If you’re jetting off to the sun with a baby on board, have a read of our top tips for flying during pregnancy – from what to wear on the plane, to how to deal with that dreaded morning sickness…
If you’re expecting a baby and planning an overseas break, you may well be wondering if it’s safe to fly when you’re pregnant. The good news is, in most cases the answer is yes. NHS guidelines state that with proper preparation and precautions, most women can travel safely well into their pregnancy, which will be music to your ears if you’re hankering for a bit of sunshine. But what kind of preparation and precautions are we talking about? Here’s a rundown of questions and answers that’ll help to make sure your trip runs smoothly…
Do I need to speak to my doctor before I fly?
Before you book anything, you should have a chat with your doctor or midwife. Chances are, if you’ve had an uncomplicated pregnancy so far and you’re less than 28 weeks pregnant, they’ll be happy for you to travel. If you’re hoping to travel after this time, you’ll need a signed note from your doctor to say it’s safe to fly. The letter must be dated no earlier than 14 days prior to departure – anything dated earlier will not be accepted. You should also take your medical notes or maternity book on holiday with you, as you might be asked to provide this information to your airline.
Which trimester is the best time for flying when I’m pregnant?
The second trimester (from 13 to 28 weeks) is widely considered to be the best time for air travel. In the first trimester you’re more likely to suffer from nausea and tiredness, and in the third trimester the tiredness may well kick in again. Plus, most airlines – including Thomson Airways – will only allow you to fly until the 36th week of your pregnancy. That’s unless you’re expecting twins, when the limit is 32 weeks.
Where is the best destination to travel to when I’m pregnant?
While there’s no right or wrong destination to go to when you’re pregnant, you should bear in mind flight times when choosing where to go. Spain, for example, is a good option as they offer year-round sun and takes from 2 – 4 hours to reach from Gatwick Airport. The weather is also worth factoring in – if you’re heavily pregnant, you might want to avoid height-of-season temperatures in some places. Once you’ve booked, you can check what the weather’s doing in your destination with the MyFirstChoice app.
How do I deal with morning and travel sickness when flying?
If you’re worried about the combination of morning sickness and travel sickness, talk to your doctor. While many over-the-counter medications aren’t suitable for pregnant women, there may be something they can recommend or prescribe. It’s also worth trying things like anti-sickness acupressure bands which can help alleviate feelings of nausea.
Will my travel insurance cover me when I’m flying?
Not all policies cover pregnant women, and some only cover you up to a certain point of pregnancy, so make sure you notify your insurer before you travel. Also if you’re travelling to Europe, make sure you’ve got a valid European Health Insurance Card before you go. And if you’ve run out of time to apply, bear in mind you’ll still be covered if you’ve applied but not yet received your card.
What should I wear on the plane?
A loose dress is ideal for travelling in – that way you won’t have a waistband digging in to your stomach for the duration. Adjustable footwear like sandals are a good idea, too, as your feet may swell on the flight. Lastly, bear in mind extra layers can be handy. If you suffer from backache, a rolled-up jumper wedged in the small of your back can do wonders.
How often should I get up and walk around the plane?
Aim to get up and walk around every 30 minutes if you can, just to keep your circulation in check. Pregnant women are at a slightly raised risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and regular movement can help to prevent this. You might also want to invest in a pair of compression socks – particularly if you’re on a mid-to long-haul flight – as they can reduce leg swelling.
Where should I sit on the plane?
On all Thomson Airways flights you can choose exactly where you want to sit with our Select Your Seat service. An aisle seat is a good option if you’re pregnant, as you can get up easily to go to the toilet or just to stretch your legs. Or, if you’re one of those lucky people who zonks out the second your seatbelt’s on, opt for the window seat and you won’t be disturbed. If you’re flying to your holiday with another airline, check their website for details.
Do infants need their own plane seats?
If you’re travelling with Thomson Airways, children under two can sit on an adults’ lap for the flight and don’t have to have their own seat. That said, if you’d prefer not to be squashed by a toddler for a couple of hours, you can pay extra to make sure they’ve got their own space.
What information do I need to know about the Zika virus?
Everything you need to know about the Zika virus and how it affects pregnant women is on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s official website. It explains the steps you need to take before considering travel, as well as the latest updates and guidelines. If you’re planning on travelling to an area with an active Zika virus transmission, you should talk to your doctor or midwife for guidance.
Are airport scanners safe to use when pregnant?
Airport scanners, which use a low-frequency electromagnetic field, are considered safe for everyone – including pregnant women.
Any other tips?
Yes – drink and eat little and often. Ignore the fact it may mean a few extra trips to the loo – a pregnant woman’s recommended fluid intake is even higher than usual, so it’s vital to stay hydrated while you’re onboard. Likewise, keep some snacks close to hand – fruit is ideal as it ticks both the ‘fluid’ and the ‘food’ boxes.