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Q&A: Is it safe for pregnant women to pass through airport screening machines?

Don’t worry! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), passing through an airport screening machine poses no threat to you or your baby. However, traveling by plane brings up many questions for women who are pregnant. Let’s talk about a few things to keep in mind.

Make sure to check with your doctor or midwife to discuss your travel plans. If you have had pre-term labor, bleeding, or other complications, you may need to hold off on air travel until your baby is safely delivered.

Also, be sure to check with your airline for any restrictions. In most cases, the only stipulation for pregnant women applies to women after 36 weeks (one month before your due date).

If your doctor has given you the green light to travel, it is a good idea to have a copy of your medical records and the name of a doctor in the area you will be visiting. You might want to ask your doctor if there are medications for nausea that are safe to take, too, such as100 mg Vitamin B6 tablet, Emetrol—if you’re not diabetic—or Emetrex.

Travel in the first trimester can be uncomfortable for some women due to morning sickness. The second trimester and early in the third trimester seem to be the safest and most comfortable times for women to travel by plane.

Tips for Better Pregnancy Air Travel
If you do fly, try these tips to help you stay healthy and comfortable:

  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.
  • Bring snacks, such as crackers or granola bars for a quick energy boost or to quell nausea.
  • Walk around the plane to prevent stiffness and promote good circulation. (If there is turbulence, go back to your seat and ask for assistance if you need it—your balance can sometimes be a bit unstable depending on your size and week of pregnancy.)
  • Ask for an aisle seat to make it easy to get to the bathroom and to get up and move around.
  • Wear your seatbelt while seated to prevent turbulence-related injuries.
  • If you don’t feel well or are having contractions, alert the flight attendant immediately. They are trained to assist you.
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