When we’re pregnant, there are a lot of restrictions placed on our daily lives: no sushi, no strenuous activity, no alcohol—and the list goes on and on. But, just because we have to give up certain things during our 9 months, doesn’t mean we have to give up everything. In fact, morning sickness and fatigue aside, all pregnant women should try to live a normal, fulfilled and happy life just as they did before the baby was created.
One thing many women say they miss is travel. There are a ton of mixed opinions about flying while pregnant. Some will say travel is fine no matter what, while others restrict travel to a certain trimester or advise against it completely. No matter where others stand, it’s important to have this conversation with your doctor or midwife if you do plan to travel: all pregnancies are different and what may be safe for one woman may not be for another.
Overall, though, flying while pregnant is safe for the average pregnancy, and if you feel comfortable doing it, you should! Plus, life doesn’t stop once you get pregnant: you still have weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other events that you probably can’t miss. Before you get on a plane, though, consider these tips.
When to Travel
If you have a wedding, baby shower or event that concerns someone else, your travel dates probably won’t be up to you. But, if you are planning a babymoon, a vacation, or simply have the urge to get away, consider doing it during your second trimester. Again, speak with your doctor or midwife before you book any travel, but overall, the second trimester brings newfound energy, the disappearance of morning sickness, and comes before the fatigue, constant bathroom trips, and other third trimester symptoms. As a note, some doctors and airlines also restrict women from flying after 28 weeks, so if you do plan to fly later in your pregnancy, make sure you get it cleared by your OB first.
What to Wear
No matter your usual plane style, you will probably want to keep it comfortable when traveling while pregnant. Loose-fitting clothing is always a good idea and luckily for new mamas, maternity leggings and jeans are super cute these days! You may also want to consider a flowy dress if your bathroom breaks are still frequent for easy access—and don’t forget a sweater! Your body is going through changes, including temperature changes, so even if you’re traveling somewhere tropical, you want to make sure you have something in case you start to feel a chill.
Where to Sit
It’s all about an aisle seat while pregnant! If you have your choice of seats, always consider an aisle, even if you usually prefer a window. The reason? Easy access to the bathroom! You also want to try to get up and move as much as you can, and an aisle allows for a quick walk or two, even if it’s just to the bathroom and back. If you have the funds, consider upgrading to a row with a bit more legroom—if your belly has already grown, you’ll be thankful for the extra space!
What to Pack
Focus on your carry on bag here. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough snacks to keep the nausea at bay and ensure you don’t get too lightheaded. A refillable water bottle is great too, as the air on a plane is sure to dehydrate you and you’ll be reaching for that water more than usual. You may also consider bringing a pillow if you start to feel a bit of back pain and even a pair of compression socks to avoid clots and ensure steady blood flow. In addition to things you’ll need on the plane, also pack important items you’ll need once you arrive in your carry on. This includes any medications or vitamins (don’t forget those prenatals!) and any other necessities you can’t be without should your luggage be lost or delayed.
Other Things to Consider when Flying while Pregnant
In addition to the above, you may also want to consider a refundable ticket. Pregnancies are unpredictable, and you don’t want to lose out on a large amount of money because you suddenly are unable to fly. While going through security, know that you have the option to request a pat-down if you don’t feel comfortable going through the metal detectors (although, they are considered safe), and always try to remain clam. Traveling can be stressful enough, and adding in pregnancy, no matter what stage you’re at, is likely to make any woman a bit uneasy. Practice steady breathing, bring along a great book, and remember that the destination will be worth the trip!