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Is it safe to fly when trying to conceive or pregnant?
Are you considering travelling abroad for your IVF procedures? Or travelling in your first trimester?
Lately I’ve heard too many stories of women who have travelled abroad for IVF procedures and are told that it is safe to fly home within 24 hours of the procedure… Only to find out several weeks later that their body could not hold the pregnancy.
I don’t want this to be you.
If you’re considering flying when you’re pregnant, immediately after an IVF procedure or while you’re trying to conceive here’s some factors to consider:
- The stressful impact of flying on your body;
2. Staying healthy when you fly – bring your own food;
3. Avoiding x-ray radiation;
4. Avoid lifting heavy items; and
5. Post procedure discomfort and risks.
Travelling after IVF or conception
Travelling is a highly stressful event for the body with exposure to increased amounts of radiation from airport scanners, radiation during the flight and also inflight recycled air that increases exposure pathogens (which is why so many people often fall ill after flying).
Radiation is energy transmitted in the form of rays, waves or particles, commonly produced by cosmic particles, the sun and man-made devices, such as X-ray machines and nuclear reactors.
Many doctors say that increased radiation exposure when flying is negligible, however, the overall impact depends on the total amount of radiation a person has been subjected to, as its effects are cumulative.
According to Dr Edward Dauer, director of radiology at Florida Medical Centre in Fort Lauderdale, “even one X-ray, by itself, has the potential to cause cancer,” he said. “The more exposures you have, the more chance you have of developing a problem.”
The main risks of too much radiation are cancer, passing on genetic defects to future generations and damage to the foetuses of pregnant women.
In addition to the increased levels of radiation that you’re exposed to when flying, your body must fight off the barrage of pathogens from the recycled aeroplane air. If you’ve recently undergone an IVF procedure it’s imperative that you keep stress to a minimum and maintain a healthy immune system to maximise the likelihood of success. Flying, unfortunately, causes both stress to the body and has potential to compromise the immune system.
How to stay healthy when flying
Everything that we put into our body either heals us or harms us. Just because you’re jetting off for a holiday doesn’t mean you can ignore your health!
Whenever I fly I pack my own nutritious, organic food and take it with me. It’s super easy to do, tastes way better than plane food and means you can maintain eating the best for your body while en route. The main factor to consider is that you’re not allowed to bring more than 100ml of liquid on board an international flight (check the specifications of the country you’re leaving from just to be sure). I often take dips such as homemade organic hummus and avocado dip and have never had these confiscated. I have once had a tub of dairy free coconut yoghurt taken from me – however was able to scoop out the amount I needed for my gluten free bircher muesli first!
Please note – if you have recently undergone an IVF procedure or are pregnant, aeroplane food may pose a potential health risk and should be avoided for risk of food poisoning.
Avoiding radiation – Miron Glass containers
Airport x-ray machines for the most part are unavoidable. It is possible to request that you not be x-rayed and instead opt for a pat down however this is not permissible in some jurisdictions such as when leaving Australia. Throughout the USA they do offer a pat down alternative.
One thing you can do is to store your food in miron glass containers to help to protect your food from these harmful rays.
Miron glass was first developed as containers for a line of energetic medicines in Cypress. The glass was chosen because violet light shows the highest vibration frequency (720 – 770 billion Hertz) of all colours, corresponding exactly to the vibration frequency of our central nervous system.
Miron glass has outstanding proof of being able to preserve substances contained within for long periods of time. Normal tap water, for instance, has been kept fresh in dark violet glasses for over 3 years without any problems and without any preservation or other techniques being used.
Miron glass blocks the complete spectrum of visible light with the exception of the violet part. Simultaneously, it allows a certain part to be permeable for radiation in the spectral range of UV-A, and infra red light. This unique combination offers optimal protection against the ageing processes that are released by visible light, thus lengthening durability and potency of foods stored in the containers.
Miron glass has also been shown to block radiation from x-ray machines in airports and other sources of radiation, thereby protecting natural products packaged in miron glass.
Don’t lift heavy items
Regularly lifting heavy objects in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy may increase your risk of miscarriage. An object is considered heavy if it’s 11kg or more.
The current recommendation is that the maximum load a pregnant woman should lift in late pregnancy should be reduced by 20 to 25 percent from that which she was able to lift in her pre-pregnancy state.
Even though miscarriage from heavy lifting is considered a low risk, it’s still a risk that can be avoided. If you do fly early in your pregnancy or post IVF, fly with someone and have them lift your luggage. Alternatively, seek assistance from the airline staff – you can prearrange special assistance before you fly. Most of us struggle to allow others to help us, but wouldn’t it be better they help you rather than possibly miscarrying?
Discomfort post IVF procedure
Another factor to consider if you choose to fly soon after IVF is the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which happens when your ovaries overreact to the fertility drugs you’re taking. Your ovaries may quickly swell to several times their normal size. They may also leak fluid into your abdomen.
If it is severe, you can end up in the hospital, though not many people get it severely. While OHSS is not terribly dangerous, it involves some discomfort, swelling, bloating, etc. that can take a few weeks to dissipate and may not be something you’d want to deal with on vacation.
Other Topics Worth Reading:
- I’m Pregnant, now what? – Read here
- Pregnancy Support: Know what to do and what to avoid when pregnant – Read here
About the author:
Fiona Boulton is a Fertility Specialist
(An expert in her field since 2007) and leader in Fertility Mind Mastery, Fertility Meditation, Fertility Yoga and Fertility Coaching –
helping people take back control of their fertility, faster.
Fiona is the founder of Awakening Fertility – Harley Street (Harley Street Fertility Clinic), London; Concept Fertility Putney; Chichester, West Sussex and Perth, Australia
- Huffington Post Fertility Writer
- Fertility Coach
- Fertility Support Group Co-ordinator for Harley Street Fertility Clinic and Infertility Network UK
- Nutrition Counsellor
- Public Speaker
- QiYoga® Founder
- Fertility Yoga Teacher Trainer (RYS 200)
- Fertile Lifestyle Motivator
- Fertility Support Group Facilitator
- Fertility Practitioner Training Co-ordinator
Through Fiona’s “transformation guaranteed” Fertile Lifestyle courses, Fiona helps navigate major transitions to detox your mind and body to help you effectively ‘think yourself fertile’; to change the map your mind has of your body and therefore change your physiology by clearing mental and emotional blockages to having your baby. Fiona’s work focuses on you taking back control by changing the internal and external environment of your cells so you can improve chances of fertility success.
Book your fertility consultation from the comfort of your home or come to the Harley Street Fertility Clinic for a transformative session with Awakening Fertility founder Fiona Boulton, here.