Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.
Long haul flight at 32 weeks(25 Posts)
Hoping for some advice please. I have been invited on a business trip to Canada in mid-June, when I will be 31/32 weeks pregnant. It is a great career opportunity and will be a good chance to connect with colleagues/acquaintances before I go on maternity leave for 9-12 months. This is my first baby so I have no idea how I am likely to feel by this point in my pregnancy. I know sitting on a plane for 10 hours is not going to be comfortable, but I can probably swing a premium economy ticket so hopefully I will have a good amount of leg room. NHS advice is that it is safe to fly until 36 weeks and so far my pregnancy has been relatively easy and definitely low risk (I’m 29).
My question is – did any of you take a long haul flight late in pregnancy? If so, how did you find it? What would you do in my position?
It's very tricky at this stage to get good insurance - it all depends on how far along you'll be when you come back. I found a few companies that would cover premature birth (which is a real possibility at this stage) but only up until 32 weeks. You must have the backing of your doctor and midwife and a note to produce to show the airline proving this. Sometimes the GPs charge a small fee for this.
I flew at 30 weeks (short-haul) and 26 weeks (long-haul) - it was fine, the main thing was the support stockings/flight sock things got on my nerves!
I was suffering with sciatica at that stage in pregnancy and it was horrible. It's not just the 'pulled muscle and whinging' that I'd previously thought - a long haul flight would've been agony. To be honest I wouldn't have flown short or long haul at 32 weeks anyway, it's an avoidable risk that I wouldn't take.
Well I had an emcs at 31 weeks so probably not the best person to ask...
I just think it's really dependent on how you feel, you can't tell until then but if you do make sure you have decent insurance.
I've just flown 4 hours to the canaries at 31 weeks. Would have been positively relaxing without our toddler in tow but was still fine. No problems with insurance, our regular cover covered me and baby should anything happen. I brought a note from gp (£30!) but wasn't asked for it. Midwife won't do now. Best is hospital if you're seeing anyone as that's free! So personally I'd say do it. No flight socks for me either but did get up and walk a little half way.
Thanks for your thoughts. Just to add a little more info - it is a very short trip so would be flying out at 31+5 and returning at 32+1.
I would imagine it would be fine. I flew from Australia to the UK (via Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam) at 30 weeks without a problem. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but definitely do-able.
In fact, the only problem was that I wasn't allowed outside KL airport in case I gave birth and claimed my child as a citizen
It's totally down to chance! I'm nearly 32 weeks and I'm having a very easy pregnancy so I'm confident I could do it easily (I'd wear support socks, and I'm on aspirin anyway).
One of my mates is 30 weeks and on crutches now, and I don't think she'd get up the aircraft steps.
I think it's also down to your attitude to a degree- if you're quite risk averse or fearful, then you're not going to be comfortable being so far away that far on in your pregnancy (it wouldn't bother me personally, but I know I am maybe a bit...robust.)
On insurance, a doctor's note can help unlock any problems with that.
It should be fine. You'll need a doctor's note from 28 weeks and will only be allowed on the flight if there have been no complications.
I suggest you make sure there is good insurance in place (both for the costs of the trip in case you are not fit to fly, but also health for you and your baby as a separate person in case of early labour and a need to remain overseas until fit to fly).
And if you can swing an upgraded ticket, definitely do so (ask for business class!). On the flight, stay hydrated and actually do those in-cabin exercises and walk around a bit. Might be worth getting those oh-so-fetching anti-DVT socks too.
Yes, ask for business class. Sitting still in a cramped economy (premium is not really that different) is likely to be at least somewhat challenging. If you can lie down and stretch in business class, I would go.
I flew back from a trip to see relatives at 32+6 (only Ireland so not long haul - though would have been comfortable enough long haul at that stage I think) but then I went into hospital at 33+1 with raging preeclampsia. Dd was born later that week. I'd had no signs and had been certified as fit to fly a week earlier by my midwife. The thought of it maybe starting up earlier and being stuck away from home for weeks really scares me now. You can't predict if something like that is going to happen but make extra sure your insurance will cover you for giving birth at that late-ish stage, and the baby if that happens. It's unlikely but it does happen every now and then.
I travelled weekly whilst pregnant with DD including several long haul trips. I did use travel stockings for long haul and took my own snacks and water onboard if not business so that I could do my own thing re meal timing to enable maximum rest. I would try and swing business as discussed by PP - maybe your company gets business points that can be used for upgrades if they don't want to pay the £ outright?
Main question is insurance in case anything were to happen. I stopped work travel at 30 weeks if I recall as that was when our travel and medevac type insurance stopped covering me. Depends on how big the risk is re costs, Canada is likely a better bet than somewhere like the US.
Thanks all - some very useful advice. Although I would love to go business class, I doubt I can swing that. The client is paying for the trip and they won't pay £4.5k which is what a business ticket is going for
I will definitely look into the travel insurance restrictions as I definitely would not consider making the trip if I cant secure sufficient cover for me and baby in the event something does go wrong.
As this is business have you checked with your employer? No way our company insurance or risk assessments would allow you to fly long haul that late in your pregnancy.
I did a trip from US to Middle East when that stage - also for about a week. Work didn't query it nor did the airlines or my doctor. It was fine. I did travel business class though and we have an office where I went so I knew there would be people who would accompany me to hospital or get me to an English speaking hospital if anything happened.
I was super careful about walking about on the plane and being incredibly careful what I ate (not really an issue in Canada though)
Spacefrog I work for an SME (only 8 people) so my boss just said it was up to me whether I wanted to go or not.
mmminx thanks I will have a look into Ravenhall insurance if my current policy doesnt cover
I know nothing about insurance, but do you need to mention to the insurers that it's a work trip not a holiday? I have no idea if that matters but I just wondered.
I've literally just taken a trip to Canada from Europe at 32 weeks with my second, so it's fresh in my mind.
After first pregnancy I would have said "no worries" as I had an easy time at this stage. This time, not so much.
I did get business class (never had it before), and have to say with the benefits, it was still uncomfortable- dread to think how I would've been even in premium economy.
It's not just leg room, it's the ability to recline the seat enough. By 30 weeks plus, I've found it very uncomfortable to stay "sitting" in terms of stomach/bump for very long, even if you have some space to move legs. You will probably have to get up and down all the time for comfort as well as health, and so an aisle seat would be a must. Also, you'll need to bring a lot of extra drinks on board to combat dehydration (or budget to buys lots from cabin crew), which is important for DVT risk too. Plus of course you should wear proper fitted compression stockings (uncomfortable things though they are).
Also, consider that just walking round the airport with hand luggage may be a big deal by then; I found it pretty exhausting and even painful (from joints, minor SPD) getting between different terminals, and was glad my layover was enough time to walk slowly, and I could access the business lounge to rest properly. Think about if your flight's delayed and you have to rush... not fun and potentially dangerous.
Also you MUST have fully comprehensive insurance- Canada has high health costs, and you need insurance that will cover the possibility of you actually having the baby over there, and both needing special care for a long time etc, plus flights back home afterwards.
I would say if there is no chance at all of business class, then you should only provisionally agree, with the understanding from everyone now that you can back out at the last minute if you feel at all like it will be a bit too much. Not only did I find the flight hard, but 5 days running workshop whilst there (plus jetlag...) was also totally exhausting. Don't get in a situation where you feel any pressure to go in several months time, it's not worth it.
^^ I've just done a short flight at 32 weeks and while the flying was fine, the walking around the airport, from terminal to gate, standing in line for security etc.... was agony, my ankles have never been so swollen and I couldn't move the next day my pelvis hurt so much! It is my fourth though so you may cope much better!
I went on holiday at 31+4 and came back 32+4 although it was short haul. What was hard was all the hanging around and queuing. The air stewardesses were very helpful and kept checking I was ok! The flight itself was fine - just got up for a walk and stretch every so often.
The insurance was a pain to get!! Read the fine print very carefully as none online would go past 32 weeks and I turned 32 weeks half way through. Some cover you for pregnancy related illness after that but not prem birth. We ended up using an insurance broker but it didn't cost much more.
You should be fine OP.
Where in Canada ? I'm in Montreal <waves>
Note that the weather will probably be warm at that time.
If it's a short trip should be fine. I had restless legs and back ache with my pregnancies, and would have found it hard to sit still for a long time at that stage.
Thanks all. I have spoken to my travel insurance provider and because I am departing before 32 weeks they will provide full cover in the unlikely event that I go into labour during the trip. I have told the client that if any medical complications arise beforehand that my colleague will go in my place, so feel reassured that if I feel differently in a couple of months time that I wont be disappointing anybody.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.