Air travel during pregnancy is safe provided you have a normal, healthy pregnancy. But, you would need to check with an airline regarding its policies related to pregnant travellers when booking a flight.
While some airlines allow women to travel up to their twenty-eighth week of pregnancy, others allow till the thirty-sixth week provided there are no complications. There may be different formalities and associated paper work which would need to be complied with. So, do your research before travelling and also check various airlines before zeroing on any one.
Pregnant mothers with medical conditions or a high risk pregnancy are not allowed to travel, be it any mode of transportation. Travelling by plane would need a written consent to travel mentioning your expected due date and a health certificate from your obstetrician. When booking your ticket from a travel agent, do mention your ‘pregnancy’ status.
An aisle seat with sufficient leg room will help you stretch your legs and also allow you move around or visit the washroom without bothering your co-passengers. You can also book a seat in the middle section of the plane if you want an extra smooth ride. You can also stroll up and down on the aisle to boost blood circulation and stretch your muscles, be sure to tell the air hostess or steward before you get walking about on the plane! You may book a business class seat if you want to be comfortable and want privacy.
Sitting exercises such as rotating your ankles, wiggling your toes and gently flexing your calf muscles will also help as stretching exercises and avoid any risk of blood clots. Some airlines do not have booking for seats and passengers get seats on first-come, first-serve basis. To avoid this reach before time or better still see if you can get seats reserved by paying a nominal fee.
Wear your seatbelts whenever your air hostess tells you to do so. Sometimes, during turbulent weather conditions, the pilots may announce seat belts to be worn to avoid getting hurt during jumpy rides; be sure to follow the same.
Airlines serve raw foods such as salads, cut fruits and foods which contain raw eggs like mayonnaise, mousse or soufflés. Avoid them as you may risk yourself from food poisoning or infections. Have plenty of water and less of beverages like tea or coffee as it can be dehydrating especially in the air-conditioned atmosphere inside a plane. Insist on hot food and have small meals to avoid air sickness. If you are feeling nauseous, you can suck on mint or lozenges.
Anxiety or panic attacks during taking off of flights or landing can make you nervous. All planes have oxygen pressurised cabins in which you will not suffer from shortness of breath at high altitudes unless you are suffering from any medical condition. If you are wondering whether the metal detectors at the airport can harm your baby, relax again- its harmless. Take enough rest during the flight to keep jet lag at bay.
You must wear different layers of clothes because temperature in the cabin may change during the flight and you may be comfortable to adjust to it. Wear comfortable footwear as your feet may swell up during flight. You may also use your hand baggage as a leg rest in order to avoid swelling of the feet.
Travelling by air during pregnancy can be a smooth affair if you take a few precautions. Make sure your husband or whoever you are travelling with is at close proximity so you can take their help whenever you feel out of your comfort zone.
Read more articles on Pregnancy and Travel.
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