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MEDICAL GUIDELINES FOR PREGNANT PASSENGERS
  • The background risk of developing a blood clot during pregnancy is 1 in 3000. The background risk of developing a blood clot during air travel is estimated between 1-10%. We do know that the risk increases with the duration of travel.
  • Developing a blood clot in flight time less than 5 hours is rare.
  • The risk is mainly with long-haul flights of 8 hours or more.
  • In general, pregnant passengers are advised to avoid dehydration and if possible to wear graduated compression hose (see shop).
  • The general advice is to approach your obstetrician or GP if there are any concerns about your health during a flight.
  • Subcutaneous injections of Low Molecular Weight Heparin such as Enoxaparin 40mg, Dalteparin 5,000 U, Tinzaparin 4,5000 U are safe in pregnancy as these drugs are large molecules and therefore Do NOT cross the placenta to the baby.

TABLE 1. GUIDELINES: PREGNANT PASSENGERS ON LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS*

High risk
Risk factors Suggested Prophylaxis
  • Previous blood clot such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
  • Inherited thrombophilia such as protein C deficiency
  • Acquired thrombophilia such as antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Blood clot in current Pregnancy
  • The presence 2 or more of the medium risk factors
  • Subcutaneous injection of Low Molecular Weight Heparin such as Enoxaparin 40mg, Dalteparin 5,000 U, Tinzaparin 4,5000 U for 48 hours starting on day of travel
  • Avoid dehydration, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages
  • Wear graduated compression stockings (see shop). These need to be fitted to the size of the calves, not the foot size - and they aren't suitable for people with arterial disease
  • Avoiding sitting still for long periods - during the flight it may help to move around the aircraft from time to time and do some in-flight exercise
 
Medium risk
  • Age > 35 years
  • Obesity (> 80 kg)
  • Gross varicose veins
  • Immobility for > 4 days prior to surgery
  • Major current illness
  • Avoid dehydration, coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages
  • Wear specialized graduated compression stockings. These need to be fitted to the size of the calves, not the foot size - and they aren't suitable for people with arterial disease.
  • Avoiding sitting still for long periods - during the flight it may help to move around the aircraft from time to time and do some in-flight exercises

Source: www.miscarriageclinic.co.uk
Mr Hasan Shehata MBBS, MRCOG, MRCPI
*Long-haul flights of 8 hours or more.

Disclaimer: Informational and education purposes only. The content is not intended to be used as a substitute for consulting with a physician for any specific diagnosis or treatment of any and all medical conditions.

The information accessed through this site is provided “as is” and without warranty, either express or implied, including but not limited to implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. The Miscarriage Clinic and Aviation Health make no warranty as to the reliability, accuracy, timeliness, usefulness or completeness of the information. Any advice offered, is not intended to replace council given by competent medical personnel. If you have a health problem that leads leaves you with any doubts about flying, please consult your physician or health practitioner.

For more impartial pregnancy advice have a look at The Baby Whisperer's Forum, the largest single parenting advice forum in the world.

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