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Flying OK for Most Pregnant Women

Moms-to-be with no complications are cleared to go, experts say

MONDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women can fly with no worries, as long as they don't have any complications.

That's the message of a revised committee opinion released Sept. 21 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It will appear in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Since 2001, "a number of observational studies have been published confirming that air travel is generally safe during an uncomplicated pregnancy. These new studies have made our previous recommendations stronger and more detailed," said Dr. William H. Barth Jr., a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and chair of the college's Committee on Obstetric Practice, in a news release from ACOG.

"Questions from our patients about air travel during pregnancy are some of the most common during obstetric visits," Barth added. "When a patient with an uncomplicated pregnancy asks about occasional flying, we should feel comfortable saying, 'It's safe.'"

But ACOG recommends that pregnant women take some precautions that all airline passengers should observe. To avoid blood clots, they should move their legs, avoid restrictive clothing, drink liquids and get up and walk around. The experts also say that pregnant women should keep their seatbelts buckled while in their seat and avoid gas-producing foods and drinks, including carbonated soda, which could cause them to feel uncomfortable.

According to ACOG, pregnant women who might require emergency care should not fly at all during their pregnancy. Airlines may also have specific requirements. Although most commercial airlines allow pregnant women to fly up to 36 weeks of gestation, restrictions may vary and pregnant women should check with their carrier before flying.

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-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, news release, Sept. 21, 2009

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