Although flying while pregnant is generally deemed safe, it definitely comes with some risks. So, taking precautions before getting on a flight is necessary. We’ve done the research for all you expecting moms out there to keep you in the know. Just remember that a consultation with your doctor’s always necessary and should be your number one priority before a big flight.
1. Clear for takeoff
First and foremost, get the green light from your doctor. They’re the ones who’ve been following your progress consistently, and will know what risks you and your child may be more prone to. It’s also key to detail the flight period. A single-hour flight from one side of the country to the other versus a 12-hour intercontinental flight is a huge difference, and the latter might not be recommended for some expecting mothers.
As a general rule of thumb, the second trimester is the most stable time to fly, as the first trimester can hold a higher possibility of miscarriage or mean a more uncomfortable flight if you experience constant nausea. Airsickness plus morning sickness? It’s a horrible, horrible duo.
During the third trimester, try to avoid flying unless you really need to. While most airlines do allow expecting moms in their third trimester to fly, do check when an airline’s cutoff date is before you book your flight.
Flying this late in the game will also require a doctor’s letter that you’ll need to present to airline crew, and they may make you sign an indemnity form prior to boarding. You can also check with your obstetrician when your cutoff date for flying is based on your estimated due date.
2. Watch what you eat
It’s best to do all you can to prevent an uncomfortable situation while flying pregnant, which can already be stressful for some. This includes watching your diet two to three days prior to flying. No spicy, greasy, or heavily-salted food. You don’t want to upset your stomach in any way.
Watch out for potentially gassy food like beans and dairy as well. Essentially, the days leading up to the flight are probably not the best time to go for a full-on buffet. So save the curry for once you’ve touched down.
Most importantly, stay hydrated! Don’t worry if it means having to visit the toilet every 15 minutes, this actually gives you an excuse to move your feet and get your blood flowing.
3. Keep on moving
Because of the tight confines of a plane seat, it’s advisable to move around a little instead of sitting for the entire duration, or only getting up to use the toilet. You don’t have to start jogging down the aisles, but do get up once in awhile and slowly walk around to keep the blood flowing.
It goes without saying that this should only be done when the seatbelt light isn’t on, and the flight is going smooth. When walking, hold on to the top of the seats as you walk past if you need additional support.
Also try to do some light stretches during the flight; ones that can be done while in your seat are ideal. Or you can stretch as you make your way up and down the aisle. Either way, just get moving. A final tip is to wear comfortable clothing so as not to restrict your movement. Keeping things loose is usually more comfortable.
4. Nausea hacks
Not all moms experience nausea during pregnancy. Even so, bring along little snacks like dehydrated ginger or mandarin peel, as the harsh conditions of flying might trigger motion sickness. On the other hand, if your nausea is severe, consult your doctor on any medications that are safe to take to reduce these symptoms. Try not to do too much work or read too much as this can aggravate motion sickness as well.
5. Pick your seat wisely
Most of us may not have the luxury of extra leg room that business class offers, but picking a suitable seat can make a lot of difference. While the perk of an aisle seat is that it’s perfect for making frequent bathroom trips, a window seat has its up sides. You won’t have your neighbours squeezing past you to go to the restroom and looking out at the view can help with nausea. During landing, when everyone is clamouring to collect their luggage, you’ll also be safely secluded.
A seat in the middle of the aisle is also a good option. However, the best seat in the house is a front bulkhead seat. The front of the plane has less jerk and is less bumpy, while bulkhead seats generally have a little extra legroom. Just what you need to get your stretch on. Happy flying, momma!