Flying, especially these days, is rarely enjoyable. Between the long lines and the inevitable delays and the miserable airline food, it just doesn’t add up to a good time. Throw pregnancy into the mix, and well, things can get especially rough. Fortunately, a little planning goes a very long way in keeping you as comfortable as possible, no matter how long you’re stuck on the tarmac. Read on for our four tips for air travel during pregnancy.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
You already know that you need bucketloads of water during pregnancy—between 64 and 96 ounces every day, generally (1). When you’re flying, you’re losing roughly 8 ounces of water every hour, just from important stuff like breathing. The Aerospace Medical Association therefore advises making that up with—you guessed it—8 ounces of water every hour you’re on the plane (2). Low-sugar hydration packs are a wise addition, giving you a boost of key electrolytes, so toss a few packets in your carry-on.
Time your prenatal vitamin
If your flight coincides with the time you typically take your prenatal vitamin, plan to pop it before boarding instead. While you shouldn’t have any issues taking your vitamins on board, long-haul air travel tends to wreak havoc on your gut. It’s related to the atmospheric pressure in the plane and expanding gas in your intestinal tract, which makes you feel bloated and gassy—not ideal for downing your prenatal vitamins.
What you eat before and during your flight can make tummy troubles worse, too, so skip the processed carbs (just say no to those in-flight pretzels!) and pack your own snacks. We recommend high-protein bites to keep your blood sugar stable, and we have a bunch of beginner-friendly recipes with our ultra-clean, filler-free Collagen Protein Booster. Collagen protein has a number of benefits during pregnancy, and our formula helps ensure you’re hitting your daily protein intake, too.
Make yourself comfortable
This means packing wisely and dressing appropriately. Don’t wait until the last minute!
- Dress in layers. You might find yourself fluctuating between feeling chilly, outright freezing, or absolutely roasting, which means layers are your friend. Wear comfortable clothing and make sure you can peel down to a cool base layer or wrap up if need be.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Slides or flexible flats are key to keep your feet from revolting while you navigate miles in the airport and on board.
- Pack compression socks. This travel staple increases circulation to reduce the risk of swelling or potentially serious clotting issues. By providing steady pressure to your feet and legs, compression socks help your veins and leg muscles circulate blood more efficiently.
- Bring a travel pillow. A good travel pillow will serve you well. Look for a versatile option that will double as lumbar support if you need it!
- Try a foot hammock. This genius little travel accessory buckles onto your tray table and gives your tired tootsies a comfortable place to rest. Elevating your feet immediately takes pressure off your lower back and prevents stiffness in your legs and feet, but note that these things tend to work best if you’re of average height or shorter.
- Consider packing a mister. These days, sitting on the tarmac (and positively baking!) is all too common, and that’s the last thing your already-overheated pregnant self needs. Portable misters, like this hands-free, wearable version, can help you stay cool without irritating fellow passengers.
Get up and move around
Yes, space is tight, but walking up and down the aisle (which you’ll be doing on your multiple trips to the bathroom) will help with circulation, too. Even in your seat, it’s helpful to do some easy leg stretches. Just point and flex your toes and move through some ankle circles in both directions for a minute or two every 30 minutes or so.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, flying with a bun in the oven deserves a little thought. Planning ahead can make a world of difference, so pack with care and enjoy your flight!
- How much water should I drink during pregnancy? (2020). https://www.acog.org/womens-health/experts-and-stories/ask-acog/how-much-water-should-i-drink-during-pregnancy
- Health tips for airline travel. https://www.asma.org/asma/media/asma/Travel-Publications/HEALTH-TIPS-FOR-AIRLINE-TRAVEL-Trifold-2013.pdf