Whether you are planning the increasingly popular “babymoon” or have an important work trip to attend, flying while pregnant is no longer taboo. Most doctors will say that the safest time to fly is during the second trimester – when bouts with morning sickness have generally subsided and the risk of miscarriage is significantly lower. But, with a doctor’s approval – and signed note to fly, women with a low risk pregnancy are fine to travel up until the 35-36 week mark.
Here are some things to consider before you fly for two:
⇒ Consult your doctor
It’s a good idea to get the okay from your doctor before you fly, especially if you are in your last trimester or are considered to have a high-risk pregnancy. A quick checkup leads to peace of mind and possibly a doctor’s note – which may be necessary depending on the airline you are using.
⇒ Check the airline’s policies
Some airlines won’t let you fly after a certain stage in pregnancy – they don’t want to risk your going into labor mid-flight. Virgin Australia, for example, wants to see a doctor’s note after 30 weeks; although there’s a good chance no one will actually ask how far along you are. Still, better safe than sorry: Check the policies and get the note.
⇒ Check your insurance
In the rare case of an emergency you’ll want to make sure you’re covered. Call up your insurance company to see if it will follow you to your intended destination, and get the information in writing just in case. If you are going outside of the country buying additional travel insurance with a pregnancy policy isn’t a bad idea.
⇒ Bring a copy of your medical history
If that aforementioned emergency does happen, having a copy of your medical records – particularly regarding your current and past pregnancies – will be helpful should your doctor be difficult to reach.
⇒ Drink lots of water & pack some healthy snacks
Remember that flying can dehydrate you so drinking lots of water on board the plane will help. It will also help gently “remind” you to get up every hour or so to stretch your legs (read: use the bathroom.)
⇒ Make yourself comfortable
Compression tights or socks (to reduce risk of blood clots), inflatable footrests (my fave), neck pillows, cozy blankets… Pack things that will make your flight more pleasant, particularly if you are in economy class where the standard distance between seats – or seat pitch – is 31-inches, and seats recline only about 4-inches. Select your seat in advance and consider taking the aisle, which will mean less hassle during those frequent trips to the bathroom.
⇒ Don’t forget your medications
Particularly your prenatal vitamins, but also any other medication recommended by your doctor. This is much more convenient than trying to scour the drug store shelves for something similar once you arrive at your destination.
⇒ Pack light
Most doctors don’t recommend carrying or lifting anything over 20-pounds during pregnancy, so utilizing a lightweight, wheeled carry-on can make this an easier guideline to follow. If you have to go over that 20-pound mark don’t be afraid to ask a flight attendant or fellow passenger for help getting your bag in and out of the overhead bin.