7 Tips for a Safe Flight for Pregnant Women

For most people, pregnancy entails complete rest and bye-bye to outdoor activities. Thankfully, science and technology has surely made life easier and busted some myths about pregnancy. Gone are the days when travelling meant weeks of travel, delayed letters and constant tension? Pregnant women can easily hop on a flight, keep everyone updated about their health AND have a great trip abroad!

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Is it Safe to Travel in Flight During Pregnancy?

Flight is among the safest mode to travel during pregnancy, given its a short flight and not too frequent. In fact, flying around the second trimester is fairly common as by then most women are past their morning sickness and their bellies aren't large enough to discomfort them.

Travel During Pregnancy

However, you should have a clear note from your doctor stating that you're fit to travel. Several airlines discourage travel after 32-36 weeks. This can be tricky as some travel insurance companies in India don't cover injury or sickness due to pregnancy caused within 26 weeks of the due date. However, if you’re in good health and need to go on a quick vacation, you can easily plan a great trip with some research, care and preparation.

7 Essentials for Flight Travel During Pregnancy

The internet is full of wisdom when it comes to expecting mothers and how they should behave. However, we have curated some of the most practical pregnancy care tips during a flight so that you don’t have to look too far:

1. Pick the Right Destination

This is the most important thing to do if you’re going on a vacation or a ‘babymoon’ before your little one arrives. We know travelling de-stresses many of us but pregnancy demands ample rest and precautions while you decide to leave the safety of your home.

Because of the flight duration and air pressure, it can affect your health if you go for long-haul flights. Try not to travel too far as sitting for too long can cause blood clotting or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Pick places within three or four hour flight range. Some of these are Nepal, Seychelles, Thailand, Maldives, Dubai, Oman and Malaysia.

Picking a short flight will save you long transfers or waiting at the airport. Make sure your itinerary is relaxed and you have plenty of time to enjoy your trip. Avoid going to places where active vaccinations may be required during pregnancy, especially areas where you have a higher risk of being infected by malaria, zika or dengue.

2. Check if You're Medically Fit to Travel

As stated earlier, it’s perfectly safe to take a flight if your doctor says so. However, here are a few conditions when you shouldn’t be taking a flight during pregnancy:

Safe Flight for Pregnant Women

  • If you have had miscarriages or premature labour previously
  • If you suffer from high blood pressure and you're planning to travel high altitudes (above 12,000 feet)
  • If you plan to travel to areas with serious disease outbreaks and requires live virus vaccines
  • If you're travelling frequently on business and have increased exposure to radiations
  • If your doctor has strictly asked you not to travel

Ideally, most mommy-to-be find 13-26 week a good time to travel as it is considered a safe period by the doctors. However, you should only plan any trip while being pregnant once your doctor has approved.

3. Pack the Pregnancy Essentials

Before boarding a flight, make sure you pack all your important medicines, supplements etc. so that you are safe from any health issues. Additionally, you can get these items to make your flight much more comfortable and safe:

  • Keep nausea remedies handy if your pregnancy has brought upon motion sickness.
  • Keep something effective for gas or diarrhoea as you can face both at higher altitudes.
  • Keep antibacterial wipes and sanitizers to keep you fresh throughout the journey.
  • Always keep your contact details and your family's contact information at hand.
  • Buy decompression stockings to help with the blood flow.

4. Have a Medical Back-up

If you need prenatal care, keep some local contacts handy at the place of your arrival. You should keep a doctor ready in case you face any complications or feel sick due to other reasons.

Instead of rushing through emergency, look up reputed doctors and hospitals. Make sure you have your doctor’s notes and prescription on you at all times. If you have any health conditions or gestational health issues, the new doctor will be able to help you better.

5. Take Precautions in the Flight

If you’re travelling in a flight longer than 3-4 hours, you must take additional precautions. Take a look at some of the most important ones:

  • Walk frequently: Every hour make sure you get up up and walk around to promote blood circulation. This will avoid any blood clotting and keep it flowing.
  • Avoid Gassy Foods: Eating heavy meals or wrong foods before the flight will cause gas when the plane goes up.
  • Flex and Stretch: If you can’t walk a lot, flex your ankles as they can get swollen and make it painful later. You should also out your legs up whenever possible as it will help regulate the blood flow and reduce pressure.
  • Stay Hydrated: Keep on sipping plenty of fluids even if it means more trips to the bathroom. Dehydration can reduce the blood flow to the uterus, which can cause harm later.
  • Pick a Good Seat: Don't shy from paying extra for the best seat. Aisle seat is preferable, and a seat over the wing will be smoother for you.

6. Pack Healthy Snacks

We know pregnancy cravings are essential and there’s no controlling those taste buds. However, you will thank yourself for packing healthy snacks over junk or gassy items that can make your flight difficult. Plus, airline food is unpredictable and often delayed, so who wants that burden?

Pack some yummy protein bars, baked chips, juice packs and other home-made snacks that you love. You can munch on them and tackle those cravings at the same time!

7. Buy Travel Insurance

Buying travel insurance is always a smart move, whether you are pregnant or not. While most trip insurance plans do not cover expenses due to pregnancy complications, there are some plans that offer optional coverage for mother and even newborn baby by paying additional premium for the insurance policy. Make sure your overseas travel insurance also covers medical evacuation in case you need medical assistance and need to be evacuated back to India.

Over to You

As Martin Luther said, “Maternity is a glorious thing, since all mankind has been conceived, born, and nourished of women.” As a mom-to-be, it is your right to be happy and nothing should stop you. With these tips and a little care, you can travel safely during pregnancy without exposing yourself and your little ones to potential dangers. Make sure you have a international travel insurance in case you need to be evacuated back home in case of any situation!

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