Pregnancy wellness tips | what are the health risks of flying and how to manage?

flying-while-pregnantPregnant passengers often get conflicting information like what are the risks of flying from friends and family with airline restrictions. According to Brisbane obstetrician Dr Will Milford, while there are some special things that you should take into consideration. Dr Will Milford says flying while pregnant carries very little additional risk. Flying does not have any effect on the pregnancy. A pregnant woman cannot get into labor or break the waters from flying. What airlines are worried about is a woman giving birth on the plane and the risks increases as the date gets close to the due date.

Rules of airlines:

The rules of restriction of flying for pregnant woman are varying from airline to airline and it also depends on the length of the flight.

Health risks from lying:

Dr Milford says DVT or Deep vein thrombosis is the main health concern. This is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the leg, which can cause complications such as pain, inflammation and swelling.  The greater danger with these clots is that they can dislodge and travel through the circulatory system, blocking blood supply to the lungs. The risk of DVT is increases when pregnant and being immobile for long periods is also a risk factor, so it’s worth keeping in mind for any sort of travel, including long car trips.

Tips to avoid DVT:

The things Dr Milford suggests to reduce that risk is to make sure you’re well hydrated, to make sure you’re well mobilized during the flight and to wear compression stockings. He adds in a very rare case, women with a higher risk of clotting may be on special medication to guard against this, but this would be part of an ongoing conversation with a doctor regardless of travel plans.

How cosmic radiation affects:

Cosmic radiation comes in the form of high-energy particles from outer space. At ground level, protected by Earth’s thick atmosphere, our exposure is very low but it increases at altitude. According to Dr Milfor the pregnant woman who flies very occasionally, it shouldn’t be a consideration. He says the affect of radiation is really very low if you get single flight. Very frequent flyers — like flight crew or some business travelers — have higher levels of exposure, but even then, 100 hours in the air only presents a “very small theoretical risk”, and still less than other radiation sources people might encounter on the ground.

Tips for flying during pregnancy:

  • Get a letter from your health provider as per your airline’s requirements
  • Reduce the risk of DVT by staying well hydrated, staying mobile during the flight and wearing compression stockings
  • Make sure your travel insurance covers pregnancy-related conditions, just in case something does happen while you’re away
  • Carry a hard copy of your pregnancy summary with you when you travel, just in case you need medical treatment during your trip.

Dr Milford says “The major thing is emphasizing that pregnancy isn’t a disease,” During pregnancy also you’re just as healthy as you normally are.

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