As some of you may know, we are soon expecting twin girls to
land arrive at the travelblawg household. Over the past few months, our little ones have flown almost 20,000 miles in utero to great destinations like Chicago, Austin, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Wilmington, NC (Atlantic Ocean), San Francisco (Pacific Ocean) and Cabo San Lucas. (They get those lifetime miles credit, right!?)
But as we enter the homestretch, we are staying put. My wife, a nurse, would NOT want to find herself in the situation of going into labor during a flight, especially with twins. In fact, many airlines have policies against pregnant mothers flying, such as United Airlines’ policy:
Any woman in the first eight months of pregnancy will be allowed to travel on a United flight without medical documentation.
A woman traveling during her ninth month of pregnancy must have the original and two copies of an obstetrician’s certificate, which must be dated within three days (72 hours) prior to her flight departure. To best assure the pregnant traveler’s safety, it is preferable to have a certificate dated within one day of flight departure.
The certificate must state that the obstetrician has examined the customer and found her to be physically fit for air travel between the specified dates. The estimated birth date of the baby must be after the date of the last flight on the itinerary.
The customer should provide the original certificate to a United Representative at check-in. The remaining copies are for reference during air travel.
Whereas Southwest Airlines has a more lax policy, stating:
Advice to Pregnant Passengers
While air travel does not usually cause problems during pregnancy unless delivery is expected within 14 days or less, in some cases, traveling by air has been known to cause complications or premature labor. Female Customers at any stage of pregnancy should consult with their physicians prior to air travel. Southwest Airlines recommends against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy. Depending on their physical condition, strength, and agility, pregnant women may, in some cases, be asked not to sit in the emergency exit row.
This situation became all too relevant on a recent Southwest Airlines flight from San Francisco to Phoenix that did not make it to PHX without a diversion first to Los Angeles LAX with paramedics standing by to check on the flight’s newest extra passenger, a baby boy!
A Southwest Airlines spokesperson reported that the passenger went into labor shortly after the flight took off and gave birth before touching down at LAX. Mother and baby were doing fine, and were fortunate to have a nurse on doctor on board the flight to assist along with the crew.
Final thought: What will the birth certificate read as place of birth!?
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