Prince Harry has officially returned home to the UK. It’s his first trip back to England since he and his wife Meghan Markle left 12 months ago.

The Duke of Sussex lost his beloved grandfather, Prince Philip on Friday. He has rushed to fly back to Britain, on a solo trip, where he will attend the funeral alongside his family on April 17.

Duchess Meghan, 39, who is currently in the late stages of pregnancy was advised by medical professionals to not join her husband on the 11-hour flight from California.

Instead, Meghan has remained at the couple’s Santa Barbara mansion, with their one-year-old son. Archie.

Meghan, who suffered a miscarriage last year, is expected to welcome her second child, a baby girl in the coming months.

While the pandemic further complicates flying decisions, there are several reasons why medical experts have precautions in place for women flying during pregnancy.

Prince Harry has returned to the UK without his heavily pregnancy wife.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises against air travel for pregnant women after the 36th week of pregnancy or four weeks before the expected date of childbirth. Since labour can begin at any time during the last few weeks, it is recommended to avoid travelling during this period.

Instead, WHO recommends that the safest time for expecting mums to travel is in the second trimester.

It’s important for you to know any airline restrictions placed on pregnant travellers before you book your trip. Restrictions around flying while pregnant vary from airline to airline, and also according to the length of the flight.

Meghan Markle during her first pregnancy with Archie.

The main health risks of flying while pregnant

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is the main health concern for pregnant women on planes.

This is when a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the leg, which can cause complications such as pain, inflammation and swelling. The greater danger with these clots is that they can dislodge and travel through the circulatory system, blocking blood supply to the lungs.

The risk of DVT is higher when pregnant and being immobile for long periods is also a risk factor, so it’s worth keeping in mind for any sort of travel, including long car trips.

To reduce your risk keep well hydrated, make sure you’re well mobilised during the flight and wear compression stockings.

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is the main health concern for pregnant women on planes.

Flying during the pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages people who aren’t fully vaccinated from traveling, since doing so increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.

But if you must, like for a funeral, unvaccinated people should get tested one to three days before flying; wear a mask, maintain social distance, and keep up good hand hygiene; and take precautions like quarantining and getting tested when they return home, the CDC says.

While it’s unclear whether Markle has been vaccinated, she did not receive clearance from her medical team to fly.

The funeral will take place this coming Saturday, April 17 (overnight on Saturday evening in Australia), and will include a small procession through Windsor castle, which will be broadcast live.

Philip will then be laid to rest within the grounds of Windsor castle.

And while Harry will be required to quarantine for several days before getting tested for COVID-19, if his results are negative, he will be able to join his family as soon as possible as they mourn together.