What I learned about travelling pregnant

There are different challenges to travelling pregnant. From knowing when you’re fit to fly to how to cope in long flights, read on!

Life update: So here’s some big news! I’ve kept this for a while from everyone, but here it goes – I’m pregnant!

25 weeks in now, so I’m halfway through and getting nice and round. My husband and I agreed to keep it to ourselves and only tell our closest and dearest until the 20-week scan like most British partners Travelling.

At 23 weeks, I packed a couple of bags and flew out to the Philippines for a one week holiday in Manila by myself, hoping to get one last visit in to see my loved ones in my other home pre-motherhood and sans baby. Now flying back from my short trip, I am very happy that I did it. A few days of being home in Manila not only helped with the homesickness, it also helped give me a bit of perspective on my roots, something very helpful when bringing a child into the world yourself. 

Travelling Pregnant Alone: Sharing the Decision with my Partner

Booking the flight was a bit of a spur of the moment decision. I’m not entirely sure if it was just the hormones in full effect, but shortly after the 8 week scan, I experienced homesickness and a longing to come back to the motherland and see my family and friends in Manila. Andrew couldn’t unfortunately join me due to work, but we discussed it and he was fine for me to leave on my own. Being pregnant, I wanted to make sure that he was comfortable with the idea of me traveling pregnant by myself.

Complicated Pregnancies

The most important consideration of them all when you are thinking of travelling back home pregnant is whether it is manageable for your and your baby. If you have a complicated pregnancy, it may be hard for you to get the go signal from your doctor to fly out. While you may still be early on into your pregnancy, always remember that travelling can put huge stress on your body and your baby. It is best to keep yours and your baby’s health first.

Airline Restrictions

It doesn’t matter whether you are fully able bodied, when you reach a certain point in your pregnancy a lot of airlines will be hesitant to let you travel. The guidelines are different for every airline, however as a general rule, you are fit to fly until your 30th week of pregnancy.

After then, you are no longer allowed to sit in an airplane to travel. For most airlines, like the ones in the Philippines, they also have strict rules around travelling pregnant from 24 weeks (6 month mark). Most airlines also require that you fill up a form and/or carry a medical note from 24 – 30 weeks.

Do I need a Doctor’s note? How do I get one?

If you are travelling pregnant it would be wise to request a medical certificate from your midwife/GP’s office. It is easy to request for one, you just need to set an appointment where they will ask you questions so they can assess if you are having a healthy pregnancy without complications. This needs to be stated in black and white in the note, along with how far along you will be during the time of your departure and return to the UK, and your Estimated Due Date (EDD).

Here’s an extra tip: It is best to request this note closer to when you fly out. In one of my flights in a local Philippine carrier, they gave me a hard time because my doctor’s note was given to me was a few weeks old, and they apparently had a 1-month validity rule on medical certificates. To avoid the hassle, inform your doctor of your plans to travel as soon as you make the decision, bit request to get the medical certificate closer to your actual travel date.

Do I need Travel Insurance Specifically for Pregnant Women?

Most travel insurance companies will not need you to declare that you are pregnant, however if you are experiencing a complicated pregnancy it will need to be declared as a medical condition. If you and your baby are healthy, you won’t need to change your travel insurance.

Long Haul Flights and The Risk of DVT

If you are travelling on a long haul flight, there is an increased risk of DVT due to the changes in your circulation during your pregnancy. Deep Vein Thrombosis is a very dangerous condition brought about by blood clots due to poor circulation. It can cause great harm to you and your baby.

Getting on a long haul flight? Make sure you have compression stockings on!

To prevent this, make sure you use compression stockings during the flight, drink plenty of water, and get up to move from time to time. You don’t want to have to worry about getting people out of their seats so best book an aisle seat so you can get up and have a stretch whenever you want.

Considerations when booking accommodations

If you are not staying with family, make sure that you really think your accommodations through.

  • If you are travelling pregnant it is best to stay somewhere near a hospital or to at least know how far you are from one for your own peace of mind.
  • If you are staying in an airbnb or a hotel, make sure to give notice of your pregnancy to your host/hotel concierge so that they can help make you comfortable.

Don’t be afraid to ask if you have any specific requests – mine was to get additional pillows so that I can place it around me like I do at home. The hosts of the bnb I stayed in were both gracious enough to grant me this small request, and even advised the condo staff to help me with my baggage and with things such as garbage disposal. I’m sure you’d agree that these little things help when you’re wobbling around trying to acclimatise!

Food Safety

What you’ll find out is that there are a lot of differences between what is culturally and even medically advised when it comes to food and pregnancy in different countries. For example, in the UK, pregnant women are advised not to eat the runny yolk of eggs, raw fish, or soft cheeses, but in other countries, women wouldn’t flinch about indulging in any of these things.

Planning on eating something exotic? Make sure to google what you can and can’t eat! 

Use your best judgement and do a bit of research before you go on a culinary trip. If you are following a strict healthy diet, you need to know ahead of time which places would have something for you in the menu. If you are letting a bit loose and living as the locals do, make sure that it is not at the cost of your baby’s health.

If in doubt, stay away from it. Always make sure to only eat in sanitary and hygienic establishments and try not to drink unfiltered water. Better safe than sorry!

Other considerations – Airports and Queues

Make good use of seating areas and lanes for less abled persons – you don’t want to be on your feet for too long carrying anything too heavy. If you are feeling uncomfortable or tired, speak to a member of staff for assistance.

One tip from me is to take your time – if you are boarding a packed flight it may be better to board last so that you are able to get on the plane without the stress of waiting in a queue.

Whether you are travelling by yourself or you are going on a babymoon before you pop, make sure that you have all of the above sorted out before you fly out so you can have a stress free journey for you and your baby. :} Enjoy!

13 thoughts on “What I learned about travelling pregnant

    • Oh yay! Hello fellow mummy! Yes, pretty close – i hear weeks 20-30 is the fun part of pregnancy so i’m making th emost out of it! lol. Hope you’re well. xx

  1. Congratulations on your pregnancy. I have always wondered things about travelling when pregnant so this was really informative and helpful for me. I’ve never travelled whilst pregnant yet but this post is something to bear in mind for the future.

  2. Wow such an informative post – there is so much more to think about when you’re pregnant, but it is also such an exciting time to be seeing the world 🙂

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