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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Contact Answers In the News Hot Topics

Flying in late pregnancy

Question: I am flying with American Airlines to Orlando Florida. I will be 26 wks 3 days when leaving and return 11 days later. What week do American Airlines say you can not fly? I also will have a letter from my midwife, do I also need one from my GP? N. (UK)

Answer: Restriction in air travel during later stages of pregnancy are essentially in the woman and her unborn baby’s best interest. That is the issue to bear in mind. It is not airlines being unreasonable. Each airline has its policy regarding the cut-off point for pregnant women to fly. They are not bound by any regulation on this. This ranges from around 28 weeks to 34 weeks. Long-haul carriers tend to have a lower cut-off point.  If the gestation at the time of your scheduled travel breaches that cut-off point, you cannot travel. A letter from a doctor or midwife will not make any difference in that. You therefore need to check with your airline. More details about flying while pregnant can be found here:

Zinnat (Cefuroxime) antibiotic use in pregnancy

Question:  i was 4 days overdue my period (which is always 28 days exactly)desperately hoping to be pregnant and got cystitis. Doctor prescribed Zinnat 500mg. I told him i might be pregnant and that it was very important to me he said it was more important to get rid of the pain! The following day I got my period but very very heavy, not like normal, almost like it aborted. Is this possible the antibiotic caused this? Thank you so much in anticipation of your response. S.S. (Spain)

Answer: Zinnat, whose generic name is Cefuroxime, is a perfectly safe antibiotic to use in pregnancy. In fact, antibiotics in general do not cause miscarriage. Those that cannot be used in pregnancy are in that category due to their potential to harm the fetus and not because of miscarriage risk. As mentioned before Cefuroxime (Zinnat) is safe.

I cannot say for sure whether what you have experienced is a very early miscarriage. If it was, the antibiotic is certainly not to blame.

Hair loss and breast feeding

Question: Hello, I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with my third baby. After my past 2 deliveries i experienced very bad hair loss which only ceased once i stopped breast feeding at around 5 to 6 months each time. I wondered if there was a additional supplement that i could take prophylacticaly that could maybe prevent this happening again as i think it might be to do with being deficient in a certain vitamin due to the breastfeeding despite continuing to take a pregnancy/breast-feeding supplement. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. J.F. (UK)

Answer: Post-delivery hair loss has often been (wrongly) blamed on breast feeding. This is clearly not the case. The rate of this problem is the same among mothers who bottle-feed. For some obscure reason, only some women are affected by this complication.

It is not clearly understood why this occurs but there are a number of credible theories: Almost all women experience increased hair thickness during pregnancy. This accelerated hair growth is due to placental hormones abundant during pregnancy. At the end of pregnancy this hormone supply suddenly dries up. This will have the effect of sending most of the hair into the so-called resting phase. In a month or two, the hair will resume an active phase which will prompt the shedding en masse of the 'old hair'. This process can continue for anything up to 12 months but this duration varies from person to person.

The accelerated and sometimes alarming hair loss at this time is easily blamed on breast-fePostpartum alopeciaeding. This is not so. This is the most widely accepted explanation for this phenomenon in the medical world. There is one or two other hypothesis which appear weaker.

In summary, you lost the hair because you had been pregnant and you had had a baby. Your breast-feeding did not contribute in this. Bearing in mind the facts explained above you will understand that this is nothing to do with any deficiency of a vitamin or anything else. If anybody tries to promote a preventative remedy, they are clearly being less than candid.

The Addmark Test for Down’s syndrome screening

Question:  I am nearly 37 years old and am 18 wks pregnant with my first child. I had an Addmark test (combined nuchal scan and quad blood test) done from the Leeds Screening Centre at 13 wks of pregnancy. The risk factor for Down's Syndrome came out as 1 in 1100 and I was relieved that the risk was quite low. However, I also went for the routine triple test conducted by the NHS at 16 wks of pregnancy and to my horror the risk factor for Down's was 1 in 10 ! I am totally confused. How can the two results be so different? I know the nuchal scan is more reliable, but can't decide whether to go for amniocentesis just to be sure. Can you advise please!!! C. (UK)

Answer: I agree your situation is a difficult one. The seemingly huge difference between the two test results is, however, easy to explain. The Triple Test computation includes the age of the mother. At 36, your age related risk alone would be about 1 in 280. If all the three biochemical components of your blood test were bang on the mean of normal, your final result test will be 1 in 280. If, on the other hand, one or two of the components departed even modestly from the mean, this will have a significant impact on the final result. If the hCG was found to be slightly raised and the AFP was slightly low, a combination of this could ratchet up your calculated risk to a seemingly alarming level. The Addmark test does not include age in the computation. This might explain this big difference. The Addmark Test might have a higher sensitivity in correctly detecting babies affected by Down’s syndrome (compared to the ‘Triple Test’), however; unfortunately, its false negative results rate is also still considerable.

I realise this does not exactly get you out of jail but might go some way in allowing you crystallise your thoughts helping in your decision making. I could not pretend to know the answer to your conundrum but I sincerely hope you will reach the right decision

Weaning yourself off heroin in pregnancy

Question: I have been taking heroin for about 2 months and have found out i am about a month pregnant. If i stop taking it full stop, will the baby be ok? I have only been taking a small amount and am not having a bad withdrawal just a few aches and pains. G.M. (UK)

Answer: Congratulations on your good news.

The fact that you have been taking heroin for a relatively short time is to your advantage. The concern with heroin is withdrawal. However, this should be quite mild if, as you say, you have used the drug for only a couple of months. I think it will be OK for both you and the baby if you gradually wean yourself off and stop altogether, maybe in 4 - 6 weeks time.

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Postpartum hair loss affects those who breast feed and those bottle-feeding alike.