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)
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-feeding. 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
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!!!
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
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.