It's great to get excited about your imminent vacation or "babymoon," but make sure to plan accordingly and be prepared with our top 15 expert tips for traveling while pregnant.
If you are having a normal and uncomplicated pregnancy, air travel is not a big deal, but you should ALWAYS check with your doctor if you are planning to take a flight, regardless of how far along you are. Most women choose to fly during their second trimester when the risks and discomfort are lowest.
If are you are indeed knocked up and bound to be airborne, here is a list of all the things you need to take and do to ensure your ultimate comfort and safety:
1. Request an aisle seat and if possible, a blocked seat next to you, "because I tend to get sick and would hate to inconvenience other passengers." :)
2. Morning sickness or general nausea may be aggravated on a flight, so make sure to have an air-sickness bag handy. Ginger and lemon help to alleviate the discomfort.
3. Carry your own meals. Given how airlines think pretzels are lunch these days, don't rely on them to feed your cravings and nutrition needs when pregnant. Eat light, smaller meals instead of one big one--it will help you keep your meal down and reduce the likelihood of a barf or stomach pain.
4. Keep hydrated--buy as much water as you need to prevent dehydration. This will also keep you moving to the bathroom so you avoid circulatory problems such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
5. Prevent DVT by buying flight socks, available for pregnant ladies at your local pharmacy.
6. Make sure you have travel insurance and that your baby is covered if you are traveling in your third trimester.
7. Most airlines will require a letter from your doctor if you are traveling in your third trimester telling them your due date and that it is okay for you to fly. Check the airline's website beforehand or give them a call. Most require this letter to be dated within a week of traveling, which is ridiculously inconvenient. Most airlines will not let you fly after 36 weeks, so make sure you plan your babymoon before then.
8. Ensure that you have researched a doctor at your destination--no matter how far along you are.
9. Stay away from low-pressure planes that could reduce the amount of oxygen in your body and could make you feel dizzy or nauseous.
10. Avoid countries that would require immunization.
11. Dress in layers because you can be hot and cold in pregnancy, and it might be harder to regulate your temperature on a plane. Naturally, wear comfortable and loose clothing--those jeggings will have to wait until after the baby is born.
12. Carry your prenatal chart and relevant records with you--you never know when you might need them.
13. Spring the extra few dollars for a porter so that you don't have to lift your heavy suitcases off the conveyor if you are traveling alone, or request the nearest chivalrous-looking fellow passenger to help you out.
14. If you are traveling with another child, make sure you have DVDs and toys to keep him or her entertained. The upside is dealing with a two-year old may help you forget about your own discomfort!
15. Be sensible: If you are feeling tired or unwell during your pregnancy, avoid putting the unnecessary stress of travel on yourself. In my case, I had a mild case of fibroids at 26 weeks but risked flying from Sydney to Singapore because my whole family was there and I knew I would be better taken care of there than at home alone while my husband was at work. There is no hard and fast rule-you have to listen to your body.
Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan is the founder and CEO of Momaboard.com, a global community of traveling parents. Her son Karam went on his first flight at four months. By the time he was a year old he had been to six countries, and by the age of two, 12 countries. Kaamna firmly believes that it's never too early to travel with your children, and that early exposure to the sights and sounds of the world creates enlightened, aware adults, something we need a lot more of.
Founder Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan scoured the net to seek out information on diapers in Japan, driving routes in New Zealand, and child-friendly accommodations in Madrid and found...nothing. Enter Momaboard. Kaamna started writing the blog Momaboard in 2009 to share her experiences with other parents. In January 2011, it was expanded into the website and social network it is now, so like-minded parents could connect. Momaboard today offers international city guides to places from New Zealand to New Delhi, in addition to practical resources such as Airline Policies for Kids: An Online Directory (which has stand-out points of each airline and provides links) and general travel tips such as Baby-Proofing Your Hotel Room. Visit the Momaboard blog site, check out the facebook page, and follow on Twitter (@momaboard).
In Case of an Emergency...
It's always a good idea for an expectant mom to keep a list of emergency contacts handy, and even more so while traveling. Print out this helpful contact sheet from BabyCenter... in fact, print out two.