Leaving on a Jet Plane…

By Nicole Irving, Publisher and Editor-In-Chief

That last getaway before baby comes can be very much needed. Worrying about the birth, the nursery, breastfeeding, which pacifier he or she will want and who will be in the birthing room can be enough to make you want to run away to any hotel and stay for a while.

If your travel plans take you on a plane, there are a few things you should consider before boarding. Traveling via plane while pregnant is overall safe and allowed by both airlines and doctors. However, there are times when it can be potentially harmful for you or the baby. Checking with your doctor before you travel, especially before flying, is HIGHLY recommended. If your doctor clears you or travel via plane, you still may have some needed steps to take per the airlines policy before you can get on that plane.

For instance, Virgin Australia requires women 28 weeks pregnant or more to carry a letter from their doctor or midwife written within 10 days of traveling. The letter must include the due date, whether you are having multiples, whether you have any complications and what your fitness level for travel is.

Getting ready for the flight starts at home. When packing, make sure to pack light, especially your carry-on bag. There is no need to stress out your body. Carrying multiple bags will slowly get heavy. Wear comfortable and weather appropriate clothes, keeping in mind how your body feels in climate changes. Ultimately, dress accordingly to sit and wait, stand in line and sit on a plane. Although stylish, heels are not recommended, especially if you have a layover and may need to walk to a different terminal. Most importantly, make sure you stay hydrated and check restrictions regarding boarding a plane with any food/drinks. Eat a healthy meal prior to departure and avoid salty snacks. If taking a longer flight, make sure to get up and stretch a few times. Prior to boarding the plane, make sure that you have your ID, passport, ticket and any other needed documentation readily available and easy to access so you don’t have to strain to find them. Make it as easy as you can for yourself.

If you are going to fly while pregnant, here are some recommendations to follow before booking your flight:

1. Schedule flights in your second trimester, if possible. This is the perfect time because it is after the first trimester morning sickness phase and before the “too close to due date” phase.

2. Check the airlines policies, as each airline has their own terms for pregnant women. They also may require a letter from your doctor, which you will need to carry with you.

3. If this is not your first pregnancy, think back to how you felt during your last and try to remember when you started to feel uncomfortable or if you had problems in a specific month. Keep this in mind when scheduling any flights.

4. Be honest with your doctor and the airline. Don’t try to downplay any health complications or problems just to get on the flight. It isn’t worth it.

5. Don’t travel alone. If you can, bring someone with you.

6. Keep in mind that you will be on a plane with small spaces, small seats and a small bathroom. If that will make you uncomfortable, postpone flying.

7. Check with your doctor to see if you need any immunizations for your travel destination and if you can get them while pregnant.