In an ideal world, we could all afford to buy first class tickets and get to fly in luxury. Unfortunately, most of us are stuck in economy class, even when we’re pregnant. If you are travelling by air when you’re pregnant, here are tips to stay safe and comfortable in economy class.
Travel at the Right Time
If you can, travel on less busy flights. The more crowded your flight is, the less comfortable it will be. Obviously you can’t always choose to fly off season, but you can look at flights on different days of the week or even different times of day to find the least crowded flight. The emptier your flight is, the more likely you are to have space to stretch out, and the less likely you are to have someone pushing into your space.
Also, it’s important if you’re flying to travel during the right period of your pregnancy. It is safe to fly occasionally during the first and second trimesters. However, most airlines will not permit you to fly during the third trimester. (2)
Before you travel, you can book special assistance. Even if you haven’t pre-booked assistance, you can ask at the airport for a porter to help with your luggage, for example. Don’t think that you have to do everything by yourself. Flying often means lugging around a lot of heavy bags. You should beware of lifting during pregnancy because of the increased risk of injury and the stress on your body. (1) Don’t think that you have to handle all of your luggage by yourself. Ask for help if you need to, especially if you’re travelling alone or with other children.
When flying, there is always a risk of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), commonly known as blood clots. If you are flying and pregnant, the risk is much greater than normal. (3) This doesn’t mean that you can’t fly, though. You should just take simple precautions to avoid DVT. Wear special in-flight socks. (I highly recommend the tights style ones. They are knee high and are much more comfortable than the traditional flight socks.) You can also reduce the risk of DVT by staying active. Get up and walk around regularly during the flight. (With how often I needed to pee when pregnant, this wasn’t a problem as I seemed to be making constant trips back to the toilets.)
It is also important to stay well hydrated. Avoid sodas and drink water instead to stay well hydrated. If you want some variety, ask for a fruit or vegetable juice.
Dressing comfortably can help you to have a better flight experience. Make sure to wear slip in shoes that are easy for you to put on and take off (without having to bend over). Dress in layers. It is easy on airplanes to either get chilled or overheated, so dressing in layers can help you to stay at a comfortable temperature. Also, make sure that you wear soft, loose, comfortable clothes. You really don’t want to be worried about a tight waist band or annoying bra strap when you’re squeezed into an economy class seat. Wear comfortable clothes.
Airline food is enough to make you nauseas at any time. If you’re travelling when pregnant, you’re more prone to nausea anyway. Also, going for a long time without eating can also contribute to you feeling nauseas, light-headed, or weak. Make sure to pack snacks. Cereal bars are a good choice. I also highly recommend ginger chews because ginger is known to soothe your tummy.
Although flying is not the most comfortable experience, these tips can help you to have a better experience when flying economy class when you’re expecting.
(1) “Safe Lifting During Pregnancy”, by Marjorie Greenfield, M.D., Dr. Spock
(2) “When is the best and safest time to travel by plane during pregnancy?”, Flying During Pregnancy
(3) “Flying whilst Pregnant”, Flight Health