by Briana Wilson
After getting that positive pregnancy test you might feel like you're already "flying high," but what if you're actually scheduled to take off into the wild blue yonder?
You have lots of questions, including if it's really safe to travel in the friendly skies.
While most doctors say it's safe to travel in your first trimester, planning and preparing for those special pregnancy challenges allows you to enjoy your travel time.
"Morning" sickness doesn't always happen in the morning. Many expectant moms quickly discover that this symptom of pregnancy can strike at any hour. Having nausea while flying, seems like it could potentially cause undo anxiety as you try your best to avoid creating a "scene" or just doing your best not to throw up. As your queasiness sets in, an attempt to make it down the aisle could turn into a disastrous mistake if the bathrooms are "occupied."
"When I worked for the airlines, that actually happened on a flight...a pregnant woman got 'that look'...and quickly climbed over her companions in an attempt to get to the bathroom versus having a public display. The barf bags are in the seat backs for a good reason. She would have been MUCH better off as would those in the aisle seats of three rows she hit." ~MJ, Pregnancy.org member
We recommend these pointers to help you enjoy your flight, even if nausea's your seat mate:
Unfortunately, one in every four pregnancies may end in miscarriage. Most of these losses happen within the first trimester. Statistics indicate that flying doesn't increase your chance of miscarriage. Let your medical caregiver know you'll be traveling. If you're experiencing early symptoms of what you suspect may be a loss, you might consider postponing your travel. Dealing with a loss away from home can be more difficult physically and emotionally. Take heart that at least 75% women go on to deliver their babies at term.
All commercial flights have pressured cabins set to the equivalent of 5,000 to 8,000 feet (about the altitude of Denver). If you come from a low altitude area, the change in air pressure will affect you somewhat. Your heart rate and blood pressure will increase to help your body with its oxygen intake. Try these tips for coping and adjusting:
Healthy women with no serious medical problems, and their baby-to-be usually have little to no trouble in a pressurized cabin. If you have severe anemia, sickle cell disease, a history of blood clots or placental insufficiency talk with your doctor or midwife before flying. Supplemental oxygen can be prescribed for use in the air.
My doctor wanted me to be aware that some doctors believe that it's not a good idea to fly on longer flights in the first trimester due to the higher UV radiation levels at higher elevations. She also happened to mention that since the baby's vital organs develop between weeks 7 and 10, that could be a bad idea.