Pregnant air travellers face a higher risk of blood clots, but they can reduce their risks by walking airplane aisles, drinking water and doing calf exercises, according to a new review.
For women with additional risk, doctors may recommend compression stockings and injectable blood thinners while traveling, the authors write in the Journal of Travel Medicine.
“Both pregnancy and air travel are risk factors for venous thromboembolism, or a blood clot in the legs or lungs,” said senior author Dr. Leslie Skeith of the University of Calgary, a member of the CanVECTOR Canadian thrombosis research network.
Blood clots affect about one to two per 1,000 non-pregnant people each year and are the third leading cause of vascular death after heart attacks and strokes, the authors note. With more than two billion passengers flying each year, about 150,000 cases of travel-related blood clots are diagnosed annually.
Long-distance flights tend to increase the risk by three-fold, yet travel-related studies either don’t include pregnant women or only include a small number and don’t directly investigate how pregnancy increases the risk.
“There is very little evidence to guide what pregnant and postpartum women should do to prevent blood clots while travelling,” Skeith told Reuters Health by email.
Skeith and her colleagues review the many factors that play into an individual’s risk for a blood clot, including height, weight, recent surgery, pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy and a family history of clots or diseases that promote clotting.
Why pregnancy heightens clot risk
With pregnancy in particular, they write, the risk is higher because of physiological changes, such as slower blood flow and blood vessel dilation. Pelvic blood vessels may also be compressed as the uterus grows. Starting in early pregnancy, the body starts to become hypercoagulable, or more likely to form blood clots. These risks remain higher until about 12 weeks after giving birth.
Although the average pregnant or postpartum air traveler faces an increased risk of clots, the absolute risk estimate is low at less than 1 per cent, the study found.
Pregnant women with other risk factors, such as inherited blood problems, obesity and recent surgery, may face a higher blood clot risk, however. Although the risk depends on individual factors, women with a history of blood clots tend to have a four per cent higher risk while pregnant, and those with hormonal-associated blood clots tend to have a six per cent higher risk while pregnant.
For most women with a history of blood clots, the risk during air travel still remains low at just over one per cent. At the same time, pregnant women who face these higher risks should consider using more extensive blood clot prevention measures while travelling, such as the injectable blood thinner low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH).
Aspirin trial begins
“It is known that LMWH prophylaxis lowers the risk of recurrent thrombosis in women with previous venous thromboembolism,” said Dr. Ida Martinelli of the University of Milan, who wasn’t involved in the study.
However, some studies show that certain blood conditions and blood thinners can lead to complications during delivery, so it’s best to consult a doctor for individual recommendations.
Skeith and colleagues are now studying whether aspirin can prevent blood clots in postpartum women with risk factors for clots. The pilot randomized trial, called PARTUM, is expected to start in 2020.
“We desperately need more research to better prevent blood clots in pregnant and postpartum women,” Skeith said. “We recommend talking to your doctor about different options.”
The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life
Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.
That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.
What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?
Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.
Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.
Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations
As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.
Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:
- Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
- Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
- Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.
Determining a Fair Payment Plan
Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.
Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.
Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers
When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:
- Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
- Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
- Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
- Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.
Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.
Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.
Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home
THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.
The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.
No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.
Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.
Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister
Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.
Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.
“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”
Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.
“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.
LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.
“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.
The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.
LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.
From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.
On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.
“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.
LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.
“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.
She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.
Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.
LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.
“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.
–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News
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