Air travel

Traveling in an airplane usually doesn't pose any more risk when you're pregnant than it does when you're not. However, you may be at increased risk of problems if you have a history of blood clots, severe anemia, sickle cell disease or problems with the placenta. As with any major air travel, talk with your health care provider before flying.

Airport security devices aren't harmful to you or your baby. Remember, though, that most airlines won't allow you on board if you're past your 36-week mark, and most foreign airlines stop admitting pregnant passengers at 35 weeks. You may wish to take along a note from your health care provider stating your due date.

To minimize discomfort and danger while flying, consider the following:

• Wear your seat belt. As long as you're seated, wear your seat belt in case of unexpected turbulence. Position the belt low around your hips to avoid injury to the baby.

• Move around. Get up and walk around periodically, especially if the flight is long. This will minimize your risk of swelling and blood clots. You might consider wearing support stockings. In addition, try flexing and extending your calves while you're seated.

• Choose your seating. If possible, request an aisle seat or a seat in the bulkhead or exit row, which offers the most room. A seat over a wing offers the smoothest ride.

• Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids before you board and during your flight. The low humidity in the cabin has a dehydrating effect. Consuming adequate fluids also minimizes jet lag. This good advice can also cause a problem, so plan to empty your bladder before the seatbelt sign comes on.

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