Some Concerns About Flying

I'm Not Nervous, But The Airline Is

As long as a pregnant woman in her first and second trimesters is in good health, and her pregnancy is not complicated by any medical problems such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, it is safe for her to fly. When she's in her third trimester the chance of an early delivery makes most airlines nervous. As a result, many airlines will allow a pregnant woman to take a domestic flight only up to her 36th week and an international flight only up to her 32nd week. There are, of course, things a pregnant woman should consider when flying, and by taking some precautions, her flight can be quite pleasant and stress free.

Ways To Ensure Good Circulation While In Flight

It almost goes without saying that airline seats are not known for their comfort, so if the seat is bothersome, or there just isn't enough room, ask for a seat with more leg room. If possible, it's a good idea to take an aisle seat in order to be able to get up and move around frequently without bothering fellow travelers.

Here are some tips to help circulation while in-flight:

-Wear loose-fitting, non-restrictive clothing.

-Compression stockings promote blood flow from the ankles to the heart and lungs. Put them on before the flight and wear them all day long.

-Keep legs uncrossed during the flight. Crossed legs cut blood flow at the groin.  If there's any empty seat, put your feet up.

-Drink plenty of water since air flight does cause dehydration, which in turn thickens the blood.

-Exercise by walking the aisles. Stretch the legs and wiggle the toes to keep circulation moving.

The Greatest Risk For Pregnant Air Travelers Is Blood Clots

Perhaps the greatest concern for pregnant air travelers is the risk of blood clots, known as thromboembolic disease or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Because the circulatory system changes during pregnancy, the risk of blood clots in the legs and pelvis is increased. The risk is increased with prolonged sitting in one position and by dehydration-both are part of the air travel experience. When a person gets up after a lengthy period of time sitting, the blood clots may tear loose and travel to the lungs. Known as pulmonary embolus, this condition can prove fatal. By following the tips outlined above the risk of DVT will be greatly reduced.

Radiation Fears Are Often Unfounded

Some travelers worry about the effects of cosmic radiation while flying. The thought is that exposure to natural radiation can increase the risk of miscarriage and/or abnormalities in unborn babies. While doctors agree that flight attendants and business travelers who fly very frequently may have higher exposure, the risk is negligible for women who fly infrequently.

Contracting A Respiratory Infection

Another common side effect of air travel is respiratory infections. There are several physiological things that happen in the body in flight. Engorged nasal blood vessels, extra mucus in the lungs, dry air in the airplane and crowded conditions all contribute to more germs in your lungs. Try to avoid "sickies" who are coughing and sneezing and if you do develop respiratory problems, treat them as soon as possible.

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