Air travel

Flying While Pregnant (9 Safety Tips)

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022 by Rose Morah

Pregnancy is undeniably a life-changing and wondrous experience. 

But the truth is, traveling while pregnant is not easy, and at times could be risky. 

We’ve put together some helpful tips to help you fly while pregnant.

But first, is it safe to fly while pregnant?

Yes, it is safe to travel while pregnant. Any pregnant lady can safely travel by air, car, bus, or train as long as there are no identified complications or concerns with the pregnancy. 

The ideal time to take a long trip while pregnant is in the second trimester, which is between weeks 14 and 28.

The following are some of the safety tips for flying while pregnant:

1. Visit the travel clinic and the obstetrician (OB/GYN)

If you are traveling internationally, especially to developing countries, it is important to make an appointment with a doctor specializing in travel medicine.

Make sure you do this 4 – 6 weeks before traveling.

But, why is a travel medicine specialist so important?

Here is why:

  1. First, you will be advised of any health risks at your destination. Some of the major risks include Zika and Malaria infections. Zika infection can cause severe birth defects when a pregnant woman is infected. Malaria, on the other hand, is a life-threatening illness that increases the risks of pregnancy complications such as stillbirth, miscarriage, and so on.
  2. A travel medicine specialist will give you any necessary vaccine that will be required.
  3. Your likelihood of getting sick while traveling will be minimal. Why? Because you will receive some of the best advice on preventing and treating traveler’s diarrhea and other common travel-related illnesses experienced while traveling when pregnant. 
  4. You get great expert tips, such as how to prevent blood clots, altitude illness, jet lag, and motion sickness when traveling while pregnant.

The travel medicine specialist and your obstetrician (OB/GYN) will also need to better evaluate your overall health in relation to travel.

See also: Best sanitary pads when traveling on your period.

2. Talk to the Airline before traveling

Some airlines have special regulations for pregnant women, especially those in their last trimester.

They may hence not allow you to fly with them without a note from the doctor stating that it is safe to fly.

And again, the flight attendant has the right to stop you from boarding the plane if you do not comply with the airline’s policy regarding traveling while pregnant.

On a trip to Dubai, a 23-year-old who was eight months pregnant unexpectedly went into labor. The labor was six hours into a 10-hour flight.

Three doctors and one nurse volunteered to assist with the delivery and a healthy baby boy made an extraordinary entrance into the world. 

This is why most airlines don’t allow passengers on full-term pregnancy to board.

3. Take a cover

Anything can happen when you’re traveling while pregnant.

Getting good travel insurance can be a huge money-saver. 

What does the travel insurance cover?

Most travel insurances cover any unforeseen pregnancy complications. 

For instance, if you experience any pregnancy complications resulting in the cancelation of a non-refundable trip, the travel insurance will reimburse you for the amounts in the booked ticket.

However, most travel insurances don’t cover flight cancellations or other losses that result from a normal pregnancy.

Hence, it’s always important to go through the document carefully before applying for travel insurance.

Additionally, different travel insurance covers interpret pregnancy complications differently.

But if your pregnancy is smooth and the gynecologist has given you the green light to travel, then I would reconsider getting travel insurance.

4. Pack right

pack-your-clothes

Essentials to pack when pregnant

  1. Medical records

Carry your prenatal records and copies of relevant ultrasounds.

Anything could happen on the way.

  1. Travel pillow

Bring a good comfortable pillow that will help you sit comfortably throughout the flight.

Most women experience swollen feet, fingers, and ankles (depending on your pregnancy). 

  1. Flight socks

Wearing flight socks can significantly help prevent the swelling of the feet and ankles.

The socks are knee-length or longer up to thigh high if you decide to go with compression stocking.

To maintain a good blood flow during your flight, a good pair of flight socks or compression stockings will put gentle pressure on your swollen ankles and legs.

  1. Water bottle

It will help you stay hydrated when traveling while pregnant. Therefore, carry enough water for the entire trip.

  1. Your best healthy snacks

If you are picky or madly in love with food during pregnancy, be sure to carry some snacks that adhere to the TSA food guidelines. 

Sometimes the food provided doesn’t always feel fresh, and other times it tastes different than what you are used to.

  1. Comfortable flat shoes

Flat shoes help make life easier when traveling while pregnant.

If you’re traveling to a hot country, bring a pair of comfortable open-toed sandals. They will make your feet feel relaxed in the hot weather.

5. Choose your travel time well

Personally, I treasure my sleep. I’m not fond of early morning flights while pregnant. Sleep is important when you’re pregnant, but you tend not to get enough of it when traveling. 

So, I wouldn’t want to wake up so early to catch a flight and have the whole day feeling like I’m walking dead!

But I also do not like to fall so deep into sleep and end up doing everything in a hurry to not miss the flight.

The thing is, choosing the right time that matches your needs will always somehow make your trip smooth and flexible.

6. Put on the right clothing

When traveling while pregnant, dress in the most comfortable and stretchy clothes that you can find in your wardrobe.

Here are some of the best clothing to put on when traveling while pregnant:

  1. Leggings

Leggings are not only easy to pack but are comfortable and easy to match with whichever outfit you plan on wearing.

Before traveling, ensure that you have a few pairs of maternity leggings that have a comfortable fabric.

  1. Good maternity underwear

There’s nothing worse than sitting on a long-haul flight with pressing underwear.

  1. Maternity dresses

A maternity dress does not necessarily mean those oversize dresses or ones that look like pajamas. 

You can have your body-size type of maternity dress and still look cute and very comfortable when traveling.

  1. Maternity Jeans

Personally, I wouldn’t say I like wearing dresses when pregnant. But the good thing is that maternity jeans are there to give you the comfort you need when flying pregnant.

  1. Maternity Belly Band

A good maternity belly band helps minimize the pressure on the abdomen, pelvis, and hips and gives you that extra support that you may need while flying or during the up and down hassles at the airport.

  1. Cotton clothing

This mainly applies to summertime travel due to the hot weather and the hormonal imbalances during pregnancy that result in excessive sweating.

Synthetic clothing will make you sweat even more.

See also: How To Deal With Heavy Periods While Traveling.

7. Eat right before traveling

When flying while pregnant, try and avoid foods that give you gas or hurt burns. 

No want to be that lady who keeps rushing to the lavatory every minute.

 And another thing, take non-caffeinated or non-alcoholic drinks before and after your flight.

This will help keep you hydrated and eliminate any false labor pains.

According to WHO, excessive caffeine intake may lead to preterm or stillbirth, reduced birth weight, and even some growth restrictions.

Here are a few examples of caffeinated drinks:

  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Caffeinated shakes/water

Generally, pregnant women need to watch their caffeine intake or limit it to 200 milligrams a day. 

The following tables can help you figure out the amount of caffeine you are consuming per serving.

List of popular soft drinks and caffeine levels


SOFT DRINKS

Serving Size

CAFFEINE (mg)
Coca-cola 1645
Coca-cola Life1228
Coke Zero1645
Diet Coke1246
Pepsi2063
Pepsi zero sugar20115
Pepsi True1032
Fanta, Sprite120
Mountain Zevia1255
Mountain Dew – Diet or regular1254

List of popular soft drinks with coffee drinks per 240ml (8-ounce) serving

COFFEECAFFEINE (mg)
Espresso240 – 720 mg
Coffee102 – 200 mg
Decaffeinated Coffee3 – 12 mg
Brewed Tea40 – 120 mg
Cocoa Beverages 2-7 mg
Chocolate Milk2 – 7 mg
Data from healthline.com

8. Pick the right seat

This will enable you to ride comfortably and survive a long-haul flight.

Which seat is best for a pregnant lady?

The aisle seat – is arguably the best seat for pregnant women because of the freedom and easiness to make frequent trips to the lavatory without distracting anyone.

And if you manage to get the bulkhead seat, you get more legroom and hence a smoother ride.

9. Move around constantly, or do calf exercises

Flying increases the chances of developing a potentially fatal blood clot, especially when taking long-haul flights.

Moving around once every hour helps keep your blood in good circulation and flow and prevents blood clots.

Calf exercise involves raising your heels and wiggling or twirling around. 

[Medical disclaimer: The above content is purely meant only for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended to give medical advice or take the place of your physician. Readers are guided to consult their doctors for any specific health questions. Tripversed does not take any responsibility for any possible health consequence of any reader following this educational content]

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.