Top 10 Tips for Flying While Pregnant

In December I wrote a post with 10 travel tips for flying with babies. At the time, a few of you asked if I had any tips for flying while pregnant. I do! And so did some other very helpful people on the 4 kids, 20 suitcases Facebook page. I couldn’t fit them all in, so if you are pregnant and about to travel, go take a look, a few of them are hysterical.
I’ve stepped onto many planes in various stages of pregnancy. Thankfully I didn’t end up with a birth story involving gripping my tray table while making a decision over the chicken or the beef, before bearing down for one last big push. But I did pick up a few tips along the way.
1.  Always have a “fit to fly” letter from your doctor.
Each airline will have their own idea on how pregnant is too pregnant to fly. It may also depend on the length of your flight. A short 45 minute flight may allow a woman of 38 weeks pregnant to travel, whereas a long haul flight usually has a cut off at 34 to 36 weeks. Every airline will have their own specifications. That being said, if you look remotely pregnant, make an assumption that you’re going to be asked for a “fit to fly” letter from your doctor. By pregnancy number four, my body just assumed the position. The gig was up. I was always asked for proof. Make sure your letter is written within a seven day period of your flight’s departure. You’ll also need an additional letter for the return flight if you’re away for longer than the seven days. And just to be safe, have the contact details of your doctor stored into your phone. It’s always good to have back up.
2.  Double check your medical insurance. 
Will you be making a stop-over on the way to your destination? I met a woman in Jakarta, who was on her way to San Francisco from Australia. Well she would have been, had she not gone into labour only hours after leaving Sydney. You may not go into labour, but you may end up needing a doctor or specialist care. Make sure your covered wherever you are.
3.  Seating arrangements. 
Two words. Seat Guru. Type in your Airline and flight number, and Seat Guru will show you how your plane is set up. I know there are some people who don’t like the bulk head because the arm rests cannot be raised, but I love the extra leg room. If you’re usually a lover of the window seat, you may want to change to the aisle while you’re pregnant. This will save you doing the baby bump with your fellow travellers when you head out to the bathroom for what feels like the ninety ninth time. 
4.  Get drinking.
Oh how I wish I was talking about a nice glass of bubbles or a gin and tonic. Alas no, it’s all about staying rehydrated. Take your own water bottle. You can either ask the staff to fill it for you, or just ask them to direct you to where you can do it yourself. It’s a great excuse to get up and go for a walk. Which brings me to number 5.
5.  Keep moving.
Remember to get up and walk. Pregnancy increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis, so set yourself half hourly reminders to either do exercises in your chair or get up for a walk. If you’re drinking enough water, you won’t need to remind yourself, your bladder will do it for you.
6.  Compression socks 
Be sure to buy yourself some compression socks or stockings. Test them out before you head to the airport, if they’re too small you may be in for an uncomfortable trip. Pick comfortable shoes that aren’t too tight, or you may never get them back on again once you’ve take them off.
7.  Pass me the paper bag
Travel has been known to make pregnant women feel nauseous, so think about packing your own snacks. Fruit, nuts, or crackers may help. If you’re finding you’re more sensitive to smells, find a light fragrance that doesn’t make you feel ill and dab it into a face washer. You can keep it nearby when the chicken tandoori makes its way past you on the food trolley.

8. Don’t be so quick to board.
I’m married to an early boarder, which can add an extra 30 to 45 minutes onto the journey. If you’re safely in the lounge and next to the gate, don’t rush onto the plane. Use the time to stretch your legs, just don’t wander off and miss your flight.
9. Dress for the occasion.
It’s all about layering. In the words of Katy Perry, you’re hot and you’re cold. Your departure, your flight, and your destination are all going to vary in temperature. Make sure your clothes are layered to allow you to disrobe when required. A pashmina or scarf is a traveller’s best friend.
10.  Milk it. And I don’t mean lactate.
There’s not a lot of glamour when it comes to travelling while pregnant. And there’s not harm in asking for help. If you’re uncomfortable, hungry or completely squished, let someone know. They may be able to help with the right amount of charm. Arrive nice and early if you plan to plead your case for space. Casually mentioning that you got stuck in the doors of the economy toilets may give you a free pass to use the business class amenities. Stranger things have happened. 
Finally, enjoy your last flight as a solo passenger. Watch every movie, enjoy the warmth of your meal and the length of time you can spend eating it. Take a nice leisurely stroll to the bathroom by yourself, it may be awhile before you’re travelling solo again. 
And if you are pregnant, I’m so excited for you! And just a little bit jealous, but so excited! 

Have I missed anything crucial? Anyone have any other tips to share?

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