You’re past the nausea and newness, you have more energy again, your miscarriage risk is low, and your bump isn’t so big that you have to constantly negotiate with it. So, if you’re free of significant health issues or pregnancy complications, your second trimester (14-28 weeks) could be best for flying while pregnant.
Some conditions that may prohibit flying are:
- Severe anemia
- Cardiac disease
- Respiratory disease
- Recent hemorrhage
- Current or recent bone fractures
- Multiple fetuses
Every woman is different, as is every pregnancy, so take the steps that will make your flight as comfortable and safe as possible – for you, the flight attendants, and your neighbors on the flight.
Second Trimester Tips
Talk to your care provider
Let them know far in advance of your plans to travel, and to where. Some places require specific vaccines, so ask your doctor or midwife if those vaccines are safe for you in mid-pregnancy. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) website allows you to search— according to location—for the vaccines required and it also addresses what pregnant women should do.
If you’ve had pregnancy problems with this or previous pregnancies, be sure to talk this over with your care provider. If you don’t, it could invalidate your travel insurance, should an event arise.
Get a recommendation
Ask your doctor or midwife if they can recommend a practitioner in the area you’ll be traveling to. As well, get a pre-travel health evaluation from your midwife or doctor so that, if you need prenatal care while you’re gone, you have your most recent health status. You can also check here for check here for practitioners where you’ll be
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Find an Ob-Gyn
Web site: acog.org/About_ACOG/Find_an_Ob-Gyn
- American Medical Association DoctorFinder
- International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers
Bring what you need
Along with your passport, travel insurance, and pre-travel health evaluation, make sure you bring copies of your medical records. Some airlines will ask for these. Also, remember any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you may need, including
- prenatal vitamins
- pain relievers
- hemorrhoid ointment
- first aid kit
An aisle seat is your friend, for so many reasons. Try to book early enough to get one so bathroom breaks, circulation walks, and maybe some stretches won’t mean you have to drag your baby belly across other row mates.
Check with the airline
Every airline has their own rules, so be clear what those are for your chosen carrier. Some will restrict women at different stages of pregnancy, depending on the access to medical care in the destination location.
Have no fear
As an occasional flyer, airport security scanners are perfectly safe for your baby. They emit a very low amount of radiation (1 microsieverts [mSv] compared to the 500,000 microsieverts required to harm a developing baby). Flight attendants, pilots, and others that fly frequently can check their exposure level at http://jag.cami.jccbi.gov/cariprofile.asp .
Your seatbelt should be fastened under your abdomen, across your thighs.
Wear non-restrictive clothing, especially for long journeys. Compression stockings can be custom-made for you so they reach your thigh. But if that doesn’t work for you, there are knee-high ones.
Remember to get up and walk at least every 1-2 hours, to promote circulation and prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Stretching your calves while sitting also moves blood and lymph from your legs up to your heart.
Take a drink
Stay hydrated by drinking water. Airplane cabins have little humidity, which promotes dehydration. Your comfort and health are best when you have enough water in your body.
Your energy needs are much bigger during pregnancy, so be sure you have snacks with you, even if the airline offers them. Or, if you’re in love with peanuts or tiny pretzels, explain that you’re pregnant and could you please have 105 more bags.
Before and during your flight, avoid eating and drinking things that make, or contain, gas. Carbonated drinks fit into this category, as do classic foods like beans. The effect of high altitude makes gas expand, which could give you stomach pains.
You’re into the “oppressed bladder” stage of pregnancy and your need for bathroom breaks means you’ll have to traverse the very narrow airplane aisle to get there. Be sure to use seatback to make sure you don’t stumble or fall if the plane suddenly hits turbulence. Get assistance from flight attendants to save the bathroom for you once the previous passenger is out, so you don’t have to stand in line.
One of the biggest effects of travel at any time in our lives is that it can make us see life differently. That could be great for your birth plan because the new circumstances could give you a new perspective on your birth preferences. A long flight is a good time to jot notes or questions that come up and could influence your final birth plan, what you put on your hospital bag checklist, and who’s doing what during your baby’s birth.
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