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Flying when pregnant

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Flying when pregnant

Old 2nd Mar 2007, 16:31
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Flying when pregnant

I was just wandering what the general consensus is on flying as crew whilst in the early stages of pregnancy. I am considering trying from a family and wanted to know if is ok to continue flying for a while, or if its best for baby to ground myself straight away. Are there any real risk involved?
Does anyone have some info or advice on this?
sukigirl is offline  
Old 2nd Mar 2007, 17:13
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Hi Sukigirl...

just my personal experience, I do not know if it can help you.

I do not know who you fly for, in my airline we have to "sign in" every day and by doing that we declare ourselves fit for flying and in doing that we are "legal" as per our Flying Crew Orders. Our FCO say that as soon as you believe (I think the word is in fact suspect) that you're pregnant you should ground yourself immediately. So, in theory, if you know you're pregnant but sign in to go flying you're going against the crew orders.

I know some people keep flying until they are obliged to tell the company (usually until the 16th week), however having tried it myself last year I would not suggest it as the best option.

I fell pregnant in 2005 and kept flying, I didn't really want to stop as I was feeling great, however at 8 weeks I started bleeding and the pregnancy was no longer viable. Since I hadn't told the company either I got into trouble for being "off sick". I didn't really want to tell them about the whole thing really for fear of getting into trouble.

I do not know if the two things (flying, being really tired because of strenuous rosters, eating badly, lack of sleep etc) were related, or if maybe things would have gone this way anyway, however lastjuly when I found out (very, very early on I might add!) I told the company straight away. Rostering, my manager and the duty managers knew it before my mum!!!!!

I am glad I grounded myself straight away as past 5 weeks I started feeling so rough this time I do not know how I would have coped with 5am reports and night flights!! Pkus, just the idea of the smell of those toilets again.....bbbrrrrrrr or even the smell of dirty ovens. Gosh I cannot think about it!!

So to finish it here, I believe it is up to you (provided you are not going against company procedures, if so then there are other things to think of!). It is true that flight attendants tend to suffer a bit more from miscarriages than ordinary wmen, however whether this is related to the flying itself (radiations etc) or to the lifestyle we do not really know! I certainly won't risk it anymore!!

Take care and have fun....trying is the best part! When you start feeling like a hippo ( ) like I feel now, it's another story!!


flybywire is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2007, 12:15
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Thank you for your honest reply fbw.
I will certainly take heed of your advice and thinking about it, I know you are right.
Im sorry to hear about your first pregnancy. I can understand why you grounded youself straight away this time.
I wish you well for the remainder of your pregnancy and keep us posted when baby arrives. Take care xx
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Old 3rd Mar 2007, 12:27
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Flying when pregnant


I am not a CC yet, but my sister used to be one, and she continued flying until the end of the first trimester and her baby was born with a very minor deformity (nothing serious thank God). Since we never had anything similar in the family before, and another girl also experienced the same with her baby, the doctors concluded, that it 'might have something to do with her flying during pregnancy'. But this is not 100% proven, however, being a CC is a very trying job, and I think if I would be in the same position I would stop flying. Better to be safe...
I wish you both all the best!!
Samya is offline  
Old 3rd Mar 2007, 16:08
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also consider, that this job can involve heavy lifting (atlas boxes, pax bags etc) and in severe turbulance, you risk falling about or falling into carts etc. would you really want to put your unborn baby at a risk like this? i can understand why people would want to continue flying while pregnant, as office duties would not appeal to me in any way! but you have another person to consider in the equation and you should ultimately do what is right for you both.
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Old 3rd Mar 2007, 19:31
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with easyjet you have to stop flying straight away and then they try to get you an office job
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Old 4th Mar 2007, 13:49
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Hey Sukigirl,

I am an amateur pilot and in the medical profession,and I can assure you
that in the first 3 months of your pregnancy,you SHOULD NOT FLY.In the
air,at the flight levels you work,there is a high level of cosmic radiation,which really endangers your child to be.This can be particularly
damaging in the first few months of pregnancy.If I remember correctly,a
flight,say from Delhi to New York,is equivalent to about 50 chest X-Rays,
as far as radiation is concerned.So,please,for your babies' sake,DO NOT FLY!

theophile is offline  
Old 4th Mar 2007, 15:51
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Sukigirl, for what itīs worth, obeying company rules and procedures in connection with pregnancy is one of the few things in my life I truly regret.

I donīt know if our childrenīs health problems are due to the fact that I blindly did as I was told by our company doctor, namely fly until 5 months pregnant. But I strongly suspect they do.

I do know for a fact that their problems were exacerbated by me going back to work in accordance with the rules, and thus stopping breastfeeding them, after 8 weeks.

Medical research at the time said it was fine to fly, these days it says the opposite. If your company offers you the option of grounding yourself, Iīd say you would do yourself a favour and go for that.

If it costs you money, consider this... your baby does not need a brand new version of everything, second hand crib, car seat, whatever will do fine.
Your baby does need the best possibly conditions to grow into a healthy little human being while under your heart.

I so wish I had been less obedient 20 years ago, and had not suffered from execessive work-ethics.

Go for it Sukigirl, good for you that you are looking for information.
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Old 4th Mar 2007, 16:25
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It might be worthwhile researching flying and pregnancy posts from Medical Forum:
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Old 4th Mar 2007, 21:42
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May I add: when you are grounded for pregnancy reasons you still get your 100% basic salary and a daily allowance.
I found my job on the ground quite boring, but I loved the fact that I could interact with other pregnant girls at the same time (we're all due within 3 weeks of each other!) and I discovered an aspect of my airline that I ignored before.
Besides I had some health "hiccups" as well so I was signed off by my doctor and in the end ended up doing only 2 days a week (although the airline is still obliged to pay you full time). That meant I had to stop working 4 weeks before my due date, however I would have stopped anyway - no way I could get behind the steering wheel of my car every day now for 30 miles morning and evening!!!

My airline calculates the risk of exposure to radiations for each of us, (pilots and cabin crew) month after month, and I am pretty sure that especially a short haul crew wouldn't suffer too much from cosmic radiation (there's no proven medical evidence just yet) however flying while pregnant can be difficult and possibly dangerous also for other things as well. Vodkaholic named a few of them. After 3 years of maniac work for this airline I have actually enjoyed some time off flying (although I can't wait to start again now!)...pregnancy is a time where you should put yourself and your baby first and only you can decide what you want to do. Trust your instinct and your gut feeling if still indecided!!
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Old 4th Mar 2007, 22:49
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Check your Part A if you are EU or JAA.

Control of Occupational Exposures of Pregnant Women (1.390(a)(3))

Female aircrew should notify their employer if they become pregnant so that any necessary dose control measures can be introduced. The protection of the foetus should be comparable with that provided for members of the public. This means that, once the pregnancy is declared, the employer must plan future occupational exposures such that the equivalent dose to the foetus is unlikely to be greater than 1 mSv during the remainder of the pregnancy. The cosmic radiation exposure of the body is essentially uniform and the maternal abdomen provides no effective shielding to the foetus. As a result, the magnitude of equivalent dose to the foetus can be put equal to that of the effective dose received by the mother.

In plain language, the above is not reasonably possible. You will be grounded by most Airlines and found work on land.

Hope it helps, good luck to you and bambino
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Old 20th Mar 2007, 16:40
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Pregnancy and flying??

My wife works as cabin crew for a foreign carrier based at LHR and flies to LAX and HKG only. She is 12 weeks pregnant and due to complications has taken sick leave, annual leave and unpaid leave for the last 8 weeks.
She is now ready to return to work and was expecting to be placed on ground duties as has applied to all pregnant staff over the last 5 years.
However, the company now say she must fly until 30 weeks or take unpaid leave!!
Can they do this under UK law? I've been fishing for references all day but can't get anything verified - Civil Aviation (Working Time) Regulations 2004 regarding health and night work and an unfindable link to JAA(?) Control of Occupational Exposures (Radiation) of Pregnant Women - but nothing really concrete.
Does anyone out there have anything definitive?

Last edited by justinzider; 20th Mar 2007 at 18:41.
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Old 20th Mar 2007, 18:19
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she needs to see her GP and get grounded by them. Can i ask which airline this is???Passengers need a doctors note after 28 weeks to fly,so thats obsurd that they wouldnt even expect your wife to operate!!!! She wont be able to lift anything heavy,she wouldnt be able to evacuate easily in an emergency because she'll be fairly big by then!!!!im absolutely astounded by this!! She needs to see her doctor ASAP or even her midwife or someone at the hospital.Good luck getting this sorted. Personally, id rather resign for the sake of my baby's health than fly until 30 weeks.
tiggerific_69 is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2007, 19:21
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Don't wish to name the company on a public forum... a little detective work should get you through the clues though!

Apart from individual medical grounding is there any evidence to present to get this new policy reversed for everyone?
justinzider is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2007, 19:43
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I can't remember the exact wording, but I'm pretty sure they can't do that. I have recently retired from Nursing and I know that pregnant staff were not allowed to work nights on health grounds - and that was without any complicating factors as employers have a duty of care. Maternity Benefit (or whatever they are calling it these days) is payable from the 28th week of pregnancy and it is the individual mother's choice as to whether or not she wishes to continue to work after that point. Twenty eight weeks used to be the earliest age of viability for the baby, (it is now 22 weeks) and it is also one of the more important landmarks of the pregnancy as it is around this time that PIH (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension) can raise its ugly head. She should talk to Occupational Health and also, equally importantly, to her Union Representative.
DX Wombat is offline  
Old 20th Mar 2007, 20:26
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I do not know about that airline, however UK airlines' policy is to ground any pregnant crew as soon as she declares it. I got grounded at 4weeks pregnant!!

I think you should look into it, it sounds really strange to me...

Besides once she's grounded she can always get a doctor's certificate to have her weekly hours/days reduced even to zero if needed, and the company cannot say anything! I had some problems too in the first half of my pregnancy and had my days reduced to 3 and then 2 per week. I was not supposed to do shifts either. It's also my company's policy that if you live more than 90minutes (I think) from your base they have to find an appropriate place near your home for you to work at and failing that they are obliged to keep paying you but you're not expected to go to work for grounded duties!!

I really think there's something wrong with what that company has told your wife, although I do not know if CAA rules apply to a foreign company, even when based in the UK. But you can always give them a ring and find out!

If nothing else works I would get a doctor's certificate for a pregnancy "at risk" and just be on sick leave till she starts maternity leave.

Good luck with everything, I hope your wife will have a smooth pregnancy from now on! xx

(yes, I'm still bloody waiting.... )
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Old 20th Mar 2007, 20:32
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STILL!!! wasnt it due about a month ago?! lol

Good luck Justinzider,i know which airline you are on about now,and it was who i originally suspected....
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Old 20th Mar 2007, 20:38
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Nope its rent is paid until next sunday. After that it will be a squatter!!

I think another thing he could do is to see what the procedure is in the country teh airline is based. I am suspicious that CAA rules won't really matter to a carrier from anoher country. It wuld be good to get some advice also from people employed in the country of origin of the airline and see how they get treated!
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Old 20th Mar 2007, 20:56
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April 1st, i'll put money on it!
Surely if the crew are UK based then they are under CAA regulations?
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Old 20th Mar 2007, 22:18
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Crew at the Airline's home base have to fly to 30 weeks. However, they are put onto shorthaul. Out of the LHR base there isn't that option!
The union are now aware and are on the case.
I will look into the occupational health side as I think this is covered in the European Working Time Directive stuff.
Thanks for the good wishes.
Any other pointers gratefully received.

Last edited by justinzider; 20th Mar 2007 at 22:43.
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