Sounds crazy right? What kind of pregnant woman would subject herself to 30+ hours of travel while she’s 9-months pregnant? Throw in the 3 other kids and you might think I need to have my head examined.
Honestly, when people found out that we would be moving to the other side of the world when I was this pregnant, almost everyone thought I was crazy. Once you realize that my options were 1). travel 9 months pregnant with 3 kids and a husband, or 2). travel with 4 kids (one newborn and a 21 month old) on the same flight by myself; well option 1 starts sounding much more appealing then, eh?
I planned for the worst – to feel sore, uncomfortable and pretty miserable post-flight. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth everything went.
Here are a few things that I learned:
In the past, we’ve always just gone for the cheapest option. We figured that we could survive any discomfort for a few hours, especially if it saved us a few bucks However, this time around, I quickly learned that not all airlines are created equal. Our first leg of our flight was a 2 hour trip from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles on Delta. It was your typical domestic flight. Translation: airflow was poor, seats were small, and leg room was almost non-existent. I was horribly uncomfortable and the thought of a 16 hour flight in a few hours brought me to tears.
For the remainder of our trip, we flew on Emirates…and I fell in love (with the airline that is). The seats were roomy, there was ample leg room (and I’m 5’10”), and the plane was not only clean but was pretty state of the art with fantastic in-flight entertainment options at each seat. Shockingly, even the food was good. I can truthfully say that I was pretty comfortable during the whole flight!
2). Catering to kids is a MUST
3). Know each airlines rules
Every airline has different regulations regarding flying pregnant. Some won’t let you fly after 32 weeks, while others will let you go up until the end. In all of our research, it seemed most common for airlines to accept travel until 34-35 weeks. I was flying at almost 37 weeks and the only airlines I could find to accept me were Delta, British Airways, and Emirates. When flying this pregnant, be very careful to check into their regulations and know that it’s always a good idea to carry a clearance letter from your doctor saying that you are fit to fly (even if they don’t require one). Even while following all of the rules, try not to draw attention to the fact that you’re really pregnant. Even while wearing baggy clothes and hanging back behind my husband, we still had some significant delays (30-45 minutes) at each stop where they thoroughly examined all my paperwork and checked with multiple levels of management to see if they would allow me to fly (since I was within 2 days of their cut-off). Not wanting to be stuck at a random stop on our journey, we found it best to laugh lots and smile! Afterall, this is one of those situations where it’s much better to have friends than enemies!
Not only does relaxing eliminate a lot of emotional stress, but this late in pregnancy, it also eliminates a lot of physical stress. For me, it helped to have a mental plan of how I expected the trip to go along with a list of “what if’s” to fall back on if things got rough. Communicating those with my husband was also crucial, since he still hasn’t learned to read my mind
5). Dress for Comfort
I started off the trip in a pair of yoga pants, thinking that they would be my best bet. Those were quickly changed for my pajamas once I finally let go of how I looked and started to focus on how I felt. I knew I needed to be as comfortable as possible and that starting with my dress was a great way to accomplish that. Afterall, the only people from that flight that I would likely ever see again see me in my pj’s daily! Another lifesaver was compression socks and loose fitting shoes. Bye-bye monstrously swollen, post travel ankles!