It’s not a secret that flying tends to be draining. Flying tends to dry one’s skin and make the body feel a little out of sorts. While flying the cabin pressures change and the temperature and oxygen levels fluctuate. It is because of that reason that flying while pregnant can be worrisome. However, with proper care, preparation and with the okay of a physician it can be one of the most memorable experiences.
According to recommendations by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and airlines, as long as the mom-to-be and the fetus are healthy, a woman can travel safely until she is 36 weeks pregnant. That is around 8 months pregnant. There’s no reason mom-to-be has to stay behind just because she’s expecting. Besides, what better time to enjoy a trip before life gets REAL.
Important Things to Pack When Flying While Pregnant
Snacks and Drinks: Depending on the length of the flight packing extra snacks and drinks is highly recommended. Water bottles tend to be confiscated at security check but if you can, buy a large bottle of water before boarding to stay hydrated. The constant snacking can help avoid nausea.
Clothing and Shoes: Due to body temperatures changing and the temperatures of the cabin, wear and pack layers. The best pants to travel in when flying while pregnant are leggings. Who doesn’t own a pair of leggings? Besides, they are beyond comfortable around the belly. Also, wear and pack comfortable shoes as feet tend to swell a bit while flying. Finally, compression socks are also a great idea to help prevent blood clots when flying during pregnancy.
Travel Pillow: For comfort, pack a neck pillow and/or a small pillow to place on the lower back. Sometimes the flight attendant may hand over a small pillow but to be safe it is a better bet to bring your own. After sitting for a while your lower back may get uncomfortable and that’s when the pillow comes in handy, especially when the pressure of the baby gets to be too much after sitting in one position for so long.
Read More: Relaxing Remedies for Your Pregnant Body
Vitamins and Lotions: Don’t forget to pack the prenatal vitamins. Keeping those in your carry-on would be a great idea in case of lost luggage or layovers. Another good idea is to keep lotion and a small hygiene kit handy. It is important to keep the skin on the belly hydrated when flying because it helps prevent stretch marks so grab a travel size bottle of your favorite scent.
Tips to Keep the Baby Safe When Flying While Pregnant
It is very important to keep the body moving when flying while pregnant. There’s nothing wrong with walking up and down the aisle as long as the seatbelt light is not on. Moving helps prevent blood clots. Rotating your feet in circular motions while seated is great as well.
Give yourself a massage! It’s great for circulation and helps reduce swelling. Massage the belly, hands, arms, and legs if possible.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help during the flight if necessary. If it isn’t obvious, tell the flight attending that you are flying while pregnant. It is a safety precaution and sometimes one is treated with extra kindness. Who knows they may give an upgrade to ensure comfort?
One very important tip prior to boarding and passing through security is to opt for a pat-down check by someone of the same sex. Doing so prevents radiation from the metal detectors.
Finally, airplane cabins are small and cramped which means germs are everywhere. Always wash hands and perhaps keep some hand sanitizer nearby. While flying may be a necessity, keeping you and your baby safe and healthy is the most important thing to consider.
Try to get some rest when flying while pregnant. It’s easier said than done but, once onboard try to relax and take a nap if possible. Nothing is greater for the baby than a relaxed mommy during a stressful day full of travel.
Questions to Ask Your Physician Before Flying While Pregnant
When flying while pregnant always alert a physician. This will help keep the physician in the loop should anything arise. Double-check to see if the physicians have affiliates in other cities, states, and even countries. If there’s a travel advisory due to health risks or warnings the physician should be are of them and share any information before you go. Obviously, always ask if it’s okay to fly. If one is far out in your pregnancy or bigger than normal perhaps ask for a note in case any airport or airline staff questions the state of pregnancy.
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Remember, no question is a bad question. Ask questions that need to be answered for peace of mind. For example, will flying while pregnant hurt the baby? What if one goes into labor? Are there any symptoms to be aware of?
Foods to Avoid When Flying While Pregnant
To ensure a comfortable flight it’s important to ingest the proper foods. Flying bloated and pregnant is not the ideal situation to be in. A well-balanced diet is much easier said than done especially while expecting. With late night or rare cravings, it can be hard to keep up. But, as a mom-to-be, if you have a craving, indulge and don’t stress about it. Cravings are totally normal however, some may be odder than others.
If you can’t find the particular food you are craving while traveling it may be a good idea to see if you can pack and bring it along on the trip. Try not to overeat to avoid getting sick when flying while pregnant. As to otherwise healthy as fruits and vegetables, try to avoid the following while flying: cauliflower, broccoli, peas, root vegetables like parsnips, and apples. These can lead to gas, bloating, acid reflux and occasional heartburn which is never fun when flying. This is because the intestinal gas actually expands when in a pressurized airplane cabin. Foods to eat before flying include nutrient-dense, protein-rich meals that will keep you full longer and prevent you from getting hangry midflight.
Overall, just try to enjoy this special time as best one can. Yes, it can be a bit stressful and worrisome but this is such a beautiful experience. Enjoy being able to travel alone because soon that is going to change. Take some time alone if possible because that will also change once the baby arrives. Life is about creating memories. Consider this a story to share with the baby once he or she can understand. Sharing the story of flying while pregnant, and the adventures you embarked upon, will be so sweet and exciting. It’s something to look back on and smile about.
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