Pregnant women need to be extra careful about where they travel, but a recent study suggests that it’s not the only thing to keep in mind when they’re trying to conceive.
A team of researchers led by a University of Pittsburgh medical student recently released a study that looked at the relationship between traveling abroad, pregnancy risk and fertility in the US.
The study looked at data from 2,746 women who had a miscarriage, and 1,948 women who did not.
The women were all at high risk of miscarriage, including women who were in an advanced stage of pregnancy, had recently given birth, and had used the pill.
The researchers found that travel to areas where abortion is legal (such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan) was linked to a 3.9 percent higher risk of having a miscarriage compared to women who weren’t traveling abroad.
They also found that the longer women stayed at home or in hotels, the more likely they were to miscarry.
But the study’s findings don’t hold true for all pregnancies.
“We can’t assume that the risk is the same across all pregnancies,” Dr. Michael Bitzer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State, told ABC News.
He said there are exceptions to the rule, and the researchers were not sure if the risk was higher for women who went abroad on holiday.
Traveling abroad could be just as dangerous, but not every pregnancy carries the same risk.
The research found that a 3 percent increased risk was found for pregnancies where the woman had a first-trimester miscarriage or a second-trampoline birth, while a 3 to 6 percent increase was found if the woman was at high-risk for miscarriage and had given birth in the past year.
“These are just two of many, many pregnancy outcomes that we don’t have good information on,” Bitzer said.
“What we have is an incomplete picture of the pregnancy, and that’s the challenge.”
A potential solution is the use of pill formulae to measure when women are at high and low risk of pregnancy complications, Bitzer told ABCNews.
“I think that’s something that could be a good thing for women, if they’re going to take a pill, but I think it’s also a good idea to have the risk data and the data on the pill, because that can help guide what the best choice is,” he said.
In the future, the researchers plan to investigate other types of travel, such as when a woman is visiting a country with a history of illegal abortion.
But it’s a risk they are considering, Bizer said.
He also cautioned that if a woman has a history in which she was involved in an abortion or an abortion after a prior miscarriage, it could increase the risk of a second pregnancy.
“It’s definitely a possibility, but it’s definitely not a certainty,” Bizer added.