Everything To Prepare Before Taking A Flight While Pregnant

Flying is often a stressful experience, whether you’re pregnant or not. There’s a lot that can go wrong at the airport, whether the security line is taking longer than usual or if your flight has been delayed. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into getting ready to fly, and even more so if you’re pregnant.

Your ‘to-do’ list when flying while expecting is going to be higher than normal, but don’t feel overwhelmed. By thinking ahead and using time management skills, you can get everything done to ensure you have a smooth flying experience while traveling. Here’s where to start.

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Get Your Doctor’s Approval

Not all trimesters are safe for air travel, and if you’re suffering from a pregnancy complication or other health issue, your doctor may be even more hesitant to approve you for flying.

Mention your travel plans to your doctor as soon as you’re away from them. WebMD suggest scheduling an in-person visit a few weeks before your flight. Do it a few months before if flying internationally. During the appointment, your doctor can evaluate whether you’re safe to travel by plane.

Plan For Prenatal Care

Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead to travel, make sure you have access to prenatal care while on-the-go. Have your doctor’s phone number on hand or come up with a plan with them for what you’ll do if you’re in a medical emergency. Discuss with them what you’ll do if you have a medical emergency in-flight, and clarify any potential risks of you flying in your condition.

Depending on how long you’re traveling for, you may want to seek out prenatal care at your place of arrival, even if it’s only an emergency precaution.

Call Airline & Insurance Provider

Your doctor isn’t the only professional to contact before the trip. You also need to communicate with the airline and your insurance provider.

A few weeks (or months) before the flight, contact the airline(s) you’ll be traveling with. The guidelines for pregnant women can vary by carrier and destination. Most airlines won’t allow a woman over 36 weeks to fly. Some airlines require you to provide a doctor’s note confirming you’re fit to fly. You may be eligible for early boarding, a special lounge, or other benefits and resources that can make navigating the airport easier. Just ask.


It’s also wise to touch base with your insurance provider. Clarify what type of coverage you would have if you were to deliver your baby mid-flight or at your destination (especially if it’s international). Some providers may encourage you to purchase additional coverage or travel insurance.

Pack Nausea Remedies

Nausea and vomiting are common pregnancy symptoms, especially in the first trimester. It may be known as morning sickness but can strike at any time of the day. Research has found that nausea tends to worsen with each subsequent pregnancy.

It’s possible to get motion sickness when flying in a plane, pregnant or not. But expecting heightens this risk. It’s wise to prepare beforehand so that you have remedies mid-flight should you start feeling nauseous. Some remedies include:


Fluids

Nausea and vomiting can be symptoms of dehydration alongside muscle cramps and general weakness. It’s easier to become dehydrated in pregnancy because the body requires more fluids to maintain the growing fetus.

While flying, being dehydrated can quickly make you nauseous or exacerbate morning and/or motion sickness. Be sure to fill up a water bottle or buy a drink when you’ve past security, so you can have something to sip on during the flight.

You can also pack electrolyte packets that mix with water to give you an extra boost of energy.

Nausea-Fighting Foods

Pack nausea-fighting foods, like ginger, mint, saltines, trail mix, and sour foods. Make sure whatever snacks you bring don’t need to be refrigerated and are non-perishable, so you can keep them with you the whole trip.


Over-The-Counter-Medication

Some over-the-counter medications can safely combat nausea during pregnancy. Parents explains that Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Unisom (doxylamine) can help with nausea in addition to treating symptoms of allergies and insomnia. Additionally, certain antacids (such as Tums, made from calcium carbonate) can fight acid reflux that can be brought on by vomiting.

Not all medications (even those that can be bought without a prescription) are safe during pregnancy. It’s wise to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medication while expecting. You may also be able to get a prescription for a pregnancy-safe medication if your nausea is severe.

Take Steps To Avoid Gas

People are more likely to be gassy while flying. The higher in altitude, the more the intestinal gas begins to expand, causing discomfort. Additionally, gas is more likely in pregnancy due to hormonal changes. To save yourself an embarrassing and uncomfortable trip, prepare ahead of time.

Airplane-safe remedies to gas can include:

Drink Fluids

Water is the most helpful liquid for combating gassiness. Fill up or purchase a water bottle before getting on the plane. If that’s not available, or you want something flavorful, choose a drink that’s low in FODMAPs, a group of sugars that cause bloating and gassiness. Grape, cranberry, pineapple, and orange juice are good options.

Move Around

Granted, there’s not a lot of space to move around on an airplane. But if you’re feeling gassy, ​​walk up and down the aisles a few times or use the bathroom just to stretch your legs. When in the airport, try to move around as much as possible to promote digestion and knowing you’ll be sitting for a while on the plane.

Watch Your Diet

What you eat plays a big role in contributing to gassiness. Avoid foods associated with gas, like:

  • Beans
  • Hard candy
  • Gray foods
  • Dairy products
  • Processed foods
  • Carbonated drinks

Conversely, try to fill up on foods that are rich in fiber, which can help bowel movements pass with more ease. Examples of fiber-rich foods include whole grain oats, vegetables, and fruits (like prunes, figs, and bananas).

Watch What You Wear

Finally, think carefully about what you’ll wear while flying to ensure maximum comfort and convenience. Consider dressing in layers. Planes tend to be hot and stuffy with poor air circulation. Even more, it’s easier to feel hot or become overheated while expecting, since the higher heart rate raises metabolism and thus body temperature.

Pregnant women are already at a higher risk of swelling, especially in their feet, and airplanes are known to cause swelling, too. Wear non-restrictive clothing that can accommodate if you start feeling puffier due to air travel.

Finally, Ask your doctor about compression leggings. The likelihood of blood clots is higher in pregnant people and while flying, making it a real risk when riding an airplane while expecting. Compression leggings and moving around can lower this risk.

Pack Your Carry-On Wisely

Finally, don’t leave your carry-on to the last minute. Put thought into the things you want to have on hand during the flight. Pack items that will help you get comfortable, like a neck and/or pregnancy pillow. Bring some type of entertainment, like music or a book, to help the time fly by.

If you’re also checking a suitcase, make sure to pack items in your carry-on that you’d want to have on-hand if your baggage is delayed or goes missing. You may want a day or two’s worth of outfits, and important essentials like toiletries and prenatal vitamins.

Sources: WebMD, Expecting Science, Medical News Today, Parents, Healthline,

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