We recently flew across country to visit Washington D.C. and at the time I was 28 weeks pregnant, just starting my third trimester. Altogether the flights totaled about 10-11 hours long and I can honestly say it was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I’ve ever had. I already have anxiety when flying, so topping that off with being huge, hormonal, and achy just wasn’t a pleasant combo for me. However, there are some things I did to help make flying while pregnant a little easier to deal with. But there are definitely some things that I’d do differently the next time around. So I’ve thrown together a list of tips for flying while pregnant for all you traveling mamas out there!
Always check with your doctor before traveling.
If your pregnancy is considered high risk, your doctor may advise against traveling. Your doctor will also be able to warn you of any health concerns when traveling abroad. For example, my doctor told me to stay clear of South America and Florida during the duration of my pregnancy due to the recent Zika Virus outbreaks. If you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy it’s best to bring a signed doctor’s note stating when you’re due and that you’re healthy enough for travel, just in case your airline asks to see one. Some airlines actually require a note to travel, though I was never asked to present mine during our trip.
Pick an aisle seat close to the bathroom.
You should expect to get up frequently during the flight, whether it’s to go to the bathroom or to stretch your legs. It’s better to have an aisle seat so you’re not forcing the people sitting next to you to move every time you need to get up. Everyone around you will be a lot more comfortable.
Consider upgrading your seat to one with more leg room.
I had very little room to stretch my legs out where I was sitting and by the end of the flight I was twice as sore and uncomfortable as I already was to begin with. Being pregnant is the perfect excuse to spoil yourself a little by upgrading your seat to one with extra leg room!
Get up to stretch frequently.
Stretching your legs and taking time to walk up and down the aisles is super important to keep your circulation moving because you’re at a greater risk for blood clots and varicose veins while pregnant.
The humidity in aircraft cabins are low, making your chances of becoming dehydrated a lot easier. Everyone, not just pregnant women, should drink plenty of fluids during the flight to avoid this issue.
Wear something comfortable.
You’re going to experience discomfort during the flight a some point. Whether it’s from sitting for too long, from heartburn, or nausea…dressing in comfortable clothes is just one less thing to worry about making your flight uncomfortable. Not only is it common for your feet to swell while flying but you’re going to be getting up for frequent bathroom visits, so wearing something stretchy like leggings or yoga pants is probably a good idea.
Bring healthy snacks.
You’re probably ravenous and “eating for two” lately. Packing your own snacks will be a lot more satisfying than those small bags of peanuts and pretzels they offer and you won’t need to ask the flight attendant to bring you food every time a case of the munchies hits you. It’s also important to pack healthy snacks that don’t make you gassy. With higher altitudes, gas expands, so it’s likely you’ll end up bloated and miserable during the flight.
Don’t forget the neck pillow and blanket.
Your comfort is necessity during pregnancy and long flights. I forgot my neck pillow at home during my recent travels and was kicking myself for it later when I was leaning against my boyfriend’s shoulder and bunching up my coat to use as a makeshift pillow. If you have room on your carry on, adding a light blanket will help make you feel extra cozy during the flight.
If your pregnancy has been anything like mine, then you’ve been having the worst heartburn ever!! Seriously, so horrible that sometimes you feel like you could throw up. I actually forgot to pack my Tums and was hating life during the last stretch of the flight when heartburn hit me hard…I was holding onto the courtesy throw up bag for dear life, just praying for the burning to go away. A pack of Tums was the first purchase I made as soon as we landed.
Use hand sanitizer!
Airports and planes are filled with germs. Think about how many people from all over the world pass through there everyday! Your immune system is lowered during pregnancy, making you more susceptible to catching something, so you want to take any extra precautions to avoid getting sick. It would be miserable to come down with something right when you reach your destination and are ready for a relaxing and fun-filled vacation. Better safe than sorry!
An extra tip: try to schedule your travels during your second trimester. Usually this is when mamas are feeling their best during pregnancy. In most cases, you’re finally done with the dreaded bouts of morning sickness and nausea that the 1st trimester brings. You’ve finally got your energy and appetite back. And you usually aren’t dealing with the aches and pains of your ligaments stretching and preparing for labor as much as you do in the 3rd trimester. If I could go back and do it again, I would’ve definitely planned our trip for earlier on in my pregnancy!
What are your tips and essentials for traveling while pregnant? I’d love to hear from other traveling mamas out there!
xx, Safe Travels