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 nine months doesn’t mean we have to give up everything. Morning sickness and fatigue aside, all pregnant women should try to live a normal, fulfilled, and happy life just as 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 specific 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 plan to travel: all pregnancies are different, and what may be safe for one woman may not be for another.
In general, flying while pregnant is safe for the average pregnancy, and if you feel comfortable doing it, you should!1 Plus, life doesn’t stop once you get pregnant: you still have weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other events you probably can’t miss.
Tips for Flying While Pregnant
Before you get on a plane when pregnant, consider these tips.
When to Travel While Pregnant
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 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.
The second trimester brings newfound energy, and morning sickness usually ends. You also don’t typically have the third-trimester symptoms, like fatigue, constant bathroom trips, etc. As a note, some doctors and airlines also restrict women from flying after 28 weeks, so if you plan to fly later in your pregnancy, ensure 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; luckily, for new mamas, maternity leggings and jeans are super cute these days! You may also want to consider a flowy maternity 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 ensure 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 ensure you have enough pregnancy snacks to keep the nausea at bay and not 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.2 You may also consider bringing a pillow if you start feeling 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, pack important items you’ll need once you arrive in your carry-on. This includes any medications or vitamins (don’t forget those prenatal vitamins!) 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 a large amount of money because you suddenly cannot fly. While going through security, know that you can request a pat-down if you don’t feel comfortable going through the metal detectors (although they are considered safe3), and always try to avoid stress and remain calm. Traveling can be stressful, and adding in pregnancy, no matter what stage you’re at, will likely make any woman uneasy. Practice steady breathing, bring a great book, and remember that the destination will be worth the trip!