5 Important Tips to know for flying when pregnant
Whether you’re hopping on a commuter flight or gearing up for a long haul journey, we’ve got tips on what to pack, how to go through security stress-free and what you need to know in terms of insurance cover and safety.
With the world being such a small place these days, it seems like everyone is moving across the country or overseas for a new job, adventure or change of scenery. While technology keeps us connected, sometimes flying for work is inevitable and it’s still important to get to catch up and spend time with our family and friends. It’s also crucial to make sure you get to have you time. If that means a Babymoon away with your partner or a solo trip to a place that’s always been on your bucket list, then flying might be something you’ve just got to do.
When you’re pregnant, the idea of traveling can be daunting, but trust us – it’s totally doable if you plan accordingly. Below are tips from our jet setting Tot Mamas that you’re totally going to want to know about.
Tip #1 – Know when it’s best to fly and if you’re covered
First, second, or third trimester? You’re probably wondering when it’s the best time to fly. For many, the first trimester is difficult because morning sickness can be brutal. Whether it’s a food aversion or motion sickness, flying can exacerbate the situation. You’re also at higher risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. If you’re planning a Babymoon, definitely wait until you’re well and truly in the second trimester and you get some energy back.
You may also want to check airline and insurance guidelines. Many airlines won’t let you fly after 28 weeks without a note from your doctor, while many insurance companies won’t cover any emergencies or cancellations after your 32nd week (24 for multiples.) If you do need to fly late in your pregnancy, we highly recommend having your doctor’s permission and supporting documents printed and ready at check in case you’re questioned. If you’re traveling internationally, you will also need to check with your destination country’s rules for admitting pregnant women and make sure you’re aware of what medical services they can supply.
Because all providers are different, it is crucial that you read the fine print from your insurer (this includes insurance provided by credit cards, auto clubs and airlines) when traveling while pregnant. If you prematurely give birth and your child requires time in a neonatal care unit overseas, many insurers may not cover this as it could be considered a “pre existing condition.” You also need to clarify what your trip cancellation policy is just in case complications prevent you from going.
Tip #2 – Allow plenty of time at check in
There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed and anxious when you’re pregnant. If you’re someone who is normally fine with arriving at the airport 45 minutes before your flight, stretch that out to 90 minutes. This will give you time to find someone help you with your luggage, handle any unexpected questions at check in and react to gate changes accordingly. This is especially crucial if you’re pregnant AND traveling with another child. Arriving early will allow for multiple bathroom breaks, spills, melt downs, and a much needed hug from an understanding stranger.
Tip #3 – Speak up in security
Many of us are concerned about going through screening technology or taking off our shoes in airport security. While the TSA has conducted numerous tests to ensure it’s safe for all passengers, including pregnant women to go through screening machines, it’s okay to ask for a physical pat down if you’re not comfortable. When you’re pregnant, you just need to do what makes you be able to sleep at night.
To put you a bit more at ease, the FDA explains that the TSA’s Advanced Imaging Technology and walk through metal detector systems do not use X-rays to produce the image, but instead use non-ionizing electromagnetic waves that are reflected off the body. According to research conducted by the Center for Devices and radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration, it is safe for everyone, including pregnant women, to go through these machines. If you would like to read more about the testing conducted by the FDA, please visit fda.gov.
Tip #4 – Ask for help
For the most part, people love helping pregnant women. Something about carrying new life seems to make people behave kinder and it’s something you should totally accept with open arms. If you need help getting an item in or out of the overhead compartment, just let a flight attendant know. Same goes for large bags when traveling internationally.
Tip #5 – Stay hydrated, stay relaxed and don’t get “hangry”
When you’re pregnant your baby is literally and figuratively sucking the life out of you. When you’re flying, you’re more prone to dehydration so DRINK THAT WATER. You may also want to consider bringing an electrolyte replacement drink on long haul flights. Also pack healthy snacks like carrot sticks, apple slices and almonds to keep you satiated. If you’re battling nausea or are an anxious flyer, talk to your doctor about which medications are safe to take while en route to your final destination.
Tip #6 – What to pack
First of all – use a backpack for a carryon. This will help evenly distribute the weight across your back and save your already sore body when trekking through a terminal.
In terms of clothes, we love wearing something a bit sports luxe or loose and flowy. Many women opt for leggings, but make sure they don’t cut into the middle of your belly or in the back of your knees. Circulation is crucial when you’re pregnant, so dress in things that let the blood flow! Blanqi’s Everyday Maternity Support Leggings or The Hatch Easy Pant are out go-to maternity travel essentials.
What to pack:
- Change of clothes
- Compression socks (especially important if you’ve been experiencing swollen feet)
- Nice big sweater that can double as a blanket if needed
- Snacks galore
- Carrot sticks
- Apple slices
- Lemon slices (if you’re battling nausea)
- Trail Mix
- You may also want to pack your own meal as plane food can be pretty dehydrating
- Documentation permitting you to fly
- Neck pillow
- Last but not least – a gratuitous novel or podcast that you can dive right into!