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Pregnancy and Air Travel: How to Fly Safely and Comfortably

December 10, 2012

4441608637_aa4bcd2e3c_zWhile many of us host family members in our homes for the holidays, or are lucky enough to visit extended family nearby, some of us must endure the yearly ritual of air travel when December hits. And when you’re pregnant, those flights, whether long or short, become just a bit more complicated.

Generally speaking, if you’re healthy and if your pregnancy is before the 36th week, most doctors will clear you for air travel. You may want to get a note from your doctor confirming how far along you are and verifying your overall health, in order to avoid any issues when checking in at the airport. Some airlines have policies against pregnant women flying within 30 days of their due date, so if you are visibly pregnant, a note will dispel any concerned questions you may get from airline personnel.

And before boarding the plane, make sure you’re armed with the items you need to get through the flight comfortably. Wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your movement and is loose and lightweight. An elastic waistband may not be glamorous, but it is your friend on a six hour flight. Wear shoes that have stretchy panels (like sneakers) and are easily removable, as your feet may swell during the flight.

Bring any snacks you need to stave off hunger, low blood sugar, or nausea. If you’re suffering from morning sickness, ask your doctor if there are any over-the-counter remedies, like Dramamine or Benadryl, that will limit the effect of motion sickness on your already unsettled tummy. And once you’re past security, buy the biggest bottle of water you can find! Those sporadic glasses of water or soda served on the flight are not sufficient for hydration in a pressurized cabin over the course of a long flight, so bring your own!

When you book your flight, make sure to snag an aisle seat. If none are available, ask at the gate if you can switch with another passenger. With the frequent bathroom breaks, possible nausea, and achy limbs of pregnancy, you’ll be grateful for an easy escape route to the bathroom and direct access to the aisle for stretching and walking. It’s recommended to stand up a couple of times each hour to walk up and down the aisle, take some deep breaths, and stretch your back and legs.

And while this may seem like overkill, take with you your prenatal chart and a list of hospitals or urgent care clinics at your destination. Just in case you have any unusual symptoms or funny feelings while you’re out of town, you’ll be happy to have easy access to healthcare.

Will you be traveling this holiday season? Where are you going and how long is your flight? If you’ve got any tips we’ve missed, let us know in the comments!

 

Photography courtesy of Flickr.

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