Tips for Flying When Pregnant

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Tips for Flying When Pregnant

It may be for work or to visit family or to take a pre-baby vacation. Whatever the reason, you are likely to find yourself on an airplane at some point while pregnant. Before you fly, check out these 9 tips for flying when pregnant


Check-In With Your Doctor

If you have a low risk of preterm labor, then it is likely safe to fly up until 36 weeks.  However, if you have risk factors, your doctor may advise you to keep your feet on the ground sooner rather than later.  Make sure to talk to your doctor early about what air travel restrictions she recommends for you.

Know Your Airline’s Policy

Airlines really don’t want you going into labor while on their plane.  Therefore, they have policies about letting women who are close to their due date fly.  If you have low risk factors, your doctor may be okay with you flying up until 36 weeks, but the airline may have a different policy.  These policies also differ depending on if you are flying domestic or international.  Here are some of the policies for the major airlines.


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Stay Hydrated

The air in planes is dryer than normal; therefore, you are likely to get dehydrated more quickly.  This can happen to anyone, but when you are pregnant, being dehydrated can increase Braxton Hicks contractions, so it’s important to drink plenty of water.  Airplanes do generally provide drinks while you are on the flight.  However, turbulence can prevent service or drastically delay it.  Be prepared and grab a big bottle of water before boarding.  If you don’t want to spend the money to purchase airport water, you can bring an empty bottle through security.  Many airports have water bottle filling stations, or some restaurants will fill a bottle for you.


Plan for Lots of Bathroom Breaks

The more pregnant you are, the more baby is pushing on your bladder. You also have more blood volume during pregnancy which means more for your kidneys to filter out.  Therefore, you will likely need lots of trips to the bathroom.  This doesn’t mean you can’t still snag the window seat, but make sure you are okay with asking the person in the aisle to get up.  You may decide you are better off in the aisle.


Move Around Frequently

When you are pregnant, you have an increased risk of blood clots in your legs, also known as Deep Vein Thromboembolism (DVT). Moving around decreases your risk and sitting for many hours increases that risk.  Therefore, you want to get up and walk around at least once every hour while flying.  Getting up to go to the bathroom counts for you hourly walk.  You can also consider wearing compression socks.  These help to keep blood flowing to help prevent DVTs, and they are also helpful for keeping the annoying foot swelling at bay.  When you can’t get up and walk around (i.e. lots of turbulence), flex your feet up and down to keep the blood flowing through your legs.


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Know it May be Harder to Breathe

The air at 30,000 feet is thinner with less oxygen than the air at sea level.  When you aren’t pregnant, you probably don’t notice any difference when sitting on an airplane.  However, when you’re pregnant, it’s already harder to breath because baby is squishing your lungs.  Therefore, you notice the oxygen deficit more.  This isn’t going to cause harm, but it may make flying later in pregnancy somewhat uncomfortable.


Know the Signs of Labor

Dehydration can increase the frequency and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions which isn’t harmful but can be uncomfortable.  However, the biggest risk with flying is that you will go into preterm labor.  Therefore, it’s important to know the difference between Braxton Hicks and actual labor.


Get TSA Precheck

Taking your shoes and sweatshirt off for security is a pain when you aren’t pregnant.  When you are pregnant you want to avoid having to remove and put back on your shoes if at all possible.  TSA precheck allows you to leave your shoes and light jacket on when going through security.  It also means a shorter line.


Dress Comfortably

This isn’t the time for high heels and pants with a real waist.  Think stretchy tent dresses and leggings and supportive shoes.  Sitting in the cramped airplane seats is uncomfortable enough while pregnant, you don’t want to add to it by wearing restrictive clothing. This is definitely one thing I learned from my mistakes with. To see what else I learned, check out this post.


If you have flown while pregnant, do you have any tips I didn’t mention? If so, share them in the comments.


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Tips for Flying When Pregnant
Tips for Flying When Pregnant

12 thoughts on “Tips for Flying When Pregnant

  • December 29, 2018 at 3:16 am
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    These are all great tips for flying when pregnant! I have flown three times while pregnant. I flew to Bozeman, MT to spend time with my aunt and uncle when I was around 7 months pregnant with my daughter. The other two times were when I was this past summer when I was 4 months and then 5 months pregnant. In addition to being pregnant, I also had my 1 year old daughter with me. I made sure to drink lots of water and packed small snacks for myself because the flights to MT were long. With my current pregnancy, eating smaller things more frequently throughout the day works better for me so that is why I packed snacks. Flying is always an adventure, though, pregnant or not!

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    • December 30, 2018 at 7:29 pm
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      I’ve flown while pregnant and with a baby, but I haven’t tried doing both together. I’m sure that adds a whole new level of difficulty! I love the snacks idea. I always make sure to take snacks with me even when not pregnant because I get hangry.

      Reply
  • December 29, 2018 at 4:20 am
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    These tips are sooooo good!! I feel like I learned so much great information and great tips! Thank you for sharing!

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    • December 30, 2018 at 7:27 pm
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      Thanks! I’m glad the tips were helpful!

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  • December 30, 2018 at 1:16 pm
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    Great tips! So glad I don’t have to use any of them. Staying hydrated is so key!!

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    • December 30, 2018 at 7:26 pm
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      Thanks! I flew a lot while I was pregnant and definitely learned to guzzle water and what happened when I didn’t!

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  • January 1, 2019 at 11:33 pm
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    I am so thankful I didn’t need to do any traveling by airplane while I was pregnant! I don’t think I would have made it.

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    • January 2, 2019 at 2:09 am
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      It definitely added to the pregnancy discomfort!

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  • January 4, 2019 at 2:10 am
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    Great post! I had to fly to Japan when I was pregnant and that was really tough. I had to sit in the middle so I informed the passenger on the aisle that I was pregnant and would need to get up frequently to use the bathroom. Thankfully he was super sweet and was understanding. I also informed the flight attendants and they gave me extra snacks during the flight!

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    • January 11, 2019 at 5:29 pm
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      A flight that long would be really hard, especially in the middle seat!

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  • January 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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    I am so grateful I never had to fly while pregnant. We did a long road trip, and I very much followed the advice you suggested here. Thankfully, having to pee all the time creates the perfect opportunity to move often!

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    • January 11, 2019 at 5:29 pm
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      That definitely helps with the movement!

      Reply

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