Pregnancy & Travel
16 Tips for Flying Pregnant
If you're a traveler and pregnant like me, keep reading...
I'm just about seven months pregnant, and I've been traveling nonstop since I conceived. One of the most popular questions or concerns I receive is around the topic of flying pregnant. In the video below, I share 16 Tips for Flying Pregnant, so you can have the best flight with that beautiful bump. If you prefer to read than watch, scroll past the video and you can read my tips and hacks below.
1) Upgrade Your Seat
Upgrading your seat doesn't necessarily mean you need an extra $10,000 dollars laying around. It also doesn't necessarily mean upgrading to first or business class either. Upgrading to something called "Economy Plus" or "Economy Comfort" can make a world of a difference, especially when you're flying pregnant. Economy Plus does not cost nearly as much as a business or first class ticket, but it does give you extra leg room and recline in your chair. Having the extra room to move around and stretch out your legs feels so good. When it comes to price, Economy Plus is budget friendly. To give you an example, I recently flew from Toronto to Japan with a layover in Amsterdam and my upgrade from Toronto to Amsterdam was about $40 -$50. From Amsterdam to Japan it cost me around $70 to upgrade. That's just over $100 to have this extra comfort.
2) Choose an Aisle Seat
Choosing your seat ahead of time may cost you extra, but it's worth it if you're flying pregnant, especially long haul. I highly recommend choosing an aisle seat. When you're pregnant you pee a lot. I'm sure you know this by now. Choosing an aisle seat gives you the freedom of getting up to use the restroom as often as you like without having to ask the person beside you to get out of their seat. Also, it's good to get up and stretch, which I'll share more about in another tip below.
BONUS: A little airplane travel hack for you. The armrest in the aisle seat actually goes up. There's like a little trigger underneath that when you click allows you to lift the armrest. Not many people know about that but now you do.
3) Head to the Airport Earlier
Give yourself some extra time than you usually would to check in and go through security. The last thing you wanna feel is in a rush. It's much better to feel relaxed to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
4) Tell the Check In Agent You're Pregnant
If you're checking a bag and printing your boarding passes at the airport, tell the person checking you in that you're pregnant. You might get lucky. If there is extra room in the other class seats, you might get upgraded, especially if they see that cute bump of yours.
5) Opting Out at Security Check Point
This next one, many people actually don't know they can do, and you don't have to be pregnant to do it either. It's a little something called opting out. When you're going through security at the airport, you can choose to opt out which means you don't have to go through the metal detector or x-ray machine. You know that machine where you put your hands up and it does the scan of your body? Yeah, you can get out of that. Instead, you'll get a physical pat down by the same sex.
6) Join the Priority Boarding Line
Oh, priority boarding, how I love thee! You know when you're flight is boarding, there's a huge lineup and you're boarding pass reads "zone five," well, it doesn't matter when you're flying pregnant because you're a priority. When the agents call priority boarding, first and business class people to come on up, that means you. When you're pregnant you get to go to the front of the line and who doesn't like to go to the front of the line?
7) Pack Lots and Lots of Snacks!
Packing a bag full of snacks is essential! I always bring a ridiculous amount of snacks. My husband comments on it every time, but I'm not ashamed. He's like, "Do ya think you have enough snacks?" and I'm like, "Uhh...no. There's never a time when I have too many snacks." This is especially true if you have dietary restrictions. Add the fact that you're pregnant, and it's nice to have your own bag of edible goodies available to you at all time.
8) Try and Pack As Light As Possible
Learn how to pack light because the last thing you want is to be lugging around a heavy bag or suitcase while you're pregnant. Even if you do pack light, don't be afraid to ask for help especially when lifting your bag and putting it in the overhead. There are many passengers on the flight that would be happy to help you and your adorable bump.
FYI, I've asked flight attendants for help, and they've refused because it was against their policy. Something about liability and if they got hurt lifting, it would be an issue. This isn't with every airline, but something to keep in mind.
10) Tell the Flight Attendant Your Pregnant
When you get on your flight, if they can't already see that you're pregnant, tell the flight attendants that you are expecting. Every time that I've done this, I've been treated with extra kindness. I've been brought extra water and pillows. I even received a postcard and keychain on my last flight with KLM telling me that they wish me nothing but the best of luck on my new adventure.
11) Wear Compression Socks to Prevent Clots
I only recently bought a pair of compression socks upon finding out I was pregnant. What are they? Compression socks are special socks that are fairly expensive but a really good thing to have when you're pregnant and flying. You also don't have to be pregnant to use and benefit from them. I know many non-pregnant travellers who use them religiously. However, when you are flying pregnant, you're more prone to blood clots and wearing compression socks keeps your circulation flowing.
12) Be As Comfortable as Possible and Wear Loose Clothing
Skip the jeans and wire bras. Wear loose clothing when you fly. Heck, wear your unicorn onesie if you really wanna go all out. You may get a few odd stares from people but only because they are jealous since they know you're the most comfortable person on the flight.
13) Get Off Your Butt and Exercise
It doesn't matter how ridiculous you look, it's important to move your body when you fly. Yes, people will look and some might think you're a little odd but who cares because it's good for you! It's super important for everyone to get up during a flight every once in a while to get the blood flowing, but when you're pregnant, it's extra important in order to prevent blood blots. I typically get up every hour and do my exercises. I do squats down the aisle along with leg and arm stretches. I move my feet up and down and in a circular motion. If you're lucky to be on a flight with stairs, you can use those to walk up and down a few times.
14) Get that H20 Flowing Through You
It is important for everyone to stay extra hydrated when they're flying, but is especially important for pregnant women. As you probably know if you're pregnant, we get extra thirsty. When you're flying, you get even more thirsty, and it's good to keep hydrated to help with circulation, prevent bladder infections and early contractions. Avoid caffeinated drinks and anything that's extra sugary. Stick to water and some juices.
15) Give Yourself a Massage
Give that belly of yours a nice massage. Also, don't forget your feet, arms, legs and hands. Just pamper yourself! It's good to massage yourself when you're on a flight for several reasons: it feels good, passes time, is great for circulation and reduced swelling.
16) Make Sure You Can Fly
Every woman is different. Every pregnancy is different. So, it's important to talk to your doctor or your midwives ahead of time to tell them your travel plans and make sure you're able to fly. Also check with the airlines to make sure you can fly pregnant because most won't let you once you're 36 weeks or more along in your pregnancy (32 weeks if you're having twins). Last thing that they want, and probably you want, is to give birth on a plane. Sounds like a horror movie.
BONUS: If you're traveling internationally whether it's by car, flight or train, make sure your travel insurance covers you. Some insurance companies will only cover you up to a certain point during your pregnancy. Usually it's up to 8 weeks before your birthing date. So, make sure you check in with your travel insurance to see that you're covered.
Have you flown during your pregnancy?
Share a tip or two of your own in the comment section below.
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.