Traveling by air comes with a certain amount of concern, even more when you are planning air travel while you’re pregnant. Should you travel at all? Will it be safe? How safe can this be? Are there restrictions? These questions and many others run through the mind of every expectant mother.
It’s okay to worry about your safety and that of your unborn child while traveling. Worry however, doesn’t guarantee safety.
Whether it’s a business trip or vacation, you or any expectant mother will find these tips for planning air travel while pregnant helpful.
Know what type of plane you’re booking a seat on. Larger planes have pressurized cabins. Smaller planes that fly lower are generally not the best idea. Select a seat that is on the outside of the row, to make it easier for you to go to the bathroom. You will usually find the most room near a bulkhead. Being seated on the aisle will also make it easier for you to get up and take a quick walk in the aisle, which will keep blood moving. While on board, be sure to drink lots of water and avoid caffeinated drinks and salty snacks in order to help prevent dehydration.
Body scans are said to be safe for mother and her unborn child. If you prefer you can ask for a pat down or wand search instead of going through a body scanner.
Given a choice, select a destination that you will feel most comfortable in. Avoiding a very hot and humid climate is frequently suggested because hydration is so important. Dehydration reduces blood flow to your baby and can be dangerous. Domestic destinations may have a better likelihood of having appropriate medical care, whereas international travel may mean limited access to certain services.
Every pregnancy has its share of nausea, discomfort and fatigue, which of course is very normal. These symptoms do not occur all at once, and often occur at different times within the nine months. Ideally, pregnant women are advised to travel in the second trimester, which is when a woman experiences the least morning sickness and is unlikely to experience increased fatigue. Some airlines have policies regarding pregnant flyers that will prevent women from flying when they’re close to their delivery date. Find out if the airline requires a note from your doctor stating it is safe to fly. Some airlines require this after the 28th week. It’s generally suggested that you not fly after 34 weeks, and some airlines won’t permit it.
Emergency care at your destination
It can be helpful to have a copy of your pregnancy health record with you if you’re flying late in pregnancy. Get suggestions from your physician on where to go and who to see should you experience problems or go into labor once you’ve reached your destination.
Be sure to check with your doctor to find out what, if anything, you should have with you when flying. Some physicians recommend compression stockings. Be sure to have any physician recommended over-the-counter products with you for dealing with conditions like nausea, motion sickness, headache, fever, gas and such. The products your doctor recommends may not always be easy to find at your destination. Be sure to speak with your doctor if there are any mandatory shots required to fly to your destination.
Be sure you’re familiar with your health insurance policy. Know what type of benefits you have if you are traveling out of state or even out of the country. You may want to consider travel health insurance if your own health insurance won’t cover you once you reach your destination.
Be sure to have your essentials, any medicines and medical records, and some snacks in your bag. You should not do any heavy lifting, so be sure that your luggage has wheels. For carry-on luggage you can ask a flight attendant to help you stow your bag.
Do you have any tips for flying while pregnant?