Pregnancy is weird. That’s been my experience thus far at just over 21 weeks. It’s feeling fat, not knowing what you want to eat but knowing that you’re hungry, and longing to feel like yourself again, both mentally and physically. It’s a mixture of being terrified, nervous, scared, excited, with an ounce of what was I thinking?! It’s one of those things that you have to experience to believe, and even those who DO experience it have different accounts. I have friends who’ve loved being pregnant so much that they can’t wait for it again. Of course I want to shake them and demand to know what their secret is, but nevertheless… I have judged pregnant people in the past and for that I’m sorry. But seriously, some sort of warning would have been nice. The backache, the countless ultrasounds, the list of things you can’t eat… I can go on and on. This brings me to a point, I swear. While pregnancy is annoying
all most of the time, it’s not a handicap. If you’re healthy enough in your pregnancy to travel you shouldn’t expect special treatment. I find a lot of articles online talking about preferential treatment while traveling and pregnant and I can’t help but roll my eyes. There are certain things you can request, just like anyone else, but for example, if you want a first class ticket for comfort purposes, you need to book that ticket, not expect an upgrade because of your belly. Lucky for you, I put together a list of 10 tips for flying while pregnant. I know it’s sometimes hard to get comfortable, especially on those 8+ hour flights!
- Aisle Seat. I know they kind of suck for some (I mean how many times can ones elbow get bumped, amiright?), but when you’re going to the bathroom a million times, chances are you’re not going to be doing all that much relaxing anyway. It’s a pain to always bother people, not to mention, sliding past those seats is tiiiiight. Go for the aisle seat.
Seating Tip! Don’t feel like you need to sit near the bathroom. Trust me, your crazily heightened sense of smell will thank me. Really though, you can sit anywhere on the plane. Walking around is good, especially during long plane rides! Also, if you hear they’re asking if anyone wants to switch to an exit row seat, don’t be tempted because of the extra leg room. Most don’t recline, which can be really uncomfortable on your back! Not worth it!
- Food & Drink. For long flights especially, you want to plan your meals. I wouldn’t rely on plane food because a) you never know the quality and b) if you’re anything like me you don’t know what you’re going to be in the mood for. I like bringing my own options. I’ve taken everything from small boxes of cereal, chocolate, chips, sandwiches from home, fruit (depending on the destination) and even little plastic utensils. As far as drinks, you obviously can’t bring liquid past security, so I always buy 4 or 5 bottles of water before boarding.
- Compression Socks. Honestly, on short flights I don’t use them. On long flights, however, they are beyond amazing. I only put them on when I feel I need them. I got these, and my feet don’t swell. I feel rejuvenated and well rested after long flights when I wear them. I wouldn’t worry about walking around a lot, since you’re likely to take a lot of bathroom breaks anyway. The socks for sure definitely work.
- Economy Plus. I usually don’t think these seats are worth the additional cost, especially since most airlines charge an arm and a leg for them. Under normal circumstances I always say pass on them, but when pregnant, I say they are 100% worth the extra cost. Those few extra inches for your ever expanding belly are clearly sent from above. And on planes where economy plus is laid out with two seats by either window and a large middle section, those two seats together are WAY better than sharing a row with a stranger. It’s nice to sit by a window and only have to disturb your husband during the million bathroom breaks.
Belt Tip! If the belt is too tight, ask the stewardess for an extender. And remember to wear your belt just like you would in the car; under your belly. Lastly, and I’ve been guilty of not doing this as well, when you’re sitting down, always wear your seatbelt! Turbulence can be rough and dangerous, so when you’re not heading to the bathroom or something, remain buckled!
- Change Of Clothes. Pack a change of clothes in your carryon. I actually like to do this anyway (pregnant or not). You never know (unfortunately) if your luggage is going to get lost, and it’s always good to have a clean pair of underwear and what not as a backup. Anyway, when pregnant, especially when drinking a lot of water, god forbid you sneeze or something… well, accidents happen. Trust me, bring an extra change of clothes.
- Things To Do. Being pregnant means you can’t take your plane pills or drink alcohol. That can make for a pretty tedious long flight for some. I like to bring cards, or a journal, or pre-purchase WiFi where available (it’s cheaper than purchasing it on your flight!). Also, be aware that more recently, most flights have now changed in flight entertainment to via an app your phone/tablet ONLY (vs. the old way, which was via a TV on the seat in front of you). You have to download the app BEFORE the flight takes off or you’re screwed as far as in flight entertainment goes.
- Airline Lounges. Remember to bring your club passes or frequent flier card! It doesn’t really matter how many miles you have with some cards, like Chase’s United Plus Explorer card, which gives you a free club pass each year. It’s definitely far more relaxing waiting in a lounge (especially if you have a long layover) than by your gate. The comfy chairs, quiet atmosphere, and free snacks don’t hurt either. If you’re a more frequent flier, priority boarding is nice and it avoids the large waiting crowds.
- Be Mindful Of Connections. Now might not be the best time to book that tight connection. You know the one I’m talking about – when your next flight is the one whose gate is on the other side of the airport and you have 15 minutes to get there. If you do have to make a short connection, and you can’t run through a crowd of people, most airlines offer gate-to-gate services for those in need (inquire at check in and/or place a note in your frequent flier profile). Most airports offer some sort of shuttle service as well. Surely you’ve been beeped out of the way at one time or another!
- Get A Good Airplane Pillow. So you know those standard U-shaped plane pillows? You’re probably going to end up using it, but not in the way you think. Stuff it between your lower back and the seat, and it makes for a much more comfortable flight. Still want to sleep? You’re going to be surprised how your body can no longer bend to the shape you’re used to being in while getting comfortable on the plane. That was the worst discovery for me. I talked about this pillow a while back in My Travel Must-Haves post and it was a life saver. As I said, my body can’t twist comfortably to use a traditional plane pillow anymore. This one allowed me to sit back and have a cushion for my head and over my eyes. Should my head roll I wasn’t stuck in some horrendous position either.
- Clorox Wipes & Hand Sanitizer. Your immune system when pregnant is a little crazy, and airports/planes are FULL of germs. Pregnant or not, it’s a good idea to buy the small travel size wipes. I like to clean the tray, seat, window shade, buckle, etc., as soon as I sit down. Basically anything I may touch. After returning from the bathroom and every single time before I eat anything I also use hand sanitizer. Being pregnant AND sick is no fun, so it’s best to take precautions when you can.
Pill Tip! When traveling to different time zones I like to be one of those old ladies with those weekly pill cases. It’s important to never miss a prenatal or whatever other pills you may be taking! Be mindful of the time zone. If it’s a trip that’s less than a week I usually keep some sort of clock on “home time” and take my pills at whatever time I would normally do so at home. It also makes it easier for travel days too, and you don’t have to re-adjust again once you’re home.
Have any good tips for flying while pregnant? Share yours below!