We were lucky to have had several opportunities to travel this summer, and while I normally hop to any chance of boarding a plane to explore another land, being pregnant gave me a moment of pause. I had heard all the horror stories of traveling while pregnant ranging from puffy legs and swollen feet all the way up to the life threatening possibility of blood clots and simply just the overall discomfort of being squeezed into, what the airlines consider to be, seats.
As soon as I got pregnant I vowed to myself that I would have an informed but fearless pregnancy and that I wouldn’t allow the experiences of others scare me. My baby and my body are unique so it goes to follow that my journey through pregnancy will be mine and mine alone.
So my informed self spoke to my midwives and my OB. Knowing that my flights would be 5 to 12 hours each, I even did a small amount of research online (which I normally avoid like the plague) and here’s what I decided. I would go on all of the trips and I would take precautionary measures to avoid the discomforts and risks that can come with pregnancy. And guess what. Each trip was perfectly comfortable, amazingly inspiring and entirely memorable.
Here’s how I ensured that I had happy travels with my baby bump:
- Drink lots and lots of water. So much that you feel as though you might float out to sea.
- It goes to follow that you should go to the bathroom whenever you feel the urge. This leads us into the next tip which is…
- Get up and stretch every hour. Stand in the galley, do pliés, relevés, squats and forward bends.
- Arrive to the airport early or confirm online that you have an aisle seat so you are free to get up as needed.
- Pack healthful, low sodium snacks like nuts, fruit and whole grain crackers so you don’t find yourself raiding the salty chip compartment.
- Wear loose clothing that doesn’t bind or constrict.
- Wear compression stockings! They come in black and look like any normal trouser sock or pair of tights to the outside world, but they are so much more. You can truly feel the circulation in your legs increase as the miracle stockings do their job. In fact, I love mine so much that I plan to wear them for every flight in the future.
- Have your husband/partner/friend/travel companion rub your feet and calves every few hours (or do it yourself when traveling alone).
- And if you’re bendy enough, elevate your feet onto your companion’s lap for a few minutes every few hours.
A few other tips:
- Request a pat down in lieu of an x-ray at security.
- When away, stay hydrated.
- Wear the most comfortable shoes you own that have ample heel cushioning and that allow your feet to spread naturally.
- Elevate your feet at the end of each day.
- Rest when needed.
- Carry only the bare necessities to keep your load as light at possible.
- If blood clotting runs in your family, as it does in mine, increase your folic acid or folate intake prior to and during your trip. Of course, ask your midwife or OB before adding any supplements as I am not a doctor myself.
- Bring your medical and/or birth records along with you.
Doing all of this meant that when we landed, after twelve hours in the air, my feet slipped right back into my converse without having to loosen a single lace and I returned with lots of baggage full of shopping spree items rather than health issues and discomforts.
I hope these tips work as well for you as they did for me. Safe travels and bon voyage!