It can be fun and it can be terrible, it really depends on how you look after yourself! I was lucky enough to have a work trip to our head office in New Jersey in July, I left Australia when I was 29 weeks and flew back in 3 days before 32 weeks, which is where our insurance company cut us off for coverage.
I was worried about the trip, given how long it was and how hot it would be in NY and Vegas, but it wasn’t too bad. I also did multiple domestic trips in my 3rd trimester so I thought I would compile a list of some tips to help you get through.
- Have medical clearance. I know this sounds obvious, but don’t think that just because other people travel that it is safe for you to do too. I had a note from my obstetrician for every flight, that became a little tedious after a while. Particularly given that I never once got asked to show my letter!
- Check the airline policy. Some airlines have vastly different policies when it comes to pregnancy and it could be very costly if you book on a more conservative airline where you need medical clearance within 72 hours of flying (I am looking at you, Virgin Atlantic).
- Compression stockings. These were a lifesaver! I am again not giving any medical advice about clot prevention or what have you, but my obstetrician made sure I wore these on the plane but they actually made a massive difference to the swelling and I will definitely be wearing them in the future on long haul flights even without being pregnant.
- Hydration. I try to make sure I was drinking about a 600mL bottle of water each hour, I was thirsty though so it wasn’t too tricky. I drank even more on domestic flights because I wouldn’t sleep.
- Stay Active. Move around when you are on the plane! I am an excellent traveler (If I do say so myself) and for long haul flights I would normally get on the plane and have some dinner and then promptly fall asleep for almost the entire flight. Not such a great idea when you are at higher risk for clots. So, I was probably up about every hour to ninety minutes anyway needing to pee with all the water I was drinking so the two went hand in hand!
- Stretch and roll – I took an awesome little spikey ball with me on long haul (including Perth) flights and it was great to ease the pain in my lower back and butt and easy to use in your seat. You essentially just sit on it. I would also recommend doing some simple stretches to keep you feeling comfy on the flight.
- Exit Row vs Tray Table – After about 32 weeks, I was no longer offered the exit row because I was seen as a bit of a liability probably but understandably. However, this was about the same time as I could no longer put my tray table down to eat!