When you’re a few months away from expecting your first baby, the thought of one last weekend away, or a slightly longer trip abroad, with your other half can be tempting. Enjoying some quality time together before the reality of sleepless nights and nappy duty sink in is important and many couples plan a break away in advance of the baby’s due date.
However, mums to be often worry about flying during pregnancy, wondering which week is too late to risk flying, how far is too far to fly, and whether they’ll be properly insured at all stages of their pregnancy.
If these questions sound familiar to you, first of all, let’s round up the facts about flying during pregnancy:
• Flying during pregnancy is not harmful to your baby; the only risk to think about when you’re nearing your due date is going into labour halfway across the Atlantic! You should also take more care regarding DVT as the risk increases in pregnant women.
• The safest time to fly is before 37 weeks, even though the thought of that to me is ridiculous (more on that later).
• You can fly up to your 28th week without informing anyone as long as your pregnancy has been progressing normally. You should, however, mention your plans to your midwife, just in case she has any tips for you.
• After 28 weeks, you will need a pregnancy information form.
• Airline rules differ, so check with whatever airline you’re flying with before you book any flights. Bear in mind that the majority of airlines won’t let you fly after 36 weeks.
So, those are the facts, but how about the reality? Well, we went away to Nice when I was 24 weeks pregnant and on the whole it was a fantastic trip, but there are some tips I can now share from my own experience:
• Don’t fly too far. Obviously this is up to you and you can feel free to whizz off to Australia if you feel up to it, but for me, a quick two hour hop to Nice was perfect and pretty much stress-free.
• Pick a reputable airline. Now isn’t the time to be skimping with the likes of Ryanair, with rubbish legroom and dodgy service. This is your chance to pay a little more to travel with the likes of British Airways, who offer plenty of legroom in economy, a free meal, and, most importantly, a free and decent cup of tea to help you relax!
• When you take out travel insurance, make sure you read the small print! I did some Googling to find companies that specifically stated their sympathies towards pregnant travellers and ended up going for a policy with Goodtogoinsurance.com that I felt very comfortable with.
• Try to fly during the second trimester. Some women feel wary about going abroad during their first trimester due to the risk of things going wrong, and waiting until your third trimester is, in my opinion, a brave move (you never know when the baby might want to make an appearance!). The problem with the flight experience during pregnancy isn’t on the plane; it’s at the airport. Even at 24 weeks pregnant, I felt a bit uncomfortable standing around in the hot conditions at Nice airport, and people weren’t exactly going out of their way to make room for me/offer me a seat etc. I think at a few weeks past the 24 week stage, my temper would have been a little more frayed than it was!