Traveling In The Third Trimester – What Worked, What Didn’t.

I’m not an expert or a doctor, but I did a great deal of research before flying from North Carolina to Texas at 31 weeks pregnant. For most women, unless you have complications like preeclampsia, there isn’t a reason why you couldn’t fly before 35 weeks. In fact, some doctors will clear you to fly even later.  After this experience, I wouldn’t want to fly any later – not because anything bad happened to me, but because airports are a pretty big source of stress, no matter who you are. 
At 20 weeks, I told my OB team about my travel plans, and they totally put my mind at ease. There are plenty of things you can do to make traveling while pregnant easier, and I tried a great deal of them. 

My mom, sleeping like a little airplane angel while I am hardcore stocked by the lady in the row behind us.

Advice I Got For Traveling While Pregnant

1. Compression socks. The number one thing doctors worry about with flying at any stage of pregnancy is circulation. Sitting for long periods of time can cause blood to gather in your legs, creating a clot that could potentially make its way to your lungs or heart. I wore compression stockings and leggings along with very supportive shoes both ways. 

The verdict:

I can’t say for sure whether or not the compression gear saved my life, by any means. But I will save this: I was super comfy. And the compression gear saved me from any swelling from the plane and frantic walks from terminal to terminal, so I didn’t have to worry about edema when I changed into my rehearsal dinner dress. 

Word to the wise, though: take off the compression socks as soon as you get to where you’re going. They’ll leave some pretty unsightly lines on your legs that you won’t want if your wearing a dress and heels.

2. Walk the aisles. This one can be a little tricky, especially if you hate to bother people. I was really nervous when my doctor told me that I needed to walk the aisle of the plane every 45 minutes. My flights were very early in the morning, so I was worried about disrupting sleepers and asking people to let me through. 

The verdict:

For me, this didn’t always feel possible. I was able to walk once on my flight that was 1.5 hours long with no trouble. But any other time I tried, I was blocked in by drink carts, etc. On one flight, I was even wedged in between two passengers who didn’t speak English. Asking for help getting out of the seat was not really an option. 

In a pinch, get up as much as possible, wait to sit if you can, and keep plane-friendly exercises and stretches like these saved to your phone.

3. Opt for a direct flight. This piece of advice is the only one I flat out disagreed with. Since walking the aisles proved to be so difficult, walking at our layover airport was ,unbeaten chance at getting moving, possibly for the whole weekend. There was a lot of sitting to be done, between flying, waiting at terminals, getting my hair and makeup done, and driving to and from the airport. 

The verdict:

Don’t be afraid of layovers, but make sure you have ample time to take it slow on the way to your next gate. Running is not going to be an option, and you’ll need to stop and get a water. The cups they give you on the plane are so tiny.

Other advice for traveling while pregnant

  • Don’t be afraid to pre-board. This isn’t rude. If you have to lift bags, you’re going to need help from a flight attendant. And if you wait to load in zone 4, chances are they will be caught up with other people and you’ll have to wait, holding up the line. Other passengers will thank you. 
  • Check bags when possible, without the fee. I always carry on. But overhead bins always overfilled. You can volunteer to have your bag checked and ready for you at the next gate in most airlines for no extra charge. Many times, they will even require it. 
  • Bring lotion and water. I brought grove hand cream from home, and even though airport water is so expensive, it was non-negotiable. The in flight air is so dehydrating, and not just for my skin. I tried to put down a bottle of water each flight, and put up scented hand cream on my face and hands so my skin wouldn’t dry and break out before the wedding. 
Again, I’m not an expert on this subject, but all of these tips can easily be used whether you’re traveling pregnant or otherwise. Circulation and hydration are no joke, people. I’m looking forward to trying all the tips the internet has to offer for traveling with an infant when the time comes. But just like no two babies are exactly alike, no two pregnancies are. What works for me might not work for you. So, if you have other tips that are worth sharing, or had a totally different experience to what you read here, DM me on Instagram and tell me all about it!

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becs lynk

thanks for visiting! there's a first time for everything, and I share those firsts here every week. to chat one on one, follow me on Instagram @becs.lynk

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