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20.02.2024
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Is It Safe to Fly During Pregnancy? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Sophia McCarthy

When I’m brainstorming upcoming blog topics relating to pregnancy, I will often check-in with our team of sonographers to see if there’s any questions they find are coming up more often from patients.

As of late, the team noticed a lot of questions from patients centering around the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy, with patients expressing worry over upcoming travel plans or whether or not to continue their usual hobbies. 

It’s so important that you don’t feel embarrassed to ask your sonographer or midwife these kinds of questions—especially if it’s your first pregnancy, or if you have a history of miscarriage or complicated pregnancies. We understand that you want to be absolutely sure you’re doing everything right and not taking any risks during your pregnancy, so let’s take a look at some of these commonly asked questions.

 

Is it Safe to Fly During Pregnancy?

One of the most common questions we get from first-time parents at their first scan is: “But we have a big holiday booked in a month—is it still safe to fly?” And the answer is: yes, at the early stages of pregnancy, it is okay to travel via plane. As per the HSE website:

Most women can travel safely while pregnant. Flying does not increase your risk of early labour or miscarriage.

While it is generally safe, here are some important things to keep in mind when planning a trip abroad during your pregnancy:

  • The safest time to fly is before 37 weeks for a single baby pregnancy, and for twins, no later than 32 weeks. This is simply because there is an increased chance of you going into labour during these weeks. This recommendation is basically to ensure that you are preferably at home and within distance of your regular healthcare providers should your waters break—as opposed to being in a different country (or still in the air, resulting in an emergency diversion or surprise onboard delivery!) For this reason, many airlines don’t allow you to fly after 37 weeks.
  • Similarly, if you are at risk of premature labour or have delivered prematurely in the past, your midwife may recommend staying put at home.
  • If you have any condition affecting your heart or lungs that can make breathing tricky, it may be best to avoid flying.
  • Long haul flights may be more uncomfortable when you’re pregnant, especially if you suffer from nausea or back pain, flying may also exacerbate these symptoms. Being pregnant also increases your risk of developing clots in your legs (Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT).
  • Certain airlines may have different requirements to allow you to fly. You may need to provide a letter from your midwife with your due date after 28 weeks.
  • The HSE also recommend that you have a European Health Insurance Card if abroad during pregnancy, just in case you require medical attention.

 

Can I Use a Jacuzzi/Hot Tub/Sauna While Pregnant?

Pregnancy can take it’s toll on your body, causing aches and pains and overall tension. So what happens if you’ve booked a much-needed spa weekend with jacuzzis and saunas?

During pregnancy, your body is working overtime to supply extra blood and oxygen to your growing baby. Your hormones will also change and fluctuate. This means you might have a tendency to overheat and feel a bit more flushed than usual. With this considered the NHS website has this advice on saunas:

You may choose to avoid them because of the risks of overheating, dehydration and fainting…When you use a sauna, jacuzzi, hot tub or steam room, your body is unable to lose heat effectively by sweating. This means your body’s core temperature rises. It’s possible that a significant rise in your core temperature could be harmful in pregnancy, particularly in the first 12 weeks…If you’re using a hydrotherapy pool, the temperature should not be above 35C. Some hot tubs can be as hot as 40C, so it’s best to avoid them.

 

Can I Still Get Botox/Lip Filler during Pregnancy?

The general consensus is that it’s better to err on the side of caution when deciding whether or not to continue your botox treatments while pregnant. Cosmetic injectables in general are not advised for pregnant women to use. David Kim, a certified dermatologist, when talking with InStyle magazine, said this: “Botulinum toxin is derived from Clostridium Botulinum and softens the muscles..So if the toxin gets into the fetus, it can cause botulism and lead to muscle weakness, spasms, poor muscle development, and poor breathing..Botox is a category C drug, meaning that the drug’s risks can’t be ruled out because, even though no satisfactory studies have been done in pregnant women, animal studies demonstrate a risk to the fetus.”

The possible exception to this rule is for women who receive botox treatments for the prevention of migraines, but you should always consult with your healthcare provider to be on the safe side or seek an alternative therapy.

When it comes to lip filler during pregnancy, this is also not recommended. According to the FDA, pregnant women should avoid filler treatments “because of their fluctuating pregnancy hormones. It can cause issues with blood flow as well as swelling. In other words, it might cause issues for the mother—not the baby.” There has been very little research as to how your body could react to the ingredients used during pregnancy, so it’s better to not take the chance.

 

Can I Go On Roller Coasters/Fairground Rides During Pregnancy?

If you’re an adrenaline junkie who was hoping to keep up your annual trip to Disneyland or the local summer amusements, you may need to think again!

While there are no official studies about pregnant women going on roller coasters or fairground rides, you will find 99% of theme parks will have warning signs advising that pregnant women should not use the rides.

The American Pregnancy Association states that:

The concern with roller coasters, thrill rides, and virtual rides during pregnancy is associated with the rapid starts and stops, the jarring forces, and the pressures against the body that occur during these types of rides. This rigorous activity creates additional jarring forces within the uterus that may lead to premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus, which is called placental abruption.

The jarring force from even slow automobile accidents has caused placental abruption, miscarriage and other pregnancy complications for women who are pregnant even when the trauma is not directly to the uterus. Although the jarring force is usually less with amusement park rides, it still warrants precaution.

 

We hope that we’ve covered some of your questions about safe activities during pregnancy. We also have a blog about exercising during pregnancy. You can have a read of it HERE

As always, if you have any other questions that we didn’t cover here, please feel free to get in touch at info@theultrasoundsuite.ie

 

 

Sources and Further Reading

NHS advice on Saunas and Jacuzzis

HSE Advice on Flying During Pregnancy

Botox During Pregnancy

Lip Filler During Pregnancy

American Pregnancy Association: Roller Coasters While Pregnant

 

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