Many times we plan our vacations months or even a year in advance without a second thought. Then maybe an unexpected pregnancy happens and we're left trying to decide if pregnancy and flying is safe.

Here are some points to consider as well as some general guidelines from both doctors and airlines. In general, it is safe for a woman to fly while pregnant as long as she is having a normal and healthy pregnancy.

Women who are having any sort of complications or who have a high- risk pregnancy will need to speak to her healthcare provider.

The first and third trimesters are not the ideal time to fly for most women. In the first trimester, morning sickness may be causing discomfort which would only be intensified by flying.

In the third trimester, there is a chance of going into labor or pre-term labor during the flight. The second trimester tends to be the most comfortable for women who are going to fly.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women do not fly after 36 weeks of pregnancy.

However, policies vary from airline to airline and should be verified. Most will require a doctor's note stating you are clear to fly once you reach 32 weeks of pregnancy.

Risks of Flying While Pregnant One of the first things women may worry about is whether or not is safe for them to go through the x-ray machine at the airport.

The machines put off such low levels of radiation that there would not be serious harm to you or to your baby.

Secondly, once you get on the airplane, you need to pay attention to how you wear your seatbelt. May sure that it goes under your belly and fits snugly.

It is recommended to wear your seatbelt through the entire flight since you never know when turbulence may hit and you don't want to injure yourself.

Lastly, as with any person who flies, there is an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg) while flying.

To help decrease the risk there are a few simple things you can do. One, wear loose fitting clothing during your flight. Two, avoid crossing your legs while sitting. And lastly, and most importantly, get up and walk at least once an hour to avoid any complications.

So, if you need or want to fly during your pregnancy, there should be no problems. However, check with the airline regarding their regulations and check with your doctor to make sure they will give you clearance to fly.