Those telltale lines recently lit up your pregnancy test but you have plans to fly, and now wonder how flying while pregnant will affect your baby. Unless you have other significant health concerns, the answer to that question is, it won’t. But it might affect you.
Most airlines will let women fly until their eighth month. But you’re in the newbie nauseous stage, so flying may need some attention other than making sure your seat has a barf bag.
Travel tips for the first trimester
Use major airlines
Their pressurized cabins are safer for you than the non-pressurized ones of small airplanes. But if you do use a small plane, avoid flying higher than 7,000 feet
Book early enough to get an aisle seat
If your chosen airline has seat assignments, try to get the aisle so you can easily go to the bathroom or get up and stretch your legs.
On long flights you should get up and stroll every hour, and stretch your calves while in your seat to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When you walk down that very narrow airplane aisle, hold the seatbacks for support, in case of sudden turbulence
You can be measured for thigh high compression stockings that will help prevent DVT on long flights. Some brands expand with you as you go through your pregnancy, so you can wear them throughout. Or you can use knee highs so a custom fit won’t matter.
Warm or cool clothes
If you’ve found that part of your newbie status involves a change of temperature preference, and you need either warmer or cooler clothing, stuff a second one in your carry-on in case of accidents.
Bring enough food
Though the friendly attendants would probably bring you a snack if you asked, it may not agree with you at this point in your pregnancy. Only you know what your stomach will accommodate, so make sure you have enough to last you for the duration of the flight.
Eating gas-producing foods like beans right before your flight doesn’t mean you’re the only one who will be affected. Gas expands at high altitudes and could make you (and your seat neighbor) uncomfortable. Same is true for carbonated drinks.
Staying hydrated will help everything except avoiding the bathroom. Bring a bottle with you, or bring an empty one and fill it once you’re past security. But also tell the flight attendants that you’ll need more water because you’re newly pregnant.
The bathroom’s a journey away
Pay attention to body signals and factor in travel time, or waiting time, for that teeny bathroom. If the flight attendants don’t want you to queue at the door, engage their compassion by telling them you’re newly pregnant. Ask them to hold the bathroom for you when the person comes out, and to signal when it’s your turn.
Plan for puking
If nausea gets your attention around 7 or 8 weeks, ask your healthcare provider for safe anti-nausea medication. Also tell a flight attendant that you may need to rush to the bathroom, so they understand your situation.
Insurance, hospitals, and emergencies
Get travel insurance and/or evacuation insurance (like MedJet Assist) for long trips, and know where the hospitals will be near your destination.
Traveling during your first trimester of pregnancy means you may have to explain yourself because you don’t have a bulging belly to do it for you.
And what better project to do on a flight than start writing your birth plan?
While you’re in the air is a great time to begin listing the birth preferences you already know you want, and creating a list of possible other plans for your birth that you can check out later. You could even play with making your hospital bag checklist, if you plan to give birth there.
To learn more about pregnancy tips, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: February 26, 2018 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: February, 2018