.V.

answers from Detroit on

I'm sorry about your sister. I think the flying depends on the airline and the length of the flight. They usually recommend not flying after 36 weeks in general but talk to your doctor also. You also have to be ok with having the baby in another city if it happens when you are gone. Also, be sure the airline will let you come home since you may be past their "magic date" of 36 weeks, but honestly, how would they even know? Good luck.

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L.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi R.,

I didn't fly during my third trimester, but I did want to say I'm sorry to hear that your sister died. I hope you and your family stay strong.

Alexis

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S.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

I did. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant. Just as long as you get the ok by your doctor. some sirlines will make you show proof from a doctor so they are liable if the turbulance cause you to go into labor.

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T.B.

answers from Detroit on

I R.

I think the airline is more concern about you going into labor, god forbid any complication that might a occur if they should have no alternative but to deliver the baby. My cousin died with my first pregnancy I was in the beginning of my third tremester, the doctor suggested that I drive it work out alright with frequent stops. If your doctor gave you the okay then go for it, with god help you will be just fine. I am sorry for your lost, I will keep you in my prayers.

P.S. Boy or Girl

T. B.

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T.V.

answers from Grand Rapids on

R.,
I'm so sorry about your sister. How awful. Yes, GO to the funeral. I flew from Asia at 33 weeks and returned at 35 weeks during a perfectly normal, healthy pregnancy. And that's a really LONG flight! Get the doctors note and call to make your reservation (bereavement rates) and inform them that you are so many weeks pregnant and have a doctors note to fly. This way they are alerted before you're there. Then, just as a suggestion, wear maternity clothing that play down your belly so that the gate attendants don't freak out on you.
I don't know you, but I have a sister and two daughters who are blooming as sisters, and I can only imagine the shock, pain and grief you're feeling. Hugs to you.
T.

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L.R.

answers from Detroit on

I had the same thing happen - my Mother died and I flew at 36 weeks with my daughter. My sister was 35 weeks with her son. It was a difficult funeral to say the least.

I went to my OB, got complete copies of my records, a note that I was not in pre-term labor, and had no problems. I took the records so that I knew if I did go into labor the docs would have what they needed. I also had my doc contact a local doc where I was going so that I had a name should I need it.

I am sorry for your loss. Please remember to relax and remember that your state impacts that little person. Focus on the positive - I know it is hard.

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S.R.

answers from Detroit on

Its been 11-1/2 years now, but I went to Atlanta for a wedding in Oct and was due mid Nov. No problem at all. I did use the courtesy car to get to the gate and boarded with the 1st boarders. You should clear it with Doc 1st. You're a little further on than I was. I'm sorry for your loss and hope you can be with others that share your grief.

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D.V.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I would contact my doctor today and ask if he would have an issue with you flying. You have my sympathy in the passing of your sister.

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W.M.

answers from Detroit on

R.,
I am so sorry for your loss. Do check with your doctor first, before booking your flight. I don't suppose you could possibly drive there?
Take care and again my sympathy to you and your family.

W.

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T.C.

answers from Detroit on

Hi R.,

I don't have any advice about flying other than to check with both the airline and your doctor ahead of time. I can't imagine not going if it were my sister either but you don't want to put yourself and the baby at risk. Keep in mind that the added stress of your sister passing could impact you also. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

Be safe!

T.

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R.W.

answers from Detroit on

First let me say I'm so sorry for your loss...GOD BLESS

I just would like to suggest (if at all possible) have someone drive you at least if things start happening you can get to a hospital or call 911 for fast assistance...An airplane has no doctor on board. I wouldn't put anyuthing at risk and I didn't know your sister but I'm sure she wouldn't want you to risk it....The sress of the loss and trip etc could start things early!!! GOOD LUCK and GOD BLESS --- pilot in training and mother of 4

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C.R.

answers from Lansing on

I flew when I was 34 weeks pregnant...one thing my DR. told me was to get up and walk around to get my blood flowing, to prevent blood clots (something to do with the elevation of the plane. Anyone who is that pregnant and sits for a extended time in one position is going to have legs falling asleep, so moving is a must.

I hope your flight goes well...I'm very sorry for your lose. It might be good to have someone to travel with if you could too.

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E.P.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Of course you should be at her funeral. What I recommend is calling and talking to your doctor because he/she knows exactly where you are at with your pregnancy. Then I would talk to the specific airline that you would be flying with. If it is close enough, the other option is to drive to the funeral if they won't let you fly ( and map out some hospitals along the way just in case) I hope you can make it out there! Good luck!

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H.B.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Can you ask your family to postpone the service until after the baby is born?

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C.H.

answers from Grand Rapids on

Hi R.. I am so sorry for your loss - what a bittersweet time for your family :(

My third pregnancy was very high-risk and I flew around week 35 no problem. I was actually traveling for a medical procedure for the baby and was a little surprised that the docs weren't more concerned about flying regular commercial flights, but no big deal. I had to carry my medical records and emergency information, but other than that, all clear. My return flight was the day after an in-utero surgical procedure and they sent us on our way no problem. (Honestly the cab ride was worse than the flight...).

I traveled quite a bit throughout all three pregnancies and never had an issue with the doc or the airlines. I think you should do whatever YOU are comfortable with.

We'll be sending positive energy your way. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

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F.K.

answers from Detroit on

Don't go! Your sister would want you to do what is best for your baby.

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K.T.

answers from Kalamazoo on

R., I'm with you. There would be NO way that I couldn't imagine going to my sister/brother's funeral. I wouldn't miss it NO matter what. You definitely need to check with your OBGYN for his/her clearance. They may suggest you drive as opposed to fly. Either way, with the added stress of your sister's untimely death and pregnancy you should be prepared (bags packed) to go to your nearest hospital, whereever that may be. Best of luck to you and I'm very sorry for your loss.

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R.S.

answers from Detroit on

First, I am sorry that you have lost your sister.

I flew from Detroit to Frankfurt, Germany when I was at the same point in my 1st pregnancy as you are now. My doctor wrote me a note saying that I was healthy and low-risk. I took it with me, but no one actually asked about how pregnant I was. It was February, and I wore lots of layers. I would recommend wearing the white circulation support stockings, to decrease the chance of blood clots. And I would get up and move around or also stretch out body parts while you are in your seat. My hands and feet were swollen after each flight (but it was a 8-9 hour flight), but after a day or two, they went back down to size.

Everything went well, as far as my pregnancy. My son was born two days late.

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M.K.

answers from Detroit on

Check with your doctor. If he/she says it's okay, then call the airlines and find out what their policy is on "third-trimester" flying.

Sorry for your loss.

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A.A.

answers from Kalamazoo on

With my first pregnancy, I flew at 35 weeks...might have even been about 36 weeks coming home. I had never had any complications and things were great. It wasn't a problem for me. And I got back in plenty of time. Both my kids have been late comers. :)

I'm so sorry about your sister!

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S.J.

answers from Detroit on

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I can't imagine missing a sibling's funeral either. I'd get a check up from your Ob to make sure everything is ok with your pregnancy and then go. I flew late in my third trimester with both of my pregnancies. No one from the airline ever asked how far along I was. I doubt they will for you either, but it wouldn't hurt to have a doctor's note with you just in case.

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C.G.

answers from Detroit on

If your doctor feels you are healthy, and showing no signs of dialating, you can definately fly. I was on several planes throughout my pregnancies. ( Yes, even right at 35 weeks.) I had a photoshoot to get to, so I just made sure to stay hydrated. It also helps to make sure you have a comfortable seat. If you find yourself wedged between two big people or two kids with elbows flying in your baby's direction, see if the flight attendant can move you to another seat.

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M.P.

answers from Detroit on

First I am sorry for your loss. My thoughts will be with your family and you as you make your decision. During my third trimester my doctor told my that it would be alright to fly. I know that I was restricted from flying after my 36 week because how close to my due date. It should be fine for you to travel. My only advice for you is to locate a hospital near by and OB just in case anything happens.

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J.S.

answers from Detroit on

My apologies for your loss.

Flying:
Get the note from your doctor and you should be fine! I flew during month 8 - to Mexico and back. It was never an issue with my airline. Seemed a lot like a don't ask don't tell policy. However, if you want to know all the actual airline policies check out your airline's website. It will give you their normal info.

Tips:
Be sure to get a water bottle before the flight. You'll probably dehydrate faster than normal.

Be sure to stand up and move your legs around. Blood clots can be a major issue.

Good Luck.

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S.J.

answers from Detroit on

I am so sorry for your loss and to know that you are going through this during your final trimester.. You poor thing!
I would contact your doctor explain the situation.. Take in to consideration what he has to say but also know that this is your sister's funeral and you really will regret not going (trust me) regardless of the circumstances. If you have had a stable pregnancy this entire time then go be with your family and everything should work out. I will send a prayer out for you and your family.. God bless

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W.B.

answers from Detroit on

I flew while third trimester with twins, and everything was fine. BUT -- ask your OB prior to booking the flight. Better safe than sorry.

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K.S.

answers from Detroit on

I am so sorry sweetheart !
If your Dr . is willing to let you go , then I would go and be with your family.

Take along an Emergency delivery kit-A package of new shoelaces to tie off the cord (do not cut it ) A pillow case and receiving blankets and a diaper and little hat.
The hat and blankets will keep baby warm and the pillow case will keep the baby wrapped in the blanket and contain the placenta. Don't forget a sanitary pad and a way to hold it next to you .
The kit would get you through an emergency delivery and the little while it would take to get to the hospital. It is a very few things, and shouldn't take up much room in your carry on bag .
Again I am so sorry for your loss ! I think that if you are healthy you should make the trip there just fine---Lovingly , K.

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L.P.

answers from Detroit on

First of all, my prayers and sympathy goes out to you and your family. I had a sister who was in 3rd trimester and no problem. I would call your doctor to see what he says. how long of a flight is it? Maybe that will determine whether or not you should go and the amount of stress you may have from the loss of your sister. You need to take care of you and your baby. Just be careful if you go. let us know how everything works out for you. .

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K.G.

answers from Grand Rapids on

I am very sorry about your sister, it must be very difficult for you.

I personally would not fly. You could go into labor early, many have with their second, even their first.

Good luck with your decision.

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B.K.

answers from Detroit on

I'm sorry about your sister, you should definately go. I flew when I was about 33 weeks along with no problems, actually everyone on the plane was extremely corteous and attentive to me. Check online about the airlines policies, I think after 36 weeks you need a note from the dr. Just make sure while your on the plane you get up if it's a long flight and walk around!

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A.S.

answers from Detroit on

sorry to hear about your sister, i was about 9 month and flew at christmas to see my family. as longs as your doctor ok it. i got a letter from her. but the airlines never need it. i did as little as possible. i got back had my baby two week after.

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T.J.

answers from Detroit on

So sorry to hear about your loss. Ultimately this is going to be a decision made by you and your physician. I would assume it is going to depend on your history and what level your "risk factor" is. If your not considered high risk and everything is going well and he/she believes you are going to be delivering past the 36 week mark than you should be cleared to fly. Just take precautions and find a hospital near by in case of emergency. Follow your heart, you know your body and how it feels. You will know if something is going wrong. Be careful and good luck!

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