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Terrified of flying - should I do it when pregnant?

(13 Posts)
dinny Sun 28-Mar-04 13:16:14

Hi, bit of a weird question really. I am SO terrified of flying. I hardly ever do it unless I HAVE to, and then I take Valium to calm madly-jumping heart down.

I SO want to go on a sunshine holiday before second baby comes - we've never been abroad except France as I hate flying so much.

Should I try and get on plane now I am pregnant. Obviously I won't be able to take Valium, but I'm worried my extreme physical reaction to being on a plane might harm baby. What do you think?

MrsDoolittle Sun 28-Mar-04 14:51:17

Baby is probably too vulnerable in the first trimester and you are not allowed to fly in the last trimester anyway.

Helsbels Sun 28-Mar-04 14:53:25

dinny,
I find that pregnancy actually calms me - it is like a shield. I lost a friend ( a very close one) to suicide in my first pregnancy and a very dear friend to accidental death caused by her husbands unfaithfulness this time but I felt as though I was looking at it all through some one elses eyes. I feel sure you will be ok, I could talk you through some relaxation if you wanted to e-mail me ( I'll pick up at work Monday). I feel very strongly though that there is no reason not to do this and it will open pathways for the future. Whatever you decide, your baby will be fine {{{{}}}}

popsycal Sun 28-Mar-04 14:56:09

Dinny - i too hate flying but am not terrified but have been known to sit with tears in my eyes on landing and taking off.

HOwever, in February, myself and ds (then 18 months) flew to cardiff alone to visit a friend. I was dreading it incase i totally freaked out with ds by myself. But it was the best flight I have ever had. Becasue I was solely responsible for him and had to distract him and make it fun, I was fine. We did sticker books, read, ate raisins, looked out of the window. He sat on my knee all the while and was an absolute angel.

When we fly again, even if DH is there, I will have ds for the take off and landing as it really helped me to be busy and distracted.

How old is your oldest? Are you too pregnant to have him//her on your knee? Or is your fear way way worse than mine?

HTH

expatkat Sun 28-Mar-04 15:05:03

Dinny I didn't fly overseas at all during first pregnancy for same reason. I just couldn't put myself (& baby too) through the inevitable panic attacks with no recourse to valium. I did, however, take short haul flights: London to Amsterdam, London to Rome. I got some cognitive behavioral therapy and learned relaxation exercises, & made sure I was well distracted with a pile of lite magazines. I wasn't *happy* but I got through the flights & at least wasn't homebound for the entire 9 months, though I didn't get to see my relatives back in the US at all.

By my second pregnancy I'd done enough work on my fear of flying (& by work I partly mean not avoiding it!) that I was OK.

What trimester are you in? I found I was best (psychologically) during the second & even third trimesters. Sources of anxiety were no longer sources of anxiety for me to same extent. If you, too, feel braver with the "good" pregnancy hormones going through your body, maybe this *is* the time to try it.

Also check with someone about the safety of the occasional valium. I was shocked to be told by my obstetric consultant that valium & equivalent are prescribed quite often & are now considered to be OK in pregnancy, particularly in certain trimesters. Yet others say no. . .So do check. You may be able to rely on your valium as a last-resort solution after all.

expatkat Sun 28-Mar-04 15:06:18

What I was saying about the good hormones is what Helsbels is saying about pregnancy being a kind of "shield." I agree with that.

MrsDoolittle Sun 28-Mar-04 15:10:19

BA told me they wouldn't fly me in my last trimester - how did you manage that expatkat?

dinny Sun 28-Mar-04 15:17:40

Thanks so much everyone. We are planning a break towards end of May - I will be about 26 weeks-ish. So 2nd trimester.

When I fly (last time was Christmas 2002 with dd1 on my knee - six-seater plane) I just can't stop crying madle on takeoff and landing. Calm down a bit in the air usually. DD is nearly two - it does help to have her with me.

Helsbels, thanks - I will mail you re relaxation techniques. Sorry to hear of your losses.

I do feel I really want to get on a plane and have a lovely family holiday in the sun instead of having dreary rainy holidays in this country.
Thanks all.

MrsGrump Sun 28-Mar-04 15:21:29

MrsDoolittle: I think it depends on the airline. Some have a cut off of 28 weeks, but some will let you fly up to 32-33 weeks if you have a letter from your GP saying you're at low risk. Some women just lie and fly as late as 36 weeks if they think they can get away with it.
Stress hormones in you can affect the baby, Dinny, although you'd be hard-pressed to find out for sure if it was a permanent effect. What about just taking a day to go by Eurostar to the south of France?

Hayls Sun 28-Mar-04 15:22:32

Dinny, I too am not a fan of lying, although not terified. I discovered I was pregnant the week before I was due to go to France last year, involving 2 flights each way. I was 8 weeks by the time we went and although I was a bit more apprehensive my mw assured me it was OK to fly. I think long-term exposure to stress can upset the baby but the occasional upset probably wouldn't do any harm. Like expatkat said, it would probably depend on how far gone you were and your best bet would be to talk to your mw/gp. I was told that I couldn't fly after 28 weeks but with gp's permission I could travel up to 34 weeks ( I think!).
Could you go somewhere hot on a short flight ( I know, easier said than done! South of France in June last year was lovely, possibly even too hot and it's only just over an hour from London)
HTH- probably not though!

Hayls Sun 28-Mar-04 15:24:37

I'm also not a fan of Flying. Sorry, posts crossed.

dinny Sun 28-Mar-04 15:27:52

Just worried I'll go into labour if I get really stressed (like when flying). Paranoid as dd1 was early and I am convinced it had something to do with the fact I finished work the day before (ie. emotions affecting baby).
Maybe that's my answer....

aloha Sun 28-Mar-04 16:55:59

Dinny, if you want the holiday, have it. A bit of worry really won't hurt your baby. People have had babies under much more stress and they've been ok.

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