Air travel is one of the safest forms of transport that we have today, but that doesn’t make it an easy sell for all travelers. Although carrying a child can be one of the most beautiful times in a woman’s life, it can also be quite strenuous on the body—making something as simple as sitting in an airplane a challenge. Here are some tips for women who plan to fly high during the months when they are waiting for their little bundle.
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice that I could have given you, but in truth, not many people really take the time to think their trip through before they actually go on it! Depending on where you are at in your pregnancy, you may be dealing with morning sickness (also known as 24/7 sickness), a larger girth, the intense need to pee or heartburn that just won’t quit. Maybe you have all of it. The first step to successful air travel when you are with child is to understand what your body is going through right now. What can you bring to make yourself more comfortable? Are their certain snacks that you can actually keep down at the moment? Would it be easier to check everything and just carry a purse or would you feel more comfortable having all your stuff with you? Thinking about what works best for you BEFORE you leave is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Drink water and pack snacks
When you aren’t pregnant, flying can be tiresome. When you are pregnant, flying can be downright exhausting. Don’t count on the flight crew to supply you with the kinds of foods that you are craving at the moment; pack them yourself! If you have nothing else in your carry-on but your ID and 50 snack-sized Oreos packages, it’ll be worth it.
Even more important than having the right foods is drinking a ton of water. Chances are that your OB or midwife already gave you the speech about increasing your fluid intake during pregnancy, and this advice is never more crucial than when you are in the air. Dehydration is a serious risk onboard airplanes because of the ultra-low humidity levels that come with the pressurization of the cabin. Make a serious effort to down a serving of water (8oz.) per hour if you can manage it. Sodas, juices and coffees are poor substitutes for good old-fashioned H20, so drink up, and do your body a favor. Don’t be shy about asking the flight attendant for several bottles of Dasani when he comes by for your order—staying hydrated will make the trip more pleasant and you’ll feel better once you’ve touched back down on earth as well.
Grab the aisle seat
Just in case the intense need to pee every 10 minutes wasn’t already an issue you were facing during this pregnancy, I’ve just encouraged you to chug bottles of water like it’s going out of style. Do yourself and your travel companions a favor and get an aisle seat. All that water will intensify your need to run to the lavatory and having an easy exit (especially if you are farther along) will be a big help. These bathroom breaks are more than just beneficial for your bladder, however. Sitting still in a small space for long periods of time can be uncomfortable for anyone, but it can be excruciating for a pregnant woman. Even if you don’t have to pee, use the aisle seat to your advantage and get up every once in a while to stretch your legs.
Traveling by plane is a great choice for women who are pregnant and plan to travel distances that can be extremely difficult in a car or on a train. Take these tips to heart when you plan your next getaway.
Shauna Armitage is a parenting blogger, a freelance travel writer and the co-founder of Pure Wander Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @CarpeCalamus