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How Medical Conditions Affect Fit to Fly Certificates for Pregnancy

Planning a flight during pregnancy can be tricky. Many airlines ask for a fit to fly certificate after 28 weeks. This blog will cover which medical conditions affect getting this certificate and how to manage them.

Keep reading for helpful advice!

Important Medical Conditions to Consider When Flying Whilst Pregnant

Flying while pregnant requires careful consideration of specific medical conditions. These include heart or lung conditions, severe anaemia, sickle cell disease, epilepsy, pre-eclampsia, low-lying placenta, and low Papp-A.

Heart or lung conditions

Pregnant women with heart or lung problems need to be extra careful about flying. Conditions like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and pulmonary disease can get worse in the air. The high altitude and lower oxygen levels in aircraft cabins can strain your heart and lungs.

If you have a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), flying poses additional risks due to prolonged sitting.

Before planning a trip, talk to a doctor if you have any heart or lung diseases. They might suggest tests to check how well your heart and lungs are working. British Airways and other airlines require a medical certificate confirming your fitness to fly after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

This certificate should also state that there’s no risk of complications like venous thrombosis from flying. Always carry any necessary medications for your condition in your hand luggage during flights.

Severe anaemia

Severe anaemia means your blood does not have enough red blood cells. This makes you feel very tired and weak. If you are pregnant and want to fly, this condition can make it risky.

Your body needs more oxygen when pregnant, especially during a flight. High altitudes can make anaemia worse because the air is thinner up there.

Doctors will check if it’s safe for you to travel by plane if you have severe anaemia. They might ask for tests to see how severe your anaemia is before giving you a fit to fly certificate.

Airlines like British Airways look at these certificates closely after 28 weeks of pregnancy. You need one that says your pregnancy is going well, with no complications including severe anaemia.

Next, we talk about sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease makes red blood cells change shape and block veins. This can cause pain, infections, and swelling in hands and feet. Pregnant women with this condition need special care when flying.

The changes in air pressure can make symptoms worse. These women must talk to doctors before flying.

Airlines might ask for a fit to fly certificate from these pregnant passengers after 28 weeks. This certificate confirms the pregnancy is normal and gives the expected delivery date.

Doctors use medical equipment to check the health of both mum and baby before giving this certificate. It ensures safe travel up to 36 weeks for single pregnancies and 32 weeks for multiples.


Moving from the risks of sickle cell disease, another condition that pregnant women must consider before flying is epilepsy. Travellers with this condition need a fit to fly certificate after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

This certificate proves their condition is stable and they are safe to fly. Airlines ask for this to make sure everyone on board is safe.

For those managing epilepsy, it’s crucial to have a chat with a healthcare expert before planning any air travel. The thin air high up can sometimes trigger seizures in some people.

Therefore, having your medical professional fill out a fit to fly document is key. This document will show airline staff that you have control over your epilepsy and it includes your due date too.

British Airways and other airlines provide help for travellers who deal with medical conditions like epilepsy, ensuring they have what they need for a comfortable journey.


Pre-eclampsia is a condition in pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine. It usually happens after 20 weeks of being pregnant and can be serious for both mother and baby.

Women with pre-eclampsia might need a fit to fly certificate because the condition could lead to complications like premature birth. Doctors will check if it’s safe for them to fly, especially after 28 weeks when many airlines ask for this certificate.

To manage travel safely, women with pre-eclampsia should talk to their healthcare provider before booking flights. Airlines, such as British Airways, offer assistance to passengers with medical needs or pregnancy concerns but require medical clearance through a fit to fly certificate from late pregnancy onwards.

This ensures both the woman’s and her unborn baby’s safety during flight, particularly for journeys occurring close to the delivery date specified on the certificate prepared by a doctor or midwife.

Low-lying placenta

A low-lying placenta is a condition where the placenta sits low in the uterus, near or covering the cervix. This can lead to bleeding during pregnancy and may require special care.

Women with this condition often need closer monitoring by their healthcare team. They might not be allowed to fly, especially as their pregnancy progresses. The risk of bleeding and other complications could make flying unsafe.

British Airways and other airlines ask for a fit to fly certificate from pregnant women after 28 weeks. This certificate should say that there are no complications like a low-lying placenta.

If you have this condition, your doctor will assess your situation carefully before giving you a letter that says you’re fit to fly. After talking about low-lying placenta, it’s important to know about Low Papp-A and how it impacts flying during pregnancy.

Low Papp-A

Low Papp-A means a pregnant woman has low levels of a protein in her blood. This can point to problems like a higher risk of having a baby early or the baby not growing well. Doctors check for this with a blood test.

If they find it, they might ask the woman to have extra check-ups to keep an eye on the baby’s growth and health.

For flying, if someone has low Papp-A, airlines such as British Airways may need more information before saying it’s safe to fly. They could ask for details from healthcare professionals about any risks during travel.

The goal is always to make sure both the mum and her unborn child stay healthy while flying.

Pregnancy Fit-to-Fly Certificate

Pregnancy Fit-to-Fly Certificate is necessary for pregnant travelers, encouraging users to read more.

What is it and why is it needed?

A pregnancy fit-to-fly certificate is a document required by airlines to confirm that pregnant women are medically fit to travel, especially after 28 weeks of gestation. It verifies that the pregnancy is progressing without any complications and includes the expected delivery date.

Airlines may request this certificate to ensure the safety of both the mother and the unborn child during air travel. For multiple pregnancies, most airlines do not permit flying after 32 weeks, while for single pregnancies, the restriction is usually after 36 weeks.

It must be completed by a healthcare professional and include details regarding fitness to fly.

The certificate becomes essential as it ensures awareness of any potential medical risks associated with flying during pregnancy, safeguarding maternal and foetal well-being during air travel.

Additionally, it supports airlines in maintaining passenger safety standards by verifying that pregnant travellers meet specific health criteria before boarding flights. This measure aligns with British Airways’ provision of guidance for passengers with medical conditions or expectant mothers, emphasising their commitment to ensuring a safe and comfortable journey for all travellers.

How to obtain one

To obtain a fit to fly certificate for pregnancy, follow these steps:

  1. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional.
  2. Discuss your travel plans and the airline’s specific requirements for the certificate.
  3. Ensure your healthcare professional includes necessary details, such as the absence of complications and your expected delivery date.
  4. Confirm that the certificate meets the criteria set by the airline.
  5. Keep in mind that some airlines may have their own forms to be completed by your healthcare provider.
  6. Remember to do this well in advance of your travel date to avoid any last-minute issues.

When is it required by airlines

Airlines typically require a fit to fly certificate for pregnant women after 28 weeks of gestation. This confirmation ensures that the pregnancy is progressing normally and includes the expected delivery date, with most airlines not allowing travel after 36 weeks for a single pregnancy and after 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies.

Moreover, some stable medical conditions also necessitate passengers to acquire medical certificates confirming their fitness to fly.

Remember, British Airways provides valuable information and assistance related to fitness to fly requirements and passenger’s medical needs. Additionally, Dr. Sarah Jarvis offers insight into the essentials of obtaining a fit-to-fly certification when traveling under these circumstances.

Factors Affecting Travelling While Pregnant

When to travel during pregnancy varies. Flying, vaccinations, and medications while pregnant should be carefully considered for safety.

When to travel during pregnancy

During the first trimester, it is generally safe to travel. However, it’s essential to consider the following:

  1. The second trimester (between weeks 14 and 27) is often regarded as the best time for air travel due to reduced risk of pregnancy-related complications.
  2. Avoid flying after 36 weeks of pregnancy for a single pregnancy and after 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies, as most airlines restrict travel beyond these gestational ages.
  3. Some women may experience nausea and fatigue during the first trimester, which could affect their comfort while traveling by air.
  4. Being aware of potential risks associated with traveling during pregnancy is essential, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
  5. Consult your healthcare provider before planning any trips during pregnancy to ensure it is safe for you and your baby.
  6. Keep in mind that airline policies regarding pregnant travelers vary, so it’s important to check with your airline about any specific restrictions they may have related to flying during pregnancy.

Flying in pregnancy

After understanding when to travel during pregnancy, it’s essential to consider flying in pregnancy. Most airlines generally permit pregnant passengers to fly up till 36 weeks for single pregnancies and 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies with a fit-to-fly certificate confirming the absence of complications.

Additionally, British Airways offers support and information regarding fitness to fly and passenger medical needs, advocating for safe travel experiences.

Airlines usually require a fit-to-fly certificate after 28 weeks of gestation, affirming the normal progression of pregnancy without complications. It should also mention the expected delivery date.

Notably, airlines might request such certificates for passengers with stable medical conditions alongside specific requirements from healthcare professionals’ evaluation. Moreover, Dr.

Sarah Jarvis provides pertinent insight into obtaining fit-to-fly certification for individuals with medical conditions while traveling.

Vaccinations and medications while pregnant

Pregnant women should discuss with their healthcare professional before getting any vaccinations or taking medications.

  1. Vaccinations:
    • Influenza and Tdap vaccines are recommended during pregnancy to protect the mother and baby from certain diseases.
  2. Medications:
    • Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications.
  3. Potential risks:
    • Some medications and vaccines can pose risks to the developing foetus, so it’s crucial to seek medical advice.
  4. Essential nutrients:
    • Prenatal vitamins and folic acid are important for the health of both mother and baby during pregnancy.
  5. Travel considerations:
    • When travelling, pregnant women should carry a list of their current medications in case of emergencies.
  6. Health professional guidance:
    • It is vital for pregnant women to follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations for vaccinations and medications.
  7. Timing of vaccinations:
    • Healthcare professionals will advise on the safest timing for vaccinations during pregnancy to minimise potential risks.
  8. Importance of consultation:
    • Pregnant women should not take any new medication or vaccine without consulting their healthcare provider first.
  9. Safety precautions:
    • Ensuring that all vaccinations and medications are approved for use during pregnancy is essential for maternal and foetal health.
  10. Risk assessment:
    • The benefits and potential risks of each vaccination or medication should be carefully evaluated by a healthcare professional prior to administration.

Tips for Safe and Comfortable Travel While Pregnant

When traveling while pregnant, it’s important to discuss any pregnancy complications with a healthcare professional. Planning for emergencies is crucial during travel.

Discussing pregnancy complications with a healthcare professional

When discussing pregnancy complications with a healthcare professional, it is essential to communicate openly and honestly about any medical conditions or concerns. Medical professionals can provide valuable guidance tailored towards individual needs and ensure that appropriate measures are in place for safe travel.

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in assessing fitness to fly, addressing any potential risks associated with the journey, and offering advice on managing specific medical conditions while traveling.

It’s advisable to seek input from healthcare experts such as general practitioners or obstetricians who can provide personalized recommendations based on specific medical histories and current pregnancy status.

Additionally, telemedicine services may offer convenient ways to consult with healthcare professionals, ensuring comprehensive support before embarking on any travel plans during pregnancy.

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Planning for emergencies

  1. Carry a first-aid kit containing essential items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
  2. Research the nearest medical facilities and emergency contacts at your travel destination.
  3. Keep important documents, including medical history and insurance information, easily accessible.
  4. Identify potential risks at the destination, such as food or environmental hazards, and take necessary precautions.
  5. Create a communication plan with family or friends in case of emergencies during travel.
  6. Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers pregnancy-related emergencies to ensure financial protection.
  7. Discuss an emergency plan with your healthcare provider before travelling and carry any prescribed medications.

Prepare for possible emergency scenarios while travelling to ensure a safe and comfortable journey amidst pregnancy.

Choosing a suitable airline

When choosing an airline, consider their pregnancy policies. Most airlines do not allow travel after 36 weeks for a single pregnancy and after 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies. British Airways provides assistance and information for travelers with medical conditions or pregnancy, including fitness to fly and passenger medical needs.

Some airlines may request fit-to-fly certificates for passengers traveling with medical conditions such as stable heart or lung conditions, anaemia, sickle cell disease, epilepsy, pre-eclampsia, low-lying placenta or low Papp-A.

Planning your air travel while pregnant is essential. Airlines have specific requirements regarding fitness to fly during pregnancy that you should consider before embarking on your journey.

Next – Factors Affecting Travelling While Pregnant

Prioritizing comfort and safety during the flight

When it comes to prioritising comfort and safety during the flight, pregnant travellers should consider wearing compression stockings to reduce the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT).

It is advisable to choose an aisle seat for ease of movement and regular stretching of the legs. Additionally, staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the flight can help prevent dehydration.

Bringing healthy snacks on board will ensure access to suitable food options, especially for those with food allergies or specific dietary requirements. Furthermore, consulting a healthcare professional before flying and adhering to airline guidelines can provide peace of mind when travelling during pregnancy.

It’s not merely essential but highly advisable that expectant women include all these measures in their travel plans. Staying informed about potential risks and taking necessary precautions significantly underpins a safe and comfortable journey while pregnant.

Staying updated on airline guidelines and regulations

Stay informed about airline guidelines and regulations. Airlines may require fit to fly certificates for pregnant travelers after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Most airlines prohibit travel after 36 weeks for a single pregnancy, and after 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies.

British Airways offers information and support for passengers with medical conditions or during pregnancy; this includes fitness-to-fly certification requirements.

Additional Resources for Travelling While Pregnant

For additional resources on travelling while pregnant, it’s important to consider airlines’ policies and support for medical conditions. British Airways offers guidance and assistance for travellers with medical needs or pregnancy-related concerns, including fitness to fly certificates and passenger care requirements.

It’s crucial to be aware of the specific regulations of your chosen airline regarding fit-to-fly certificates during pregnancy, as these may vary among carriers. Additionally, seeking advice from healthcare professionals specialised in maternity travel can provide valuable insights into managing potential risks and ensuring a safe and comfortable journey.

Moreover, understanding the limitations on air travel during different stages of pregnancy is essential. Most airlines prohibit flying after 36 weeks for single pregnancies and after 32 weeks for multiple pregnancies due to safety considerations.

Being well-informed about these restrictions will contribute to making informed decisions when planning travel arrangements as an expectant mother.


In conclusion, pregnancy and medical conditions can greatly impact the fit to fly certificates for expectant mothers. Airlines require these certificates after 28 weeks of pregnancy to ensure a safe journey.

It’s essential for pregnant travellers with medical conditions to communicate with healthcare professionals and airline staff when planning their trip. Understanding the factors affecting travel while pregnant is crucial in obtaining necessary documentation and ensuring a smooth and comfortable journey.

Prioritising safety and being well-prepared are key for pregnant women navigating air travel with medical considerations.


1. What medical conditions stop pregnant women from getting a “Fit to Fly” certificate?

Certain health issues like heart problems, severe allergies such as sesame allergy, chronic lung disease, and infectious diseases like chicken pox can prevent pregnant women from flying. It’s important to check these before you plan to fly.

2. Can flying cause health problems during pregnancy?

Yes, flying can lead to issues such as deep vein thrombosis (DVTs), decompression sickness known as “the bends,” and altitude sickness due to higher altitudes which might be risky during mid-pregnancy or for those with specific medical conditions.

3. Do I need special preparation if I have asthma or a food allergy and am flying while pregnant?

If you have asthma or a severe food allergy, carrying an emergency kit with devices like an Epipen or Jext is wise. Also, inform the airline about your condition so they can prepare safe in-flight meals and avoid any allergens.

4. What should I do if I experience chest pain or difficulty breathing on board?

Airlines are equipped with automatic defibrillators and cabin crew trained in first aid; however, it’s crucial for passengers with known conditions like angina or chronic lung disease that could lead to traumatic pneumothorax (deflated lung)to notify the crew beforehand.

5. Are there other things I should consider regarding my health when flying during pregnancy?

Besides direct medical concerns, think about potential triggers for pre-existing conditions such as fear of flying which might affect blood pressure leading potentially towards premature labour; also remember practicalities such as ensuring you carry enough medication including Anapen for allergic reactions.