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How to fly comfortably while pregnant

Being pregnant for 40 weeks is a long time to avoid traveling, especially for someone like me who enjoys getting out of town. However, being pregnant does present some challanges while you are traveling. Through research and trial and error, I have some tips for all of you preggo ladies who would like to travel.

First Trimester

The first trip that I took was in my first trimester. I was sick a good portion of this time and was wondering “how will I ever get on an airplane”. However, I had an amazing conference to go to. So, I took a deep breath and got on the plane. To make the trip comfortable, I followed all the tips from my flying comfortably post and I added a few additional things:

  • Drink plenty of water – Staying hydrated was key for me to avoid feeling light headed during the flight. This means bring a beverage and don’t be afraid to ask the flight attendnt for water before take off.
  • Eat something small before hand – For me the key to calming my stomach was to always have something light in it. Eat something light just before your flight.
  • Have a snack on the flight – Again keeping something in my stomach was the only way I could keep it calm. However, you don’t know when the airplane snacks will come, so bring your own and throw in some preggie pops to suck on as well.
  • Use a Belly Band – I purchased a Belly Band by Belly Armor to wear during the flight. This band helps to block any radiation from security check points and being in the air. As a bonus, it also allows you to unbutton your pants without anyone knowing. One note is that it will set off the metal detector, so allot time for a pat down.
  • Don’t wear pants – Wearing pants was a mistake I made. Sitting in a confined space with a slightly bigger stomach means you get uncomfortable faster. For me, I was so confined that my baby actually began to push back on my flight home, creating the first time I felt “quickening” or my baby kicking. He was saying “Mommy, you are squishing me!” So I would recommend a loose skirt or dress.

Second Trimester

In my second trimester, I had thankfully lost the tummy issues and was feeling great, maybe too great. I felt like I could fly like a non-pregnant person. Thankfully, this was also the first time that I was really showing when I traveled. Showing a little has many perks. People start to notice and help you, a lot. Even with the help, there are still a few additional tips:

  • Assure you have a back pillow – Even though I did not have back pain, the added weight in a crazy small and uncomfortable seat warrants the extra support.
  • Get an aisle seat – I am a “window seat for life” person. I like having what I percieve to be the extra “personal space”. However, having to get up constantly to go to the bathroom, I should have gotten an aisle seat.
  • Ask for help – As a mentioned, I might have felt too good at this point. Being pregnant puts an extra load on your body, and if you feel good you might not acknowledge this extra load. As a “I do not check bags unless I have to” person, I carried on my luggage. However, the extra weight made it quite difficult to get my bag in the overhead bin. Thankfully, the gentleman behind me kindly scolded me and placed my bag in the overhead bin. He then told me he would be back to get it down after the flight.
  • Plan to rest – Feeling great made me over do it. I acted like I was not pregnant and, as a result, I got home exhausted. Rest throughout your trip and hopefully avoid some lingering drowsiness.

Third Trimester

Why yes, I pushed it! I flew in the begining of my third trimester, right at 30 weeks. My previous trips were to cities inland and I was missing the beach. Becuase of Zika, I ended up flying from Atlanta to LA to seak out a beach. The trip was wonderful and relaxing – I love the beach and needed to feel the sea breeze. However, the flight was on the difficult side. In addition to the above:

  • Check your luggage – I learned from my second trimester trip and checked my luggage. Checking my bag was a blessing. Less to haul in the airport and no worries of putting anything in the overhead bin.
  • Board early with those needing extra time – You will need extra time. They can see the belly, so go ahead and board early. This gives you time to waddle down the aisle, settle in your seat and avoid standing for a long time in the jetway.
  • Ask for water – I mentioned hydration above, but in your third trimester you need hydration. Flight attendants will bring you a bottle of water before take-off, even if you are not in first class. Additionally, bring an empty water bottle so you can fill it up with water in the airport, on the plane and really everywhere you go.
  • Remove your wedding rings – If you have not already, remove your rings before ¬†your flight. Chances are you will swell a bit, and you don’t want to worry about your rings.
  • Wear compression socks – Pregnant womean can be more prone to circulation issues and blood clots. Compression socks help to prevent fluid from settling in your limbs.
  • Get up – Since you will probubly have to go to the bathroom during the flight, getting up won’t be hard, but make sure to get up, stretch and move around. Movement helps prevent circulation issues.
  • Put everything on wheels – I typically depend on my suitcase to wheel my shoulder bag around the airport, With a checked bag, I bought a little travel dolly for my bag and it worked like a charm to avoid me having to carry anything.
  • Get a foot hamock – maybe – The foot hammock was the one potentially gimmicky purchase for my trip. Did it work? Kind of. I was able to successfully get my feet off the ground and supported. This was good because I am short and can’t really reach the floor in an airplane seat (sad, I know). However, the hope of being able to elevate my feet in front of me on the plane did not come to fruition. The airplane seats were too close to each other.

With these tips, I can say you can travel comfortably while pregnant, it just takes a little preparation. Of course, always ask your doctor or midwife first and check with the airline/cruiseline about their pregnancy travel policy, as many have restrictions and require a doctors note.

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