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Baby on Board: Travel Tips for When You are Expecting

Many pregnant women are understandably concerned about flying in their condition. Assuming that you have a healthy and normal pregnancy and you are not too close to your due date, there is no need to alter your travel plans. However, you probably should not fly if your condition has complications such as hypertensive disease, extreme nausea, placenta plevia or pre-term labor. If you have to fly during your pregnancy, there are many ways to make your trip more comfortable, and less stressful.

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First, allow yourself plenty of extra time at the airport, by making sure you check in at least ninety minutes early if you are traveling domestically, and two hours early for international flights. If you need assistance navigating the airport, do not hesitate to take a ride on one of the little electric carts, or request a wheelchair from your airline. A wheelchair can be booked in advance and it should be available for you upon arrival, at no charge.

Most airlines have some kind of policy for pregnant travelers, it should be clearly stated on their website, or you can call the airline for more information. Make sure you are speaking to the right person. Most airlines have staff that are trained to assist not only pregnant passengers, but also passengers with disabilities and special needs. The restrictions can be different depending on whether you are flying over land or over water; and if your trip involves different airlines or traveling overseas, it can be difficult to keep track of the various rules and restrictions.

If you are flying during the first or second trimester and have a healthy and normal pregnancy, you should not have any serious problems either with your own comfort or with your airline prohibiting you from flying. In fact, the second trimester is often considered the safest time to fly, as the first difficult months have already passed and there is no risk yet of premature labor.

It is the third trimester that may cause problems – if you are flying during the last few weeks of your term, make sure to check with your airline for their rules regarding how close to the due date you are able to fly. In general, airlines do not like you to fly within a week or so of your due date (the exact rule depends on the airline). In addition, if you are flying during your third trimester, you may need a letter from your doctor stating that you are healthy enough to travel.

Seating is important if you are pregnant, and you want to be as comfortable as possible during the flight. You may want to have an aisle seat, which provides easier access to bathrooms, and a seat close by them to minimize the required walking distance. If you are lucky enough to have an empty seat or two, you can stretch out, be sure to take advantage of them.

You may not be able to sit in the emergency exit row if you are pregnant and you are still required to keep your seat belt fastened, which can be a challenge. The extra room in business or first class is definitely a major benefit for pregnant women. If you are taking a long trip, consider paying the difference for an upgrade or cashing in some of those hard-earned frequent flyer miles.

Be sure to wear loose and comfortable clothing when you fly. This can increase your comfort level resulting in an enjoyable flight. You may also want to wear some compression stockings to help blood circulate from your ankles to your heart and lungs. Try to move around regularly to keep your blood flowing – even if you cannot get up, there are some beneficial exercises you can do while seated, such as rotating your ankles or flexing your feet.

Some pregnant women also wonder if it is safe to fly because of the pressure in the airplane cabin. All commercial flights have pressurized cabins and are quite safe but you probably should not fly in a smaller plane that does not have a pressurized cabin. Some wonder if it is safe to walk through the metal detector at the airport. It is perfectly safe because it is not actually an x-ray machine, and it should not harm you or your baby in any way.

Flying can be stressful enough. Just because you have a baby on board does not mean you cannot have a safe and comfortable flight. Make the most of it before you have all the stress of traveling with a baby! When flying while pregnant is completely safe but it is best to fly during your second trimester. It is possible to fly during the first or third trimester but it is not recommended. If you planning a vacation while pregnant, consider these tips and you can be on your way to a wonderful vacation.

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