For most women, pregnancy is an exciting time. But it is not without its worries and complications. And one area that can be made difficult by pregnancy is travel. If you need to fly somewhere and you’re into your third trimester, you may encounter a range of problems with your airline. But why is this? And what can you do about it if you really have to travel?
What is a pregnancy fit-to-fly certificate?
As the title implies, a fit-to-fly certificate is a letter from a doctor informing your airline that you are healthy enough to travel by air. Air travel has the potential to put increased pressure on the body. And if you are pregnant or have certain medical conditions, flying can multiply the likelihood of you developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other illnesses. In some instances, you may also require a fit-to-fly certificate for sea travel.
When do you need a fit-to-fly certificate?
Fit-to-fly certificates are issued for a number of reasons. They were common during the time that Covid-19 was at its peak. And you will usually require a fit-to-fly certificate if you have just been released from hospital, or have recently undergone surgery. However, the most common reason for fit-to-fly certificates to be issued is for women who are more than 28 weeks pregnant.
Where can you get a fit-to-fly certificate?
In most cases, fit-to-fly certificates are issued by your GP. However, if you are in a hurry or can’t take the time off work to see your GP, you can order a certificate online. With ZoomDoc, you can access a verifiable fit-to-fly certificate signed by a medical professional on the day of contact. Simply complete the online form and upload your most recent maternity notes. If your ZoomDoc doctor has any concerns about your condition, they will contact you to ask any relevant questions before issuing your certificate.
Why might a fit-to-fly certificate not be issued?
A fit-to-fly certificate will not be issued to pregnant women if their doctor has any concerns about their state of health. This may include any complications with your pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and low-lying placenta, or a history of late miscarriage. Any underlying health conditions that you may have – including previous pulmonary embolisms or other clotting related illnesses, high blood pressure, anaemia, sickle cell, or heart and lung conditions. Or if your BMI was 30 or above at the start of your pregnancy, as this can increase the threat of DVT.
How long will your fit-to-fly certificate be valid for?
For other conditions, fit-to-fly certificates can be valid for a couple of months – sometimes up to six months. However, as pregnancy is a clearly evolving state, fit-to-fly certificates are only valid for three weeks. If your return date is likely to be outside of that time, you will need to seek another certificate before your departure.
For most women, travelling when pregnant isn’t a problem. But once you reach 28 weeks, it is always best to seek medical advice – whether digitally or face to face – before making plans. Not all airlines have the same travel rules. Some require fit to fly certificates earlier or later in the pregnancy. But for your wellbeing, and the wellbeing of your baby, speak to a medical professional before you travel. And with an online consultation service it takes only moments.
Find out more about pregnancy fit to fly certificates with ZoomDoc.