When you are pregnant, you are forced to leave some activities aside. For example, you cannot run marathons or water-ski, but what if you want to book a flight for Christmas Day? Many people say you can’t fly, especially after a certain time of your pregnancy.
Is flying while pregnant dangerous for your or your baby’s health?
The truth is, traveling by flight is safe.
Are there restrictions to flying while pregnant?
The main concern of many airlines is the probability of pregnant women going into labor during the flight. Obviously, nobody wants to make an emergency landing, and you don’t want to give birth on the plane with no professional assistance.
Of course, labor is regulated by your hormones and flying a plane won’t immediately increase your levels of oxytocin. But due dates are estimates, so there’s no guarantee of the carefree flight near the end of your third trimester.
Most restrictions are focused on preventing women from flying during the third trimester. Thus, you may or may not be able to fly, depending on your stage of pregnancy and the chosen airline.
Most airlines don’t allow women to fly after 36 weeks if a flight exceeds four hours. For shorter flights, there’s usually no restriction until 38 weeks. However, if you’re expecting twins, the situation may change. If you are at your 28th week, airlines may request a letter from your doctor.
Most women can fly when pregnant unless they have a high-risk pregnancy or other health problems. Many women have blood clot risk (which increases if you board a plane), or a history of preterm labor. In this case, one must consult a doctor and listen to their advice.
Most doctors recommend moving your legs during long trips. You shouldn’t sit still for long periods of time, and you may even want to do some special exercises. For example, try to flex your ankles. Get up and walk for a few minutes every hour. You may also wear compression stockings that will help your body maintain a proper blood flow.
There are also many other helpful tips, so let’s talk about them in more detail.
7 Helpful Tips to Stay Safe When Flying
1. Ask Your Doctor for Recommendations
Let us say it again, as this is, probably, the most important advice. Visit your doctor and tell him or her that you’re traveling. This is also a good opportunity to ask about good specialists or hospitals in your destination, just in case something goes wrong when you’re far from home.
Emergencies are least likely to occur during the second trimester so some doctors recommend pregnant women to travel during this trimester. As a bonus, most women will be over any morning sickness and reclaim their energy by this time.
Depending on your destination, your doctor may also provide you with certain specific recommendations. For example, if there are high attitudes where you’re going, it involves more risks, such as morning nausea. We would also suggest not visiting too hot places. If you’re planning a trip during the Christmas holidays, we would suggest visiting Europe. Unlike exotic developing countries, it’s the best choice in terms of healthcare and safety during pregnancy.
Anyway, your doctor will tell you about the importance of staying hydrated. In addition, some problems associated with pregnancy that you’ve already got used to, such as vomiting or diarrhea, may get more serious when you’re far from home. Your doctor may also tell you what medication you need.
2. Consider Premiums
Since your traveling for two, an upgraded seat is worth the additional cost. First of all, pregnant women are known for their frequent trips to the bathroom. We suggest booking an aisle seat so that you can easily go to the toilet anytime. You may also want to pay for a business class to get seats with more room for your legs.
Another useful thing is ticket insurance. If you experience nausea or any kind of illness, you will need to have a strong backup. Check your bank’s policies — you can include insurance when using certain credit card companies.
Although direct flights are faster, they may be not the best option when you’re pregnant. The more stops you have, the better, as you can take a little walk, stretch and have a proper meal. Thus, look for connecting flights.
3. Dress Accordingly
If you’re not wearing maternity pants yet, we suggest that you start doing it or at least some stretchy, comfortable pants. Your baby needs some room. (This is also a reason why you should be careful with your seat belt when you are pregnant — wear it low and make sure it doesn’t cause pressure on your belly.)
During the flight, you need to take care of your blood circulation. There is low pressure in the cabin. It increases strain on your arteries and veins, which is already hard if you’re pregnant. Thus, you need to wear compression socks or compression stockings. If you have health insurance, it may cover these elements of your outfit. Don’t forget about flexible and comfortable shoes. Slip on shoes will make it easy to remove them if your feet start swelling. Finally, there’s nothing better than a cozy sweater that can also be used as a blanket — take your Christmas mood with you!
4. Pack What You Really Need
Some little things will make you feel much more comfortable during the flight. Make sure you have enough water so you can sip it every few minutes. Get some healthy snacks, a heat pack, and a neck pillow.
On the other hand, your bags shouldn’t be overstuffed, especially if you are traveling along and don’t have someone to do the heavy lifting. Ask your doctor what weight you’re allowed to lift and don’t pack too much stuff. Choose a color palette that will allow you to easily match and change clothes.
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5. Pre-Inform the Airline
Since you’re preparing for the flight, make sure the chosen airline is also prepared for you. Pregnant passengers have their particular needs, for example, they often cannot stand for a long time, so escort and pick up facility may help. Airlines also offer help with luggage, and flight attendants will be glad to serve extra food.
6. Protect Yourself Against Germs and Nausea
A plane isn’t the cleanest place. It’s a good idea to have a hand sanitizer as well as wipes.
What you do need is something that will help you deal with nausea. Buy a bottle of sparkling water and ginger candy. If your nausea is really bad, consider buying essential oils, for example, peppermint, lavender, ginger, or chamomile.
7. Take Breaks
Pregnancy is not only a challenge for your body. It also makes you more prone to stress and insomnia. You have to plan everything in advance in order not to get exhausted. Make sure you have enough time so that you won’t run through the airport. You may also want to take a nap during a long flight, so feel free to do so.
It’s not easy to fly when you’re pregnant, however, if you plan everything appropriately, planes won’t cause much trouble. Those with a healthy pregnancy are free to travel during their first and second trimesters, and even during the third trimester if they don’t have any health problems. The main thing is to consult your doctor and to make your flight as comfortable as possible.
Other common questions about what is safe during pregnancy:
Guest post: Berta Melder is an experienced brand manager and co-founder of the Masterra Professional Content Writers, creative writer and enthusiastic blogger covering a broad range of digital (and not only) topics. Being passionate about her job, she constantly tries to bring hygge into the workplace. Follow her on Twitter.
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We originally published this post in December 2018. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.