I felt fantastic during my first pregnancy and with my obstetrician’s consent I was able to continue working as an international flight attendant, which included one memorable trip. Whilst stopping over in Frankfurt, Germany, I made the most of the opportunity and took a cruise along the Rhine River, where I visited a traditional riverside town and purchased my un-born daughter a Stieff teddy. She still loves playing with this teddy and hearing stories of all the places I visited, like Hong Kong, London and Singapore, whilst she was “on the inside”.
My second pregnancy unfortunately was a different experience. I was emotional over nothing and dry retching at aircraft smells, which let’s be honest, can be hard to deal with even without being pregnant. This pregnancy I only lasted one flight with work.
In short, every pregnancy experience is different for each of us. With that in mind, here are my top ten tips for airline travel during pregnancy.
- Speak with your obstetrician: Have your health checked and assessed before you travel and carry with you a note from your G.P/ obstetrician stating how many weeks pregnant you are and that you are fit to travel. Some airlines will require seeing this before you board and/or ask you to sign a waiver.
- Stay hydrated: This is crucial, but keep in mind your restricted bladder volume, so request a seat on the aisle and even near the toilets.
- Bring your own cushion or pillow: I learnt this the hard way when I was travelling home from my baby-moon in Europe. Airline pillows are not designed to provide the required support for a pregnant woman’s aching back.
- Keep mobile: Move around the cabin as often as possible, including stretching. This helps with the aches and the pregnancy puffiness. Remember though to keep your seatbelt on when seated.
- Pack smart: Your ability to lift and twist will be restricted, so travel light and think about investing in lightweight, luggage on wheels. Also, I always used the trolleys (or my husband) at the airport.
- Take snacks: Being always hungry is just a reality, after all you are growing a human, so pack snacks and keep them accessible. Try and opt for the nutritious snack varieties, but as you are most likely on holidays, don’t forget to treat yourself (caramel slices were my vice whilst pregnant).
- Inform cabin crew: You may think it is completely obvious, as you feel as big as a house, but as a crew member I can assure you if we are uncertain of your pregnancy it makes it difficult to know how to best look after you. When I know I have a pregnant passenger on board, I am empathetic and pay special attention to all of these listed tips.
- Book travel insurance: I highly recommend this, as little things can be big things when your pregnant and knowing you are covered is really important. Remember though to check the clauses.
- Allow yourself extra time: A last minute run to the gate is not advisable whilst pregnant – trust me. I had to do it on one occasion through Denpasar airport, with my then two year old, and it was not a good way to start a long flight or help with my final tip.
- Relax: Make the most of the opportunity and try to enjoy yourself. You will probably be sick of everyone telling you to relax and offering to help you before the baby comes, but I promise if you do, you will not regret it. Also, let’s face it, what better way to get a holiday started (or prolonged), than reading a great book or watching a movie you enjoy, and that is my wish for all my passengers.
If you have any specific questions or suggestions about travelling during pregnancy, please leave them in the comments section below and I will reply.
Mum With Wings
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