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Flying During Pregnancy

Taking a trip while youíre pregnant can be a great way to de-stress and celebrate the upcoming birth. There are a few precautions to follow, however.

1. The best time to fly is between 14-28 weeks of pregnancy. That advice comes from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Before then, you may be dealing with extreme fatigue and nausea; later in your pregnancy you may be too big and uncomfortable to enjoy yourself. There is also a small risk of preterm labor when flying late in pregnancy.

2. Bring a doctorís note. Many airlines will not allow a pregnant woman to fly during her final month of pregnancy. If youíre showing, itís best to bring along a doctorís note specifying how far along you are and stating that youíre in good health.

3. Use a major airline. Flying in small planes is risky during pregnancy since many arenít pressurized. Flying in an unpressurized cabin could lead to a lowered oxygen supply for both you and your baby.

4. Choose your seat carefully. An aisle seat will give you more space to stretch your legs and make getting up to use the bathroom easier. Remember that pregnant women arenít allowed to sit in exit rows.

5. Prevent or minimize swelling. Try bringing a small pillow so you can elevate your feet. Dress in loose comfortable clothing and make sure your shoes arenít too tight since your feet will most likely be a bit larger by tripís end. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed; this can aggravate varicose veins.

6. Stay hydrated. Getting dehydrated will increase fatigue and could make you feel headachy. Drink plenty of water (at least 8 oz per hour).

7. Stretch your legs. Donít just sit the entire flight, get up and walk around or do some simple stretches in your seat. Rotate your ankles, do some neck and shoulder rolls, bend over and touch your toes.

8. Request a special meal. If your flight will have meal service, make sure itís something youíll want to eat. If not donít be afraid to put in a special meal request. Or just pack your own meal, including a lean protein source and whole grains.

9. Prevent blood clots. There is an increased risk of blood clots while flying, especially while pregnant. You can prevent them by moving around and wearing supportive stockings or nylons.

10. Avoid heavy lifting. If youíre flying alone, ask for help from airline personnel when you need it. Donít try to lift heavy bags into an overhead compartment. How much is too much? Opinions differ, but lifting anything more than 25-30 lbs or so may increase your risk of muscle injury.




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