Traveling While Pregnant: Flying While Pregnant

This is the fourth post in a series about traveling while pregnant. The first post was about timing your trip and the second was about questions to ask your doctor before you go, the third covered what to pack for your babymoon

Very pregnant at LEGOLAND
Very pregnant at LEGOLAND

Before You Go
Before you leave on any long flight, it is important to consult your doctor and get his or her best advice about how to fly safely. He or she may want you to wear supportive hose, take a baby aspirin or do special exercises to avoid blood clots. Your doctor may also have special advice or disallow travel in small planes with unpressurized cabins. It is useful to get a doctor's note stating your due date and his or her opinion that it is safe for you to travel in case there are any questions during your trip.

You should also check airline policy on each airline (including any subsidiaries or codeshares run by a different airline) regarding flying while pregnant. Some airlines do not restrict travel at all while others may require a doctor's note or may not allow pregnant travelers to travel close to their due date. If you are traveling very close to the cutoff date, you might want to bring along a printed copy of the written airline policy as well.

You will be most comfortable in an aisle seat (preferably in the bulkhead) and should request one when you purchase your ticket. If no aisle seats are available, you may be able to arrange an aisle seat when you check in at your gate.

What To Bring

In addition to whatever you would normally pack in your carryon bag you might want to bring along a few extra comforts:

  • Bring healthy, filling snacks. Even a short flight might be delayed, and you'll probably want to avoid overdoing on the salty or sweet snacks served onboard.
  • Bring an inflatable pillow or small blanket (a shawl also works well) that you can use to support your back. If the plane is cold, you can also use the blanket or shawl to help you deal with varying temperatures
  • Buy extra water in the airport (some flights stock only a small amount of bottled water) or, to save money, pack an empty water bottle and fill it after you clear security.

Day of Flight

You've planned, you've packed, now there are a few steps you can take to make the flight itself go smoothly:

  • Plan to arrive at the airport early to avoid making a last minute rush to a distant gate.
  • Stretch before getting on the plane
  • If possible, get out of your seat to walk up and down the aisles every half-hour or so. If you must remain seated, flex and extend or circle your ankles (being careful not to give yourself leg cramps)
  • Drink lots of water. It is easy to get dehydrated on a long flight.
Related Links
Traveling While Pregnant: Timing Your Trip
Traveling While Pregnant: Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Traveling While Pregnant: Babymoon Packing List"

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  1. Bridget Smith on May 21, 2009 at 4:29 p.m.

    My tip in this area: avoid helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon. What started as a romantic adventure planned by my husband, ended up with the worst and only case of air sickness I ever had!

  2. Jon on November 5, 2014 at 5:46 p.m.

    Permission to feature blog articles in Travel Magazine FlyMe360

    Hi Debbie,

    We are currently setting up a new online Asian travel magazine called
    Flyme360 and would like your permission to feature some of your blog
    posts/photos in our monthly magazine. Whichever article selected to be
    used in our magazine, we will acknowledge you as the author and the source
    of which the article is taken from. This is a great opportunity to further
    enhance your name and reputation as a blog writer/photographer and more.
    We look forward to your favourable reply and wish to have the opportunity
    to work with you more closely in the near future. Thank you.

    Best Regards,

    Jon Goh