Tips for Flying Long Haul While Pregnant

Like many other mamas to be, I took a babymoon with my husband at the end of my second trimester of pregnancy, with the vacation stretching into my third trimester.

It was the most appropriate time - I had renewed interest in food again after a terrible bout of morning (correction: all day) sickness in the first five months and my bump wasn't too huge to compromise my walking pace. The only damper was that backaches were starting and I experienced shooting ligament pains every now and then with the rapidly stretching uterus.

From Seattle, we flew to South Korea and had a five-day layover before heading home to Singapore. We took a 3-week break in Singapore before flying back to Seattle.

These 3 trips totalled a flight time of 38 hours (= 1.5 day of just being in the air!) and distance travelled of 25,800 kilometers.

We were flying Economy Class on 3 fully booked flights. The husband had wanted to upgrade us, but I felt the money could be better spent on baby!

Tips for Flying Long Haul While Pregnant

These were what I prepared for my long-haul flights to be safe, comfortable and enjoyable:

Letter from my obstetrician confirming I was fit for travel

I was flying internationally on Delta and Korean Air and both airlines did not restrict air travel before 36 weeks of pregnancy. Technically, I didn't have to produce any medical clearance form with my pregnancy details.

But I wanted to err on the safe side of caution (in the very rare event that airline or custom officials were to ask) so I asked my doctor for a simple note that stated estimated due date (EDD) and confirmed my pregnancy to be stable and healthy without complications.

Verdict: True enough, I wasn't asked to present any medical letter but having it in my bag gave me peace of mind.

Medical-grade thigh-length compression stockings

Long-haul flights of four hours or more can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), when a blood clot forms in the leg or pelvis, and being pregnant increases this risk even more. Wearing of compression stockings could help prevent DVT so I got a pair from Amazon.

There were 3 lengths to choose from. I decided on thigh-length based on elimination. Knee length compression stockings could potentially dig into the back of my knees and cause discomfort while full-length compression stockings meant I had to take them on and off whenever I answered nature's call. Thigh-length was the perfect length!

I also chose medical-grade compression stockings instead of ordinary ones to provide better support.

Verdict: I loved the compression stockings! After 19 hours of flight, there wasn't a pressure buildup in my thighs and calves!

Face mask

It is a fact that pregnant women have a lower immune system. I didn't want to pick up germs with the recirculated cabin air, especially on a crowded plane where so many passengers are held in a confined space for long hours.

Verdict: It turns out there were people sneezing and coughing in the rows behind me. With my face mask on, I was doing my best to protect myself from infection risk.

Maternity support belt

Long hours of sitting upright with just a small and flat airline-provided flight pillow propped behind my back really doesn't cut it. My back ached from having to stay in the position for an extended time period.

Wearing a maternity support belt throughout the flights provided much welcome relief from backaches and round ligament pains. It especially helped when I was trying to maneuver in and out of my seat to visit the restroom.

Verdict: Effective in back alignment!

Snacks for the road

At this advanced stage of my pregnancy, I was feeling hunger pangs at random times of the day. On a long-haul flight, there was a blur in day and night so my tummy seemed to act up all the time.

During the lights-off timings when the airline crew wasn't walking the aisles (and I didn't want to buzz them), I tucked into my private stash of cheese bites, crackers and nuts purchased from the airport stores.

Other tips:

Ask for a pat-down instead of going through airport scanners

While airport scanners are thought to be safe for pregnant women, I was still concerned about radiation exposure so I opted out of all screening technology (like the full-body scanner) and requested pat-downs. The airport security agents didn't question or make things difficult. They simply asked me to stand aside while they got a female agent to pat me down.

I hope these tips are useful when you're planning and travelling on long haul flights during your pregnancy! Have a wonderful babymoon before you pop!

Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.

Hi! We are Yunnie & Limin and we used to design customised wedding invitations in Singapore. If you’re here for that, thank you but we no longer design and are sorry that we can’t be a part of your special day. But we welcome you to hang around if you have little people in your life whom you interact and play with. Miraculove is now an education website for caregivers to be inspired by our heart and handmade play ideas, so everyone can make learning fun and stimulating for babies and toddlers.