Women travelling while pregnant shouldn’t worry about flying before 37 weeks, according to experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Experts have said that air travel “poses no risk to pregnant women and unborn babies” flying before 37 weeks.
The experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have also said that mothers-to-be should not worry about full-body scanners at airports and deep vein thrombosis on long-haul flights to the USA or Australia.
The greatest risk for pregnant fliers is premature labour, according to experts, which is unlikely before 37 weeks. However, women travelling at high altitude after 37 weeks of pregnancy are still at risk of early labour. Many airlines require women travelling while pregnant to carry a doctor’s letter after 28 weeks, while some still bar women from boarding if they are more that 36 weeks pregnant.
“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 labour,” said Prof Ian Greer, of the University of Liverpool. However, the professor, who wrote the paper producing the new advice, also added that “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 body scanners used at airports, which use ionising radiation, have also been found to pose no additional risk to pregnant women. The new advice is hoped to come as a relief to fliers that are nervous about flying while pregnant.
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