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Flying while pregnant: an essential packing list for your hand luggage.

Flying while pregnant doesn't have to be any more complicated than your pre-pregnancy travels, but with morning sickness or a growing bump to contend with, there are a few things to bring onboard that will certainly make life more comfortable.

I flew to Madeira at 3 months pregnant, France at 4 months and Australia at 6 months pregnant (flying back at 7 months) -

Here is my essential hand luggage packing list for what I found really useful flying while pregnant:

  • Your maternity notes if they're a paper version - in the UK, many women have theirs online now like My Pregnancy Notes or the Badger app.

  • Any medication you've been prescribed - if it's over 100ml you'll need proof that it's yours, such as a doctor's letter or a copy of the prescription.

  • Your Fit to Fly letter - after 28 weeks of pregnancy, most airlines will require a letter from your doctor to confirm your due dates and to prove that you're well enough to fly and that your pregnancy is progressing without complications. Some airlines have their own templates that need to be filled in or a prewritten letter that you can print off and ask your doctor to sign, some will just have a list of bullet points for your doctor to include in a letter - check before you travel.

  • Your travel insurance documents - be sure to check the small print as well, my insurance that I used for Australia only covered me up til 32 weeks pregnant. It's also worth sussing out where the maternity hospital in your destination is ahead of time, just in case.

  • Your compression socks - you have an increased risk of developing DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clots) on long flights while pregnant. My midwife advised that for anything longer than 4 hours of flying you should really be wearing compression socks, but double check this with your own healthcare provider as you might have pre-existing conditions that might warrant wearing flight socks even on shorter flights. Don't despair at the thought of shelling out for granny style unattractive beige stockings though, check out Not Your Grandma's for some seriously snazzy options!

  • Something for anti nausea - Have a couple of sick bags to hand, plus some chewable ginger or lemon hard boiled sweets. Equally, I've always found acupressure wristbands like Seabands to be really effective for preventing nausea.

  • Heartburn tablets - Heartburn is a common symptom in your second and third trimester and certainly became a frequent and unwelcome visitor for me. The last thing you want when stuck on a plane is that awful burny acidic feeling, so have your heartburn tablets easily accessible ready to calm things down when needed.

  • Face wipes - Long haul travel can make you feel grimy and tired even if you're not pregnant, so having a pack of face wipes to freshen up with or cool yourself down will be a real treat.

  • Rollerball/aromatherapy oils -If you're feeling anxious about travelling while pregnant, pamper yourself with a few drops of calming aromatherapy oil on a hanky that you can inhale, or a rollerball for your wrists. Relaxing lavender or cheerful manderin are great choices, just make sure that anything you carry on board is under 100ml in size so that you can bring it through security in your clear bag.

  • Snacks and water - I don't know about you, but now I'm in my third trimester I'm constantly ravenous! Pack plenty of healthy snacks for your flight like cereal bars, fruit and nuts, especially if having an empty stomach makes you feel sick. It will also help you to keep your blood sugar levels, avoiding that annoying pregnancy dizziness and you if you can't face the on-board meal options you'll still have food.

Related content:

What to wear flying while pregnant:

Comfy clothes  

Stretchy maternity leggings and a loose top were my go to clothes for flying while pregnant - I couldn't bear tight waistbands in any of my three trimesters. Planes can get chilly, so pack warm layers that you can take off when needed (I found it harder to regulate my body temperature in later pregnancy) - a thin jumper or microfleece can also be rolled up to bolster your lower back and help you sit up straight.

Slip on shoes

As your bump grows, your centre of gravity can change which can make you feel off balance. Wearing slip on shoes means that you can easily kick them off on the flight and not having laces saves bending down in security if you need to take off your shoes and put them back on again. Which ever slip on shoes you choose, make sure they're not too tight in case your feet swell.

NB - we are not medically trained and every pregnancy is different, so the tips in this blog comes entirely from my own experiences of travelling while pregnant. If you have any specific concerns regarding your own pregnancy, complications and travel, please discuss these with and seek advice from your midwife, OBGYN or healthcare provider for specific medical answers before your trip, especially if you're traveling to a place with different healthcare facilities to those at home or traveling long distances.

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