Flying when pregnant or travelling during pregnancy is actually more complicated than one might initially think. No longer can you physically carry your entire wardrobe in your suitcase for just-in-case fashion emergencies. Nor can you simply just show up at the check-in desk, belly protruding, without a medical certificate. And how does one survive a long haul flight with morning sickness? Here are some suitcases&strollers travel tips for pregnancy and flying.
· Check the airline’s official website for terms and conditions. Each company has different specifications about travelling while pregnant, so this should be your first port of call before you book.
· Always bring a medical “clearance to travel” certificate. Even if you are well within the time limitation that the airline says they will accept and even if you don’t think you look that pregnant, you don’t want to show up at check in and then be turned away. Always travel with a medical clearance from your doctor saying how many weeks along you are and that you are fit to travel while pregnant. If you are bringing a lot of medication with you, ask the doctor to list these in the medical certificate as well, to avoid unnecessary questioning by customs. If you are travelling to a country that requires vaccinations, talk to your doctor about which ones are suitable to take during pregnancy. [For more information on vaccinations and other common medical FAQs, read the suitcases&strollers story here.]
· Opt for an aisle seat. Pregnancy is very unpredictable. You may feel great the week you book the flight but seven days later morning sickness can hit and you desperately need that access to the toilet. Plus we all known how often pregnant women need to pee. Save yourself the hassle and give yourself easy access to get in and out of your seat just in case.
· Pack light. If you can manage it, don’t bring much. Then you won’t be struggling with baggage carousels and dragging large suitcases. Your carry on bags, in particular, should be small and light enough to fit under the seat so you can avoid the overhead lockers. (If you have heavier, bulkier items, check them in.) Don’t presume that the aircraft staff or other passengers onboard will help you because, in many cases, they won’t.
· But do pack snacks. If you are worried about what you are eating during pregnancy bring a few non-perishable snacks with you. Then you can rest assured you won’t starve, even when travelling to a developing country. [For more travel tips on travel-friendly foods, see the suitcases&strollers story here. For more ideas on travelling to developing countries with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
· Dress tight. You can’t expect to rely on the kindness of strangers, but looking very obviously pregnant doesn’t hurt in encouraging people to assist, especially around the baggage carousel or when people are crowding in the aisles of the plane while disembarking.
· Research medical options on the ground at your destination. Ask your doctor or Google recommendations from other locally based mums at your destination and have an emergency medical option in your purse just in case. It will help ease the stress and will be incredibly useful in the unlikely case that you should need it.
· Enjoy the peace and quiet. If this is your first pregnancy, it may be the last time you experience it on a trip in a long, long time!
For more practical travel hints, read the suitcases&strollers Travelling Tips.
Image: Melia Photography