Is Air Travel Safe When Pregnant?

A new study done by the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) says air travel during a normal pregnancy without complications, even into the third trimester, isn’t risky for the mother or her baby.  The RCOG study says the main cause for concern is the possibility of early labor or an obstetric emergency developing during a flight.  “For uncomplicated pregnancies there is no reason to give advice against commercial air travel, and specifically there is no issue with travel in early pregnancy as the main consideration is risk of labor,”  said Professor Ian Greer, from the University of Liverpool and author of the paper. “However if the woman has a history of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy it would be sensible to suggest ultrasound prior to travel to confirm the location and viability of the pregnancy.”

The RCOG study recommends that if traveling internationally, travel insurance that covers pregnancy be purchased in advance.   As with all travelers, sitting in a seat for long periods of time does increase in risk of  thrombosis by up to 3 times.  Pregnant women flying four hours or more should wear graduated compression stockings.  Said Professor Greer, “While the risk of developing DVT in flight varies depending on the individual’s risk factors, it is a concern of most pregnant women and there is reasonable evidence to support the use of graduated elastic compression stockings to reduce this risk further.”

Women planning to fly in their third trimester should contact their airline prior to buying a ticket.  Some carries deny boarding to women in their last few weeks of a pregnancy.

The paper rules out any danger to the mother or child from airport body scanners, as the radiation levels used are so low. The Department of Transport and Health Protection Agency added that the total radiation dose from airport scanners is less than that received from two minutes flying at cruising altitude, or from one hour on the ground.

By: Pete@BrightLife Direct
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