Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Flying When You're Expecting ~ Helpful Hints & Tips!

Let’s face it with 5 little ones I’ve been pregnant a lot, well more than your average woman. That coupled with my love of travel means that I have a shed load of experience travelling during each trimester. Having spoken to several first time mums now, reluctant to travel while expecting, I thought it an idea to share my top tips for flying during pregnancy.

1. Knowing your airline flight rules:

You can find these in the FAQ section on your specific airlines website. Policies differ throughout all the major airlines so it’s best to check before you book. Aer Lingus allow you to fly between Ireland & the UK up to 32 weeks with a letter from your doctor. Between 32-35 weeks you must have an “Expectant Mother Travel Advise Form” downloaded & completed by your doctor. 

Aer Lingus will not allow anyone to fly for any reason over 36 weeks pregnant. For all other routes this is reduced so from 28-33 weeks you need their form and cannot travel at all beyond 34 weeks. Ryanair require a “Fit to Fly” letter after 28 weeks, this can be downloaded from their website & completed by your doctor. Travel is not permitted beyond 36 weeks on a single pregnancy or 32 weeks for a multiple pregnancy. Even if you are in your first trimester, I’d recommend bringing some documentation detailing your expected due date.

Taking in Switzerland with babies on board

2. Early pregnancy:

If you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions or complications it’s perfectly fine to fly during your first trimester, no muss, no fuss. Consult your GP or midwife to confirm this applies to you. I actually found out I was pregnant in Dublin Airport while waiting to fly out to Malmo. We had conceived our twins while in Eindhoven the previous month. (sorry TMI!) We also drove Route 66 while I was 11 weeks pregnant with our third child, with the twins in tow. So not only can it be done, but these can also be some of your most enjoyable and memorable holidays.

3. Morning sickness:

The only major concern for me was morning sickness while flying in early pregnancy. I made sure I had a sick bag to hand in case I didn’t make it to the loo in time, the glamour, I know! Acupressure bracelets can reduce nausea while not very fashionable they are worth a try, they didn’t work for me but they might for you. 

Vitamin B6 is also said to help with nausea and is safe to take while pregnant. If you already suffer from travel sickness you could consult your GP who can prescribe medication. The best thing for me was bringing melon cubes in a lunch box to eat during the flight. I always buy a cold bottle of water after security before I board the flight, as I might need it before cabin service starts.

Taking it one step at a time in marvellous Milan

4. Vaccinations for tropical destinations:

Some vaccinations are safe during pregnancy, others are not, it’s best to consult your GP before you book any destination that requires vaccination due to the threat of contracting a disease. To be honest I didn’t risk flying to any of these destinations while pregnant.

5. Comfort while flying:

Layers of loose clothing are your very best friends in flight, as your body can swell with the pressure in the cabin, it can also get quite hot. No matter the duration of your flight, buy flight socks to help prevent swelling and thrombosis; these can be bought in your local pharmacy or the pharmacy at the airport for about €20. Wear comfortable shoes as your feet in particular will more than likely swell. Again, the glamour. 

Try to book an aisle seat as, let's be honest, you will need to use the loo a few times, also you’ll have access to the aisle to stretch your legs with a stroll up & down every 30 minutes or so. If you are flying long haul request a bulkhead seat to have extra leg room.

Wearing minimal or no makeup at all during the flight really helps with your skin as the air conditioning is very drying. I make a habit of waiting until after takeoff to remove my makeup and apply moisturiser & lip balm, then reapply my make up before landing. I also found it useful to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated. 

'We're going to need to pick up the pace, Pops, or we'll have to pay entry for three!'

I find it best not to eat a large meal before flying or drink any fizzy drinks as gas expands during a flight, even in your gut, so it's not only very uncomfortable but it's also embarrassing (and pretty anti-social) as you're personally jet propelled by power of fart around the plane! Instead graze on snacks throughout your flight, while sipping water. This also keeps pregnancy HANGER at bay. Anyone that's ever been pregnant will know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Pack a book, some magazines or your music player so you can relax and de-stress during the flight. It’s handy to have heartburn remedy with you, I needed it all the time. Lastly, check your travel insurance covers you for travel while pregnant if it doesn't I’d highly recommend you buy the extra cover.

Above all else, try to enjoy your flight so you're ready to take on your destination refreshed. Whether it's your first pregnancy and this is your last trip without the hassle of a sitter or it's a subsequent pregnancy and you're escaping. Enjoy every minute.

Have you flown while pregnant? 
Do you have any top tips you‘d like to share?

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