I was flying into Ibiza over the weekend and was sitting on the plane trying to calculate the amount of frequent flyer miles I had accumulated since I became pregnant. So far, whilst pregnant with this little bub, I've traveled to some amazing cities out of London; from Sydney, Queensland, Barcelona, Paris, Munich, Sibiu to Ibiza. If there was a pregnant frequent flyer 'oscar' type award, I would surely be in the running. During these short and long haul flights I have picked up some handy tips for making flying that much more bearable for mums to be.
1. Pack light (trust me) no one wants to wheel around a heavy suitcase
Being pregnant means you need to pack smart. Which also means planning the outfits you are going to wear in advance. Don't take unnecessary items you think that you may wear at some point and then never do. I usually take a couple of pairs of maternity pants, a few neutral tops (in black, white or nude, both long and short sleeve), a coat and a scarf. And then throw in a few accessories and I'm done.
2. Obtain a letter from your obstetrician or midwife that you are able to fly
One airline ground staff employee looked at me, and smiled, congratulating me on my pregnancy and then quite sternly said 'Do you have a letter from your doctor stating that it is safe for you to fly?'. Each airline has their own policy on how many weeks they allow pregnant women to fly and when you will need to get a letter with permission from your healthcare provider, this is usually when you are over 20 weeks. This is very important, because in the event you do not have this permission letter, and they ask you for it, you will not be able to fly. I also bring my pregnancy card with all my details, therefore if for any reason I need to see a doctor whilst traveling, I have my information with me.
3. Wear loose, stretchable and breathable cotton clothing on board
The stretchier and looser the better, as the more you can twist around and move in it, the more comfortable you will feel. Also look for natural materials like cotton, bamboo or ethical wool. These fabrics not only feel better but allow your skin to breath. My favourite flying pieces are black cotton leggings, an oversize white cotton t-shirt, a casual jacket (which I wear only at the airport) and a huge pashmina that doubles up as a blanket on board. And the golden rule is I never wear lace up shoes, first of all I can't reach the laces and they are too hard to take on and off. Wear slip-on shoes that you don't need to bend down for.
4. Buy compression socks and wear them just before you board
These things are an absolute godsend and recommended by my obstetrician. Compression socks are designed to help keep your circulation flowing by applying pressure to your lower legs, helping to maintain blood flow and reduce discomfort and swelling, they are also proven to help reduce blood clots, DVT and varicose veins in pregnant women. I haven't noticed any swelling since wearing them.
5. Buy plenty of snacks to take on board and stay hydrated
Unless you are flying business, where you can order off a menu at any time, bring snacks with you. Usually I buy assorted lollies, crisps, nuts and dried fruits from the airport. This way when I have a craving, there is no need to hunt down the nearest cabin crew member but instead, just lean into my bag and grab whatever I feel like. Also drink plenty of water, it is the best for alleviating headaches, flushing out toxins and keeping you feeling good.
6. Priority Access: Board early and disembark early
If you alert ground and cabin crew to your baby on board situation, they usually allow you to board first and disembark the aircraft first. This makes it much easier as you do not need to wait in long lines or get stressed when there is no room to fit your carry on bag in the overhead compartment once everyone has already boarded. Usually I receive little extra perks on board as well, such as bonus toiletry bags, extra water and snacks and one lovely airline kept feeding me fruit salad and ice cream on a long haul flight.
7. How to combat nausea and motion sickness
If you sometimes feel motion sickness traveling in a car, then this may be heightened during pregnancy or you may just be more sensitive to the ups and downs of air turbulence. During the long haul flights there were times where I did feel slightly nauseous and found the best way to combat these feelings were to chew ginger lollies and also put a few drops of lavender oil into a compress (or my pashmina) and inhale. This may sound odd, but drinking a can of Coca Cola really helped for me as well (it works).
8. Exercising on the plane; walk, stretch and move those limbs
Pregnant women have joints that tend to swell, experience cramping and are prone to getting pins and needles (the fun!). Therefore doing regular stretching exercises and moving your muscles while in the air is very important. Every hour, I get out of my seat and walk up and down the aisle. Light exercise helps increase blood flow and eases the tension on the body.
9. And finally...enjoy the flight
The good news is, you are sitting down for most of the time, eating, watching movies or reading something interesting in between naps, after which you will arrive at an amazing destination where you can continue to eat, rest and sleep... and maybe even get a tan.
Originally published on www.luxmumma.com on 3rd April 2017.