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Flying during first trimester

(16 Posts)
Teapig Tue 25-Sep-12 19:51:10

Hello ladies, just wanting some ideas on a quandary I have. I have a work trip coming up in a couple of weeks that requires flying long-haul, I won't have hit the 12-week mark by the time it comes around.

My MW advised today that there's a higher risk of mc in the first 12 weeks with flying long haul and suggested I put it back, which I can't do as it's timed for a specific event. After lots of googling I've found conflicting opinion - some say it's high risk, many say it's fine. Ultimately I don't feel very comfortable with it and so I may decide against it but I don't want to announce to the whole company (trip involves meeting with lots of people) that I'm pg before I've reached the 12-week mark.

Any ideas on what could be a reasonable excuse not to fly without coming out to lots of people as pg and totally paranoid? Or should I just be honest, or just stop worrying and go?

18wksplus Tue 25-Sep-12 20:09:49

Personally I think your midwife is talking rubbish.

I flew to America at 12wks (6/7hr flight) without a second thought: none of the midwives or doctors I spoke to batted an eyelid.

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/safe-travel-during-first-month-pregnancy-1564.html

The American College of Obs and Gynaes don't think there's a problem.

Miscarriages in the first tri are overwhelmingly because of a genetic/chromosome issue, something flying will not affect. You might not enjoy the flight if you're still suffering from morning sickness etc, but I'd be surprised if there was any risk to your baby. You also need to take added precautions re DVT since the risk is higher for pregnant women.

However post-32 weeks (I think - probably differs by airline) I'm stuck out here: no long haul after that due to the increased risk of premature labour.

lotsofcheese Tue 25-Sep-12 20:30:08

It's not so much the miscarriage risk from flying that would concern me - it's more having a m/c abroad & the insurance implications.

Unfortunately I had a mmc in June this year - 2 days before we were due to fly to the USA - I was 11.5 weeks sad

Thankfully I'd informed the insurance company previously about the pregnancy & I was covered - as I had to cancel the trip to have an ERCP. EPU staff told me that if I'd been abroad when it happened, I would have need hospitalised & surgery, for which they said my insurance would not cover me.

The year before, we'd gone to Portugal & I had bleeding on the last day, so we had to see a local Dr & have a scan. Luckily we were flying back the next day so I could have further scans & treatment here.

This time, I am pregnant & going NOWHERE!!

Teapig Tue 25-Sep-12 20:42:26

Sorry to hear of your loss lotsofcheese, glad to know that you're pg again though and going nowhere. One of my worries is also the threat of mc whilst abroad, I mc'ed at 11 weeks last year, which is what I'll be while away (if I go) and it does play on my mind. I can't think of much of a worse way for that to happen than being away on a work trip on my own. Ps, love your username lotsofcheese it sums up what I'm eating at the moment.

Thanks for your advice 18, I've read lots of stuff that says there's no risk so completely get what you're saying. I think the thing is I just don't feel that comfortable with it and DH is very against it.

Struggling to come up with a reason not to go that doesn't involve telling everyone I'm up the duff. Any suggestions welcome.

lotsofcheese Tue 25-Sep-12 20:48:49

Teapig it sounds like you've made your mind up not to go?

Having had a m/c abroad, I can say it was truly awful - between the language barrier, insurance/money issues & added complication of travel - I would never do it again..

And yes, I LOVE cheese - all types except blue/veiny - am missing Brie!

In terms of an excuse - how about saying you have an inner ear infection & can't fly? Or a poorly relative on their last legs?

sw11mumofone Tue 25-Sep-12 20:58:27

I recently had to fly during my first trimester but not long haul. I talked to a doctor and midwife about it and they said short haul is fine but long haul not so great. Again I think a lot of it is due to how you would feel if something happened whilst either on the flight or abroad. I think if I had had a miscarriage previously at 11 weeks I wouldn't want to risk being away at that time again. Can you not tell your boss (or someone senior who would need to be informed) the truth and then agree with him/her to come up with a different story for the rest of your team/company. I agree that an ear infection is a very good one as you definitely can't fly with one of those.

Teapig Tue 25-Sep-12 21:23:45

That sounds like a terrible experience lots, hope your pg is going smoothly this time. I am eating every type of cheese I can and counting down till I can eat Brie and blue cheese again.

sw11 I think I have kind of decided not to go more because of the worry I'd have than the mc risk. As it's the stage when my last mc happened as well it just feels like an extra risk I don't want to take, although I know the risk is probably tiny if anything at all.

Thanks for the ideas on how to handle it work-wise, going to talk to work tomorrow. It's horrible feeling like I'm letting work down but these things happen I guess.

Flisspaps Tue 25-Sep-12 21:27:15

I'd go. I flew on honeymoon at 11 weeks pg with DD, didn't even occur to me that I should worry!

BuntyCollocks Tue 25-Sep-12 21:59:05

I flew 7 hours to Dubai when 10 weeks with DS, and 2 1/2 hrs when 10 weeks with this pregnancy, and just back from a holiday in Egypt where I was 24 weeks going. No problems anywhere, both children perfect.

Think your midwife is talking shit.

PeshwariNaan Wed 26-Sep-12 15:41:21

Your MW is talking rubbish - I've asked my GP and midwives about this and there's absolutely no evidence that flying is even correlated with MC. Obviously a lot of people MC during/ after flights but it's not related in any study they've done so far.

I flew long haul at 10 weeks (10 hour flight) to see family and returned at 12 weeks. I'd had the trip planned and paid for for months, so I had to go. I prepared by talking to my midwife (who OK'ed the journey, but said to drink lots of water and move around a lot) and wearing compression hosiery, which is very important to avoid DVT.

Unfortunately I was still suffering from extreme morning sickness so I was sick during both flights, and the sickness worsened considerably when I returned to the UK because of jet lag. I'm glad I went because I don't see my family much, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. Baby's fine though.

PeshwariNaan Wed 26-Sep-12 15:44:11

Teapig, can you just talk to your boss and swear him/her to silence? Reading your experience I wouldn't want to fly either, especially if it's for work.

minipie Wed 26-Sep-12 16:01:19

As others have said there is no evidence linking flying to miscarriage. I flew long haul at 3 and 5 weeks pregnant (found out I was pregnant on holiday grin). Did loads of googling and the official answer was definitely that there was nothing against flying. Just make sure you stay hydrated and walk around lots.

I can understand your concern about miscarrying abroad though especially if it's the same stage as last time, it will be an anxious time for you no doubt and best to be at home with support (even though chances of mc again are small).

I would just tell your boss that unfortunately there is a medical reason you are not able to fly at the moment, and not give any further details. He/she shouldn't jump to the conclusion you are pregnant from that, since pregnancy isn't a reason not to fly!

veggie77 Wed 26-Sep-12 16:03:49

Hi. Just letting you know my experience of flying recently as I'm about the same stage as you are - if a little further ahead. I flew 2 weeks ago on a short haul flight (4 and a half hours) for a holiday we'd already booked before I found out I was pregnant. At that stage I was 9 weeks pregnant when I set off on holiday and 10 weeks when I flew back. My midwife said it was fine to fly for that length of flight, and to just make sure I got up and walked around a lot on the flight. I was absolutely fine going out there, I wore the support stocking for flying (to reduce DVT risk) and the accupressure wristbands (to ease with any worsening morning sickness). I made myself get up and walk to the back of the plain every hour, and kept doing little ankle rotations to keep my legs active in between getting up. I found the morning sickness was no worse than normal, but the bands felt pretty tight on my wrists after a while and were a bit uncomfortable, and I was glad to take them off when we landed. Strangely, the support stockings on the way home were actually really uncomfortable. I managed to keep them on for 2 hours but then it felt like there was a really swollen feeling in my lower legs and my heart was beating faster, so I took them off and felt better for it. It was a bit of a worry at the time, as my legs just felt so full and tight, but clearly the flight socks didn't agree with me for some reason on the flight home. Perhaps it was because it was a night flight and my blood pressure was somehow different to flying on the way out on holiday when it had been lunchtime.

Anyway, just wanted to say that overall, flying was straightforward but in the back of mind on the flight outwards I was a bit anxious about how I would feel. I'm not sure I would have flown for work and probably not long haul. It's different for a holiday that you're looking forward to and know will make you feel relaxed at the end of the flight, but if you had to get to the other side of the flight and start working straight away, then you might arrive feeling a bit anxious about the flight and whether it's had any impact on your body. I think I would have done (but I am a born worrier!)

I would say, if you're not sure about flying long haul before 12 weeks then make up some excuse to work about the risk of DVT. You don't have to say why, but technically, it's telling the truth, as this is a risk of flying in pregnancy. Just mention that your doctor had said some sort of medication you're on at the moment doesn't agree with flying because of a risk of DVT and try to delay the flight until you're in the 2nd trimester, when you're 'off said medication'. It's only a half lie.....

Teapig Wed 26-Sep-12 16:38:40

Thanks peshwari, mini and veggie. It's a really tough decision but I think I've decided to ask work to postpone it to my second trimester when I hope I'll feel more relaxed.

It's tricky as I now have to let work know I'm pg which I didn't want to do until the 12 week scan but I guess sometimes things just work out this way. Hopefully they will understand.

VickyU Wed 26-Sep-12 17:00:02

Hi there,

I think if you can ask work to postpone it would be a good idea, but not because of risk of miscarriage, rather of risk of sickness having started. I am 20 weeks into what the doctors term a 'very high risk pregnancy.' My consultant had absolutely no problem with me flying long haul on a work trip in my first trimester which involved a lot of travelling in a short period of time (out to Washington and back from NYC in 4 days). However, during the 3 days I was out there (I was 6 weeks at the time) the dreaded sickness started. The flight back from NYC will stay in my mind forever as possibly the worst experience of my life!

Obviously this is my experience and you may well be lucky but I thought I'd share it in case!

Teapig Thu 27-Sep-12 08:51:31

Thanks Vicky! I haven't had any sickness but that has been on my mind. Your experience sounds awful. I hope your pregnancy goes well.

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