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Flying High While Trying to Conceive?

Ok, flying high while trying to conceive may have led you to think of what I’m thinking you’re thinking of, but actually we are taking about the risks to pregnancy from flying. A little known fact is that originally the dangers of second hand smoke to flight attendants was the impetus them to lead the way and eventually the successful banning of smoking on planes in the 1990s. Recently attention has been drawn to the increased rates of spontaneous pregnancy loss (miscarriage) in flight attendants, particularly in those who travel greater than 15 hours during normal sleeping hours. Now we are not saying an individual traveler has these same risks from travel, especially air flight, and especially if you fly all the time the way a flight attendant does. However, here are a few facts about miscarriages and a few facts about flying to help you and your gyno work out a plan:

  1. Couples commonly have a single miscarriage, and the first question is how to prevent this from happening again. Thus being able to prevent a miscarriage is one of the great unsolved challenges of the gyno today. They estimate that since about half of all pregnancies conceived end in miscarriages, many of which are no more than chemical pregnancies (only positive test with no fetus seen), between 25-25% of women have a miscarriage in their life. Such a common problem, when taken as a whole group thus takes a great toll on women's bodies and emotions. Fortunately for most couples this is a single occurrence, and not repeated.

  2. Work, exercise, medication,nutrition, hormones, and lifestyle all could potentially have an impact on miscarriage rates, and how to take care of yourself and what modifications to make in your lifestyle is a reason to have a pregnancy planning visit with your gyno.

  3. Often you will not be able to determine what the cause of the miscarriage was, whether it was due to travel, medications, nutritional deficiencies, something wrong with your hormones, or one of a host of other reasons. Statistics tell us that you have about a one in a hundred chance of a spontaneous pregnancy loss occurring more than once, and a study released at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in San Francisco in March of 2012, there may now be new data for a successful treatment strategy.

  4. In most cases specific testing is not needed after one or even 2 miscarriages, but yet we still suggest you come in for a discussion. Women are labeled as having a problem of recurrent miscarriages (habitual aborter in medical terms) if they actually have three or more miscarriage. In the past we did not even recommend testing, or treatment, if in fact a woman had less than 3 miscarriages, as the chance of finding a treatable condition was so remote. Then the 1/100 chance it will become a chronic problem; and for this group who has one miscarriage after another it has been a mystery as to both the cause and the cure.

  5. One of the newest studies to come out of a joint study from the UCSF and St. Louis U noted an increased incidence of miscarriage in flight attendants.

  6. Second hand smoke exposure may be a cause of miscarriages as well.

  7. Although the flying may be an issue, no one is yet recommending you avoid all air travel if you are a causal traveler.

  8. Treatments may be available to prevent miscarriages, and first testing would be indicated. . Progesterone may be a solution. Now the researchers suggest that you take the 81 mg of aspirin along with the recommended daily folic acid, and it will lower your chance of having a repeat early miscarriage. Aspirin is not without side effects, and we suggest you first talk to your gyno before utilizing this treatment.

  9. Other than trying for pregnancy when you are young. The egg you happened to fertilize may have been the problem, and for most healthy women during her fertile years of age 15-45 she has other healthy eggs to ovulate so that no cure is actually necessary. However there are other problems that aspirin will not cure including hormone issues with ovulation, endocrine disorders, blood clotting problems, problems with the anatomy of the uterus as well as medications that can produce miscarriages, and for that your gyno can help with finding a miscarriage cure.

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