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What to Expect While Flying When You’re Expecting

Explorer C
kati Each week during November, Nuts About Southwest will have an article that focuses on family travel.  As a Southwest Airlines Employee, travel happens to be my favorite part of the job!  I LUV boarding the plane and dreaming about my next big adventure. When I learned this past June that I was expecting a baby, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep my feet on the ground for the next seven months, so I decided to talk to my doctor and research safety guidelines for traveling while pregnant. While you should ALWAYS consult your physician if you have any questions about traveling while expecting, below are the top ten tips that my doctor recommends for safe and comfortable air travel.
  1. Research airline policies before traveling.  For Southwest Airlines, we advise against air travel beginning at the 38th week of pregnancy.
  2. Wear comfortable, loose clothing and layers so that you are able to adjust based on temperature.
  3. Arrive at the airport early enough so that you have plenty of time to walk to your gate.
  4. According the Transportation Safety Administration, the new Advanced Imaging Technology used during security screenings is completely safe for pregnant travelers.  However, you may request to be pat-down if you prefer.
  5. Check your bags or ask a strong Passenger to help you lift your carry-on luggage into the overhead bins.
  6. Remember to hydrate before, during, and after your flight.
  7. Bring healthy snacks that you can munch on whenever you become hungry.
  8. During a long flight, maintain good blood circulation by doing some inflight exercises/leg stretches in your seat.  Or, if the fasten seatbelt sign is not illuminated, you can stand and walk up and down the aisle when needed.
  9. If you are past 20 weeks in your pregnancy, it’s always helpful to have your antepartum records, as well as your insurance card.  Antepartum records could come in handy in the event of a medical emergency while away from home, and typically include:  your doctor’s contact information, your due date, your medical history, information from last check-up, and current fetal information.
  10. Bring a neck pillow, kick back, and relax!
Safe, happy travels, and congratulations to all the moms-to-be!  Enjoy your next big adventure!   This article is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual.  Nor is it intended to replace the advice of your own physician.  Each woman is different, as is each pregnancy, so please check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about travel.