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Air Passage for Infants and Expectant Mothers

Normal Limitations for Singleton (ie, not twins or triplets etc) Pregnancy

Pregnant women may be accepted for RAF air transport without special precautions up to the end of the 36th week of pregnancy provided:

  • The gestational age (number of weeks pregnant) has been confirmed by ultrasound.
  • There is no history of bleeding at any stage of the pregnancy.
  • There is no history to suggest that premature onset of labour is likely.

A doctor's letter is required for all women travelling between the 28th and 36th week of pregnancy, confirming that the above precautions have been met and indicating the estimated date of delivery. Travel after the end of the 36th week of pregnancy will be authorised for essential reasons only, and the expectant mother would have to travel as an aeromedical patient, escorted by a qualified midwife trained in aeromedical evacuation duties. It should be noted that most commercial airlines prohibit the emplanement of pregnant women beyond the end of the 36th week.

Multiple Pregnancy

If a woman is carrying more than one baby, in a country without adequate neonatal special care facilities, she should be aeromedically evacuated to the UK, without special precautions, before the end of the 22nd week of her pregnancy. This means that the RAF Aeromedical Evacuation Control Centre (at RAF Brize Norton) should be informed, but it will not usually be necessary to arrange a special medical escort.

Post-Natal Considerations

Mothers may fly without aeromedical supervision after the 3rd day following an uncomplicated delivery, and after the 10th day following an instrumental (ie forceps or ventouse) or Caesarian delivery. Although healthy new-born babies should be able to fly safely, it is prudent to wait for one week after delivery. Advice must be sought from the Aeromedical Evacuation Control Centre before emplaning babies less than 1 week old. Babies with known problems should fly as aeromedical patients.

From JSP327 - Joint Service Manual of Movements