If you are pregnant and planning to travel you will want to read these tips from travel.com.au General Manager Renee Walsh. A mum of two and seasoned traveller herself, she is well accustomed to flying with a bump. “Flying is possible while pregnant. You just need to know when you can go and how to look after both yourself and the baby while up in the air. I’d encourage all pregnant mums to read thoroughly and talk to other women who have done it before. A little tip here and there can make life a lot easier,” said Renee.
- As long as you haven’t experienced any complications, the safest time to fly when pregnant is during the second trimester. By this time, first trimester morning sickness is likely to have subsided, energy levels are higher and the risk of going into labour is low. Some women won’t have this luxury and may need to fly interstate regularly. If you suffer from morning sickness, make sure you have a bottle of water, some snacks and sick bags close to hand
- If you can avoid it, it is not advisable to fly during your first trimester as the risk of a miscarriage is still high. Equally, it is not advised to fly throughout your third trimester as the possibility of going into labour increases and you ideally don’t want to be having the baby while in the air! Commercial planes are fine however flying on smaller planes, non-pressurised planes, is not recommended at any stage of your pregnancy as the lower oxygen levels may impact your baby
- If you are required to fly during the third trimester, be aware that airlines have some restrictions in place. Depending on how far into your pregnancy you are and what airline you choose to travel with, you may not be able to fly at all. For example, the majority of airlines won’t allow pregnant women (single pregnancy) to fly on a flight over four hours if they past the end of their 36th week. For flights under four hours, travel is often not permitted after the end of the 38th week (single pregnancy). Restrictions can change if you’re having a multiple pregnancy
- If you are 28 weeks or more, often airlines will ask you to present a letter from your midwife or doctor. This must be dated no more than 10 days prior to travel and outline your estimated due date, the absence of complications, single or multiple pregnancies, and their consent for you to fly for the duration of the flight(s) booked
- Requirement and restrictions can change from carrier to carrier and from time to time so it’s best to always check with the airline before planning a holiday or purchasing your ticket. If you have any queries, call your carrier to clarify – it’s better to be sure. Wear your seat belt low and around the pelvis so to reduce pressure on the baby
- Pregnant women are infamous bathroom goers. To make getting up to go to the toilet easier, book or request an aisle seat. If possible, request a seat with more leg room – or better still, pay that bit extra and book a premium economy or business class ticket
- During pregnancy, your circulation is already under strain and the lower cabin pressure won’t help this. So it’s important to wear in-flight DVT socks and flexible shoes, as well as regularly stretch your limbs and do exercises in your chair and remain well hydrated (sip water throughout the flight. It is also worthwhile taking some small snacks (biscuits etc.) in case you get peckish. Unless going to the bathroom, try to remain seated as much as possible as you may lose your balance walking up and down the aisle, particularly if the plane goes through a sudden bout of turbulence
- When flying overseas, be sure to check your travel insurance thoroughly. Some companies will only insure a pregnant woman until a certain stage of the pregnancy (eg. 24 weeks) and others will not cover for an overseas birth
- Lastly but most importantly, before flying during any stage of your pregnancy, consult your doctor to discuss any potential risks or concerns you may have
Travel.com.au was established in September 2007 and is one of Australia’s most experienced online travel companies. Providing the flexibility of booking online of over the phone with one of their experienced Travel Experts, they offer international and domestic flights, holiday packages, tours, hotels, travel insurance and car hire. For more information, visit www.travel.com.au or call the Travel Experts on 1300 130 485.
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