Before baby #3, I did not fly during pregnancy unless I absolutely had to. In fact, I tried to avoid travel in general. Pregnancy is so unenjoyable for me that adding the stress of travel on top of the debilitating all-day sickness and a general feeling of discomfort was something I was not willing to endure.
Shortly after Buddy was born, we started really picking up our travels. Instead of our once or twice-a-year voyage to visit family, we took off as often as possible- on day trips, weekend outings, or longer adventures. My wanderlust, which had been dormant for years because of our circumstances, was immediately rekindled. After two years of traveling with D and the kids, when we found out that Baby #3 was on the way, I was not willing to put travel on hold, even temporarily. So when we decided to plan a trip to Europe, I spent a lot of time searching for tips on how to survive a long-haul flight while pregnant. Here are some tips I learned, both from my research and from my actual experience.
Don’t Forget the Snacks
If you’re like me, sometimes the only way to keep the pregnancy nausea at bay is to eat. No matter how long our flight, snacks are crucial to keep the kids happy. While you pack for the kids, make sure to pack some light snacks for yourself to keep your blood sugar up and the nausea down.
On international flights, there will be a meal served partway through the flight and usually a snack later on. However, if you’re like me, you may need to be a little selective when it comes to what you eat. Airplane food was not appealing to me at all. Having enough snacks on hand that I knew would sit well in my stomach was so important in getting through the flight.
Remember Your Medication
Ever since my first pregnancy, I’ve struggled with very severe “morning sickness.” With Ladybug, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and had to take anti-nausea medication just to be able to keep any food down. Thankfully, with the other two my sickness hasn’t been that extreme though I’ve still had to take medication consistently until about 20 weeks to eat and periodically after that.
If that sounds familiar to you, do not forget your anti-nausea medicine. Pregnancy is uncomfortable enough without being stuck in an enclosed metal tube for hours. Don’t be ashamed if you need to take your medicine to make things a little more comfortable. Just make sure that you check the regulations of the particular country you’re traveling to. Some have rules about traveling with medication. It is generally a good idea to make sure you have a copy of your prescription with your medicine so that it is clear why you need it.
Compression Socks are Your Friends
Confession time: I have thankfully never had a problem with swelling with any of my pregnancies. However, everything is different when I’m sitting for hours thousands of feet in the air. I recommend packing a few pairs of compression socks in your carry-on to keep the swelling down. I never had any reason to wear them before but let me tell you, they were a lifesaver on our 8-hour flight to Dublin. Throughout the flight, I had absolutely no swelling whatsoever and I attributed it all to my socks.
Keep the Circulation Moving
On international flights, it’s important to change your position often. Unfortunately, on the plane, you don’t have much room to move so you have to be a little creative. If you have an aisle seat, you can stretch your legs out a little bit- just make sure to check your surroundings to make sure no one is trying to get through. You can also do ankle circles to keep the blood flowing. Taking a walk to stretch your legs is also a good idea. Do whatever you can do to keep the circulation flowing to prevent blood clots and decrease swelling.
Flying while pregnant is not fun, but it is possible. The most important tip is to keep the end goal in mind. The flight is temporary; and once you get off the plane, the worst is over and you can just enjoy your trip.