Are you planning on flying while pregnant? Here is everything you need to know for a stress-free flight!
Flying When Pregnant
I don’t particularly enjoy flying anytime…but I ESPECIALLY don’t like doing it while I’m pregnant.
This last summer, we traveled by plane a few times – and some legs of the trips were better than others.
I was reminded of the importance of taking it slow, making sure you are comfortable and being prepared for any situation.
With the holidays coming up, I am sure there are MANY pregnant ladies getting ready to fly, so I hope that this post will provide some helpful information to make your flying experience a little less miserable.
But first, a couple FAQs:
Can Pregnant Women Fly?
I mean, can anyone fly?
Okay, that was a lame joke. Yes, pregnant women can fly in an airplane.
You should always discuss travel plans with your care provider, but assuming you have no major complications or issues, there should be no issues flying during your pregnancy.
How Many Weeks Pregnant Can You Fly?
There does come a point in your pregnancy where airlines won’t let you fly, and quite frankly, it wouldn’t be smart!
I mean, I went into labor unexpectedly at 37 weeks – what if I’d been flying because I thought I still had three weeks left?!
The general recommendation is to stop flying after 36 weeks of pregnant. All airlines have different policies, so make sure you check these before your book your flight.
Tips on Flying While pregnant
Okay, if you are only going to be flying once and don’t plan to fly much over the next few years, then this *might* not be worth it to you.
However, I fly several times a year, so last December, Forrest and I decided to get TSA Pre-Check. It was the BEST decision – this was even before I got pregnant, but I was so grateful I had it when I was pregnant (not to mention with kiddos).
It is $75 for four years, and you have to go and apply in person. The whole process took about 15 minutes. They told us it would take about a month to hear back, but we were both approved within about a week.
Basically, this allows you to skip most of the security line, not have to take off your shoes, and just make the security part of flying SO MUCH EASIER.
I have used it quite a few times, and not only has it helped us not miss some flights, but the longest we’ve had to wait was *maybe* five minutes – if that. And this was during peak travel times (such as the day after Christmas).
It was SO nice when I was pregnant not having to stand in line very long, lean over to take off my shoes or feel like I had to be at the airport WAY earlier than necessary.
If you are going to be traveling at all (via car or plane) while pregnant, make sure you invest in compression socks.
I never swell when I’m pregnant unless I’m traveling and compression socks can help greatly reduce that.
Flying already increases the risk of blood clots, and the risk is even higher in pregnant women. Compression socks help reduce the risk of blood clots!
They sure aren’t fashionable or even very comfortable, but they can help you feel better in the long run. I hate when I am done traveling, and I look down at my feet and they are like sausages!
Get an Aisle Seat
One a few of my flights, I splurged and paid for Southwest’s Early Bird Check-in so I could for sure get an aisle seat.
This was so worth it to me. On my flight back from North Carolina, I was flying with my family, and since families board before the B boarding group, I didn’t think it was necessary.
Ideally, my boys would have sat next to each other, and I could have sat on the aisle. Unfortunately, World War III about broke out when they realized one of them might not sit by the window, so Forrest and I split up and, and I was in a middle seat.
It was THE most miserable flight ever. I was sick the whole time, there was tons of turbulence so I couldn’t get up, and I was starving. This was shortly before I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, and all the snacks I had were super carb-heavy, which made me even sicker by the time I got off the plane.
You want to be able to get up at any time without having to climb over anyone. It’s not a big deal to ask someone to get up and let you out, but it’s a lot easier if you don’t have to – especially if you are battling sickness. I felt so claustrophobic in the middle. As soon as I got off the plane, I ran to the bathroom and threw up.
Throw Up Bag
Airlines typically supply a throw-up bag in the backseat pocket, however, I’ve been on a bunch of flights where these weren’t there.
The flight back from North Carolina was one of them. So I would suggest bringing your own – even if you haven’t had morning sickness, being on a plane can make someone who isn’t even pregnant sick…and you are definitely a lot more likely to get nauseated on the flight when you are!
Bring Healthy Snacks
Most airlines don’t provide snacks anymore, and when they do, they are crackers or small cookies. Definitely not ideal for keeping your tummy full.
Buying snacks at the airport tends to be rather pricey as well, so I would just suggest bringing along your own in your carry-on. Don’t follow my example of bringing carb-heavy items either; make sure they are balanced with fat and protein.
This list of snacks for breastfeeding moms is also a great resource for pregnant mamas.
Make yourself as comfortable as you possibly can be. I’m sure some people would be appalled that I looked like I just rolled out of bed with my clothes…but I was comfortable and really didn’t care what anyone thought!
I got these super comfortable pants from Costco, and I practically lived in them my entire pregnancy – along with some comfy t-shirts. I love the pregnancy t-shirts from Simply Sage Market (and honestly, all their graphic tees are amazing!). You can get 25% off with the code CLARKS25.
Also, make sure you wear comfortable shoes that don’t have a history of swelling your feet. Skechers Go Walk are my very favorite. So comfortable and easy to put on.
Lots of water
Don’t count on the flight attendant being able to bring you water during the flight. Those cups are rather small, and you never know if you’ll be on a flight where drink service is discontinued because of turbulence.
Bring an empty, large water bottle with you through security, and then fill it up right before you get on the airplane. I forgot to fill mine once, and it was a disaster. We didn’t get drinks on the plane, which resulted in Oliver crying and crying because he was thirsty, and I was SO thirsty, too!
The low humidity in an airplane can also lead to dehydration. Pregnant women are already at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated, so drink up!
Walk around a lot
There’s a lot of sitting on the airplane and airport, so take whatever opportunity you have to get up and walk around so you can prevent swelling and blood clots.
Before I got on any flight, I took a lap around the terminal. It helped a lot, especially before a long flight.
When you are on the airplane, get up and walk around every hour if you can. Just a lap up and down an aisle should be sufficient!
Be prepared to be sensitive
Sensitive in all definitions of the word – you will likely be more sensitive to smells – even things that don’t necessarily smell bad can really be triggering in a confined space.
If you’re like me, you’ll be more sensitive to anything frustrating or annoying. I had a few experiences when I was flying where I about burst into tears because I was so frustrated. Being pregnant just made everything about 1000x times worse.
And you’ll likely be more sensitive to turbulence!
Something to sit on
Those airport and airplane seats are really not very comfortable! Bringing some kind of pillow to sit on can be really helpful. I would also recommend a neck pillow. I really wish I had one of these!
If you have found your belly has gotten too big for a traditional seatbelt, you can request a seatbelt extender from the airline. I would look up the rules and availability of these before you get on board, though.
We only fly Southwest. They tend to have reasonable fares, I love the family boarding policy, and it’s so nice that you can bring on a carry on AND a personal item at no extra cost. You will likely have a few more items than usual being pregnant, so not having to pay for a carry on is helpful.
I find them to be pretty helpful and reasonable, too. We have a couple of Southwest credit cards that we use to rack up the points! If you are in need of a new credit card, this would be a great time to get one. Through our referral link, you can earn 40,000 points when you spend $1000 in the first three months.