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Flying in pregnancy: real risks and unfounded myths

Flying in pregnancy: real risks and unfounded myths


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Most airlines have some kind of restriction or safety regulations regarding pregnant women. Some ask for a medical certificate that guarantees that the pregnant woman does not suffer from any disorder that prevents her from flying and, most, do not recommend flying to women in the final stretch of their pregnancy.

There are actually few risks associated with flying in pregnancy and the restrictions are based more on the risks to the company rather than the pregnant woman. In any case, it is advisable to know the real and unfounded risks of flying in pregnancy.

It is possible that, during your pregnancy, you need to take a plane and this should not be a cause for concern if you have a normal pregnancy without any complications. In fact, there are women who, because of their work, have to fly constantly during pregnancy and have had pregnancies and deliveries without any problems.

However, if the flight is long and you have to spend many hours on a plane, experts warn about deep vein thrombosis. It happens when a blood clot forms in a vein in the leg that, at a certain point, can travel through the circulatory system and block the flow of blood to the lungs.

This risk, which can affect anyone, is greater during pregnancy and is even more so in pregnant women who have to remain immobile for a long period of time, whether by train, bus, car or plane.

What is recommended in these cases is to move your legs during the flight, perform ankle twists, walks down the aisle of the plane, wear compression stockings and drink plenty of water to stay well hydrated.

Likewise, if a pressure change occurs in the cabin during the flight, this can affect the exchange of oxygen through the placenta.

Another risk faced by pregnant women in an advanced state on the plane is the possibility of going into labor. Something that represents a danger for the mother and the baby in case of complications during delivery.

Pregnancy is not a disease, it is not a period of life in which we have to submit to a constant restriction of our habits and ways of life. Nor should we trust everything we hear or are told. Here are common myths related to airplane travel and pregnancy that are unfounded:

- Radiation from flights is dangerous: Not at all, radiation increases at altitude but the amount you can receive during a flight is so low that it is not worth considering. They only have to take it into account flight crew or pilots with much higher levels and even so, they are still low to worry about.

- It is dangerous to go through the security arch: is also false. It does not represent any danger for the pregnant woman or her baby. The magnetic field emitted by a metal detecting arc is low frequency and harmless.

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