Baby on Board – What to know when flying while pregnant

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Flying while pregnant is usually safe and problem-free. However, it is best not to travel abroad if your pregnancy is in any way complicated.

If you are in a high-risk group, for example having a multiple pregnancy, have diabetes, are significantly overweight, have an increased chance of thrombosis, premature labour or bleeding, then it may be wiser to postpone air travel until you have safely delivered.

As far as miscarriage is concerned, if you are beyond ten weeks, the chances of it occurring are small no matter where you are and flying.

istock - 185248074As a general rule, you should not fly much beyond 34 weeks because of the risk of premature labour or other complications occurring unexpectedly in a foreign environment. If something was to go wrong, your travel home could be restricted and you could end up spending the last six weeks of your pregnancy away from your family and usual medical attendants.

CABIN PRESSURE

This is lower than normal air pressure and can fluctuate during the flight, placing added strain on your heart and lungs, as they have to work harder to provide you with oxygen. If you have high blood pressure, a history of blood clots, or circulatory problems, you are in the high-risk category. Bear in mind also that in the 3rd trimester your blood pressure can increase anyway.

DEHYDRATION

Aircraft cabins are much drier than the normal atmosphere you breathe in, so make sure you drink plenty of water (no alcohol) during your flight.

DVT

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when, usually through inactivity, a clot forms in a leg vein, breaks up, and travels to somewhere much more serious like the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. DVT is considered the biggest air travel risk for pregnant women – who are 5 times more likely to develop it. The recommended precautions are to wear flight socks, keep your feet and ankles flexing and get up to walk about every half hour or so.

Read more about this article in our July/August double issue – On the shelves now ……..

July_Aug 2017

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