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Top pregnancy travel tips

Driving and flying in pregnancy

At 31 weeks pregnant, you might be wondering what effect your beautiful new bump will have on your life. Can you still travel by plane? Is it safe to drive while pregnant? And, if so, what’s the best way to fasten your seatbelt?

The good news is that you’re pregnant, not ill, so there’s no reason you can’t still meet friends and go and visit family. As long as you feel up to it, you can be just as mobile as you were before! But before you zoom off, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.

Driving during pregnancy

Yes, it’s OK to drive throughout pregnancy, but there are some safety tips worth knowing. Here’s our advice for driving when pregnant:

  • Always wear a seatbelt, even on short, familiar journeys.
  • The safest way to wear your seatbelt is to position the shoulder belt between your breasts and to the side of your bump. Then secure the lap belt below your bump and as low as possible over your hips.
  • If you find the seatbelt is rubbing against your neck, adjust the seat or belt until you’re more comfortable.
  • Keep the airbags on, as this will offer extra protection.
  • You might need to adjust your seat. If so, make sure your mirror is still in the right position and that you can comfortably reach the pedals.
  • Move your seat as far as possible from the dashboard and steering wheel – but make sure you can still see the mirror and reach the pedals easily.

Flying when pregnant

Thinking of flying away from it all? A relaxing holiday will do you the world of good, but again, there are a few things to consider:

  • Avoid destinations that require vaccinations or malaria pills.
  • Check with the airline that it’s OK for you to fly. Different airlines have different rules, but long-haul flying is not usually recommended after 28-32 weeks. However, some airlines will let you fly short distances until 36 weeks.
  • Make sure your travel insurance covers pregnancy-related medical costs, including premature delivery.
  • Ask if the airline needs to see any medical documents. It can be worth taking a letter from your midwife stating:
    • your pregnancy is normal, with no complications
    • your due date
    • whether you’re expecting more than one baby
    • Airport metal detectors are safe for pregnant women – the low-level exposure is similar to the electromagnetic field given off by many home appliances.
    • Pressurised cabins are fine, too – the oxygen levels are safe for healthy pregnant women.
    • Your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy so don’t forget the high-factor sunscreen!

    Have a comfortable flight

    • It’s worth asking for a seat with extra legroom. This will give you more space for your bump, too
    • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and a pair of socks, especially on longer flights.
    • Take a small pillow to give your back extra support.
    • Remember to pack some healthy snacks for the plane, and to drink lots of water.

    Take regular walks around the cabin to improve your circulation.

    Read more about travelling safely