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Travelling with a toddler and during pregnancy- my tips and experience!

After quite some time without overseas travel, we took my three year old on a 10 hour flight to Hawaii. I was also in the very early stages of pregnancy at this time as well (5-7 weeks) so I thought I’d write a little blog article with tips patients have given me and to also share my experience for any other parents out there wanting some reassurance.

* Note: at the time of uploading this I am planning to travel in my second trimester as well so there are some extra tips in here too!

This article will cover:

Travelling with a toddler/ preschooler

Travelling overseas while in the early stages of pregnancy

Travelling with a toddler/ preschooler

Sleeping on the plane

The flight there was an overnight flight so the goal was to get some sleep to reduce jet lag once we arrived. I packed a small pillow for my daughter which meant she could sleep against the window and the arm rest was not poking in to her body which was good! As a Chiropractor it’s natural for me to think about ergonomics from time to time! I had purchased a device called a plane pal. It is an inflatable structure that is designed to inflate and fill up the space in the leg section so that your child can have more horizontal space to sleep on. Initially she was sleeping on me from her window seat but having this gave us the opportunity for her to sleep in a few different positions which helped for a longer flight. You just have to check where you are sitting as you can not use it for aisle seats- window seats and middle seats are fine for most airlines. I’ll attach the link here if that something you want to check out. You can sometimes rent them off Facebook marketplace too!

Staying awake on the plane

For the flight home it was a day time flight so I was told by many to pack as many snacks as possible! That was the main advice given to me from my wonderful experienced patients and that is exactly what I did! I also packed different types of small activities such as:

  • Some of her favourite snacks (kinder surprises and mini Oreos that come in a portable container

  • colouring, drawing pads, polly pockets, pop-it sensory things for her to fidget with, I also packed a change of clothes and a wet bag which was very handy.

  • Plenty of antibacterial wipes as toddlers touch all kinds of random things and can have a lowered immune strength by the end of the holiday.

  • iPad activities (my daughter likes to draw on procreate so that gave us half and hour of something to do!) I also pre downloaded some shows on Netflix in case we got despite! I also purchased a smaller pair of headphones for my daughter so that the passengers on the plane didn’t have to listen to what she wanted to watch either.

Travelling overseas while in the early stages of pregnancy

Before I go ahead and share my experience please keep in mind that this is just my personal experience, I spoke to my GP about this trip and was told it would be fine for me to fly.

[Trigger warning: brief mention of previous pregnancy loss]

Prior to this pregnancy I had experienced two miscarriages- a chemical pregnancy at 4 weeks and a miscarriage at 6 weeks so it was something on my mind at the time of the trip. However, I try to remind myself that a positive mindset goes a long way and to treat each pregnancy as it’s own experience. I figured if everything goes well, I would have two weeks in my first trimester where I am not at work, I am (mostly) relaxed and my husband could be hands on with my daughter when it came to lifting etc so it worked out to be good for us this time around. I also kept in mind that at this stage of pregnancy, there is not many ways of monitoring progress and also if this was not meant to be, my body would also tell me that. I packed pads just in case but also kept in mind that stressing about something that has not happened is also not good for my health either. So this choice is a very personal one for you and your family and my approach will not be the same as others. In the end, everything went well ( I was quite sick for the second half of the trip but it meant things were progressing nicely) and I would be coming home to having a dating scan in the next 24hrs of arriving back home!

During the trip

You may need anti-nausea options

My GP gave me some anti-nausea medication as she and I anticipated that this may come in handy during my trip. I managed to handle my previous “morning” (for me it all day/night) sickness without taking anything however my women’s health physiotherapist recommended I take some to protect my pelvic floor during this time - something I overlooked in my first pregnancy!

Bring your prenatal supplements and medications

For this period of time it is important to take your prenatal supplements. I also brought with me a magnesium supplements as it is great for cramping, muscle fatigue and generally something we are deficient in! A great way to stay hydrated during the trip as you may get a bit fatigued during this stage of pregnancy.

Snack often

Make sure you have frequent small amounts of food if possible too!

Get some compression socks and tights!

I used the SRC compression socks even in my first trimester as I tend to swell on planes!

If you are at a point in your pregnancy where you feel that you are showing and know you may be walking a fair bit on your trip I STRONGLY recommend a pair of SRC pregnancy shorts/leggings. For me they give me jus the right amount of compression and they also strop my thighs from chaffing when I do a fair bit of walking. What I also love is that you can’t put them on incorrectly whereas with a pregnancy belt its not going to disperse the force as evenly and it will usually hold one area rigidly but then send your problem elsewhere.

Depending where you are travelling to- get in the water!

Water and exercise have a great knack at reducing illness, it gives your body a break from gravity and I managed to sneak in some Aquanatal™️ exercise at the pool and felt amazing after! You may find with the surge of hormones in your first trimester you can get bloating and back pain with relaxin increasing so water supports you beautifully at this time.

So that wraps up are some of my tips and personal experience with flying during pregnancy with a toddler! I hope this can help someone out there and please feel free to drop a comment with your thoughts or any other tips you have for other parents!

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