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 traveling during pregnancy safe?
Yes, it is safe to travel while pregnant. Any pregnant lady would be secure to travel by either air, car, bus, or train as long as there are no identified complications or concerns with the pregnancy.
And for that reason, the ideal time to take a long trip while pregnant would then be in your second trimester, which is between weeks 14 and 28.
Tips when traveling while pregnant
1. Visit the travel clinic and the obstetrician (OB/GYN)
If you are traveling internationally, especially to developing countries while pregnant, it is vital 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:
- First, you will be advised of any health risks at your destination. Some of the major risks may include Zika and Malaria infections. Zika infection may 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, to name a few.
- A travel medicine specialist will also give you any necessary vaccine that would be required
- Your likelihood of getting sick while traveling will be minimal. Why? Because you will learn some of the best tips on how to prevent and treat traveler’s diarrhea and other common travel-related illnesses experience while traveling when pregnant.
- You get great expert tips, such as tips on how to prevent blood clots, altitude illness, jet lag, and motion sickness when traveling while pregnant.
That being said, it is worth noting that the travel medicine specialist and your obstetrician (OB/GYN) will need to better evaluate your overall health in relation to travel.
Your health safety, especially while pregnant, should always be your number one concern.
2. Talk to the Airline before traveling
Generally, you should call your airline before traveling, especially if you are in your last trimester.
Why is that so?
Some airlines have special regulations for pregnant women, especially those in their last trimester.
And on that note, they may not allow you to fly with them without a notice from the doctor stating that it is safe to fly.
And then 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.
And as a matter of fact, 2 out of 10 pregnant women have given birth while flying. This is why most airlines don’t allow passengers on full-term pregnancy to board.
Take, for instance:
In one of my trips 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.
The good news is, a healthy baby boy made an extraordinary entrance into the world.
3. Take a cover
Anything can happen when you’re traveling while pregnant.
Getting good travel insurance can, without a doubt, be a huge money-saver.
But what really does the travel insurance cover?
Most travel insurance will cover any unforeseen pregnancy complications.
Let me explain.
If you experience any pregnancy complication resulting in the cancelation of a non-refundable trip, the travel insurance will reimburse you for the amounts in the booked ticket.
But that being said, it is worth noting that most travel insurance doesn’t cover flight cancellations or other losses that result from a normal pregnancy.
It is always imperative that you read the document carefully before applying for travel insurance.
Why is that so?
Because different travel insurance covers interpret pregnancy complications differently.
But then again, if your pregnancy is smooth and the gynecologist has given you the green light to travel, then I would advise you to rethink the travel insurance option.
4. Pack right
Essential to pack when pregnant
- Medical records
Carry your prenatal records and copies of relevant ultrasounds.
This is a must carry on every trip you take because anything could happen on the way.
- Traveling 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).
- Flight socks.
From experience, wearing flight socks can significantly help prevent the swelling of the feet and ankles.
The socks are knee-length or even longer up to thigh high if you decide to go with compression stocking.
And to maintain a good blood flow during your flight, a good pair of flight socks or compression stocking will put gentle pressure on your swollen ankles and legs.
- Water bottle
You’ve got to always stay hydrated when traveling while pregnant. You, therefore, need to carry enough water for the entire trip.
- Your best healthy snacks.
If you are picky or madly in love with food during pregnancy, be sure to carry your snacks.
But more importantly, remember the food should 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. But that’s my personal opinion.
- Comfortable shoes
Carry comfortable flat shoes.
Flat shoes do come in handy and help make your life easier when you’re traveling while pregnant.
And then again, if you’re traveling to a hot country, you could consider bringing a pair of comfortable open-toed sandals. These will, without a doubt, help your feet feel relaxed in the hot weather.
Lastly, a pair of comfortable boots when you’re traveling during cold seasons also work perfectly.
5. Choose your travel time wisely
To make your travel smooth, comfortable, and relaxing, picking your traveling time wisely will, no doubt, play a significant role.
As for me, I’m not too fond of early morning flights while pregnant. This is because I treasure my sleep – sleep is just everything, and I tend not to get enough of it when I’m pregnant.
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 then again, I wouldn’t also want to fall so deep in sleep that I end up doing everything in a hurry not to miss my flight.
The bottom line is, choosing the right time that matches your needs will always somehow make your trip smooth and flexible.
6. Put on the right clothing
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:
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 with a comfortable fabric.
- Good maternity underwear
There’s nothing worse than sitting on a long-haul flight with a pressing underwear.
- 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 be very comfortable when traveling.
- Maternity Jeans
Personally, I wouldn’t say I like wearing dresses when pregnant. But the good thing is, maternity jeans work perfectly to give you the comfort you need when flying pregnant.
- Maternity Belly Band
A good maternity belly band will help minimize the pressure on the abdomen, pelvis, and hips and give you that extra support that you may need while traveling or during the up and down hassles at the airport.
- Wear cotton clothing
This mainly applies when you are traveling during summertime.
And this is mainly due to the hot weather and the hormonal imbalances during pregnancy that result in excessive sweating.
Synthetic clothing may make you sweat even more.
7. Eat right before traveling
Try to avoid eating food that may give you gas or hurt burns.
I mean, you don’t want to be that lady who keeps rushing to the lavatory every minute.
And another thing, try taking non-caffeinated/non-alcoholic drinks before and after your flight.
This will not only keep you hydrated but will also help eliminate any false labor pains.
And perhaps it’s worth mentioning that you need to avoid highly caffeinated drinks such as coffee, not only when traveling but also due to health reasons.
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
- 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 with soft drinks
|Pepsi zero sugar||20||115|
|Mountain Dew – Diet or regular||12||54|
List of popular soft drinks with coffee drinks per 240ml (8-ounce) serving
|Espresso||240 – 720 mg|
|Coffee||102 – 200 mg|
|Decaffeinated Coffee||3 – 12 mg|
|Brewed Tea||40 – 120 mg|
|Cocoa Beverages||2-7 mg|
|Chocolate Milk||2 – 7 mg|
8. Pick the right seat
Booking the right seat will make your ride comfortable and enable you to survive a long-haul flight.
So, which seat is best for a pregnant lady?
The aisle seat – this is arguably the best seat for pregnant women. Do you know why? 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.
Therefore it goes without saying that moving around once every hour keeps your blood in good circulation and flow and preventing blood clots.
Calf exercise involves raising your heels and wiggle or twirl around.
Here are some of the pregnancy complications that may hinder you from flying:
- A hypertensive disease
- Placenta previa
- Severe nausea
- when expecting twins or more than one child.
Additionally, you should avoid traveling when pregnant if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Abdominal pain
If you are experiencing cramps that do not go away even after you relax and lie down, this could be a sign of preterm labor or miscarriage.
Bleeding could be a sign of preterm labor, miscarriage, or blockage of the cervix.
But then again, if you are experiencing severe pain accompanied by bleeding, this could indicate placenta abruption, which basically means that the placenta is separated from the uterus.
Extreme swelling in your feet, legs, arm, hands, or even around your eyes could be a sign of preeclampsia, which is a life-threatening condition for you and your baby. You should hence avoid traveling in this condition.
- Vision changes
If you are experiencing light flashes, blurred vision, or sparkles, this could be due to the swelling around the optic nerve, which could be another sign of preeclampsia.
Lastly, I’ll conclude by answering one of the commonly asked questions from our readers, which goes like this…
Can Travelling cause miscarriage?
No. Traveling while pregnant does not lead to miscarriage.
The risk of miscarriage is usually highest in the first trimester.
Therefore, women who have a history of miscarriage should avoid traveling in their first trimester, not unless they have the doctor’s permission.
[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]