Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Specialist Questions Pregnancy

Airport security and being pregnant

I just found out I am pregnant. Can I go through a scanner at the airport? What about the x-ray scanner?

28 Answers

Hi, yes you can go through the scanner at the airport. You can also go through the x-ray if necessary for your travels-the exposure to radiation is low -however, you should avoid going through multiple x-ray machines if possible.
According to research conducted by the Center for Devices and radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration, it is safe for everyone, including pregnant women, to go through these machines.
As far as I know it is OK however to check with testa agents. The critical period is 25 weeks of gestation
Yes and yes, although you can tell them you are pregnant.
The airport scanner is a microwave scanner. It does not penetrate deeply. If you are concerned however, you can have a standard wanding or pat down. Going through an X-ray CT unit would not be a good idea, if you don’t have to, especially in the first trimester.
They are very low dose scanners but for absolute safety ask for a walk thru the magnetic alarm system and or a physical pat down by a female agent
Try to avoid going into the scanner - we do not know the effects it can have on a developing fetus and there is no study to show it is safe for babies - please opt out.
The scanners should be safe in pregnancy due to the minimal exposure.
You can request pat down.
Yes, typical low dose x-ray scanners at airports will only give you 1/500000 of the dose it would take to harm your baby. Also, many other scanners don't use x-rays but use radio waves or magnetic waves. These are also low power and have not been associated with any fetal abnormalities.
Body scanners are generally thought to be safe during pregnancy, but there are no long term studies as yet, so nobody really knows absolutely.
Metal detectors are completely safe and pregnant women can request to be excluded from scanning and be checked only by metal detectors.
This would be most important during the first 3 months of pregnancy while organs are being developed in the baby.

Sent from Kathie Boyd
Overall, it's considered very safe. The new machines that rotate a circle around you while you hold your arms up may expose you to more, so I'd request going through the walkthrough one instead.
The traditional metal detector should be fine and the risk from then whole body scanner also should be very low. Check with you obstetric provider to see if they have specific recommendations.
Yes you can go through both safely
Yes, you can. Radiation emitted by the airport security scanners is extremely small and has negligible effect on your body.
The scanner at the airport is safe for everyone. And they don't take an x-ray of your body.

The x-ray scanner, I assume you mean at the radiologist's office, is a good thing to avoid unless you absolutely need the study performed, at which time it is important to weigh the benefits and risks.
Yes but you can also get a letter so you don't have too
Yes they are safe.
The x-ray scanner is very low dose at the airport. But you can request to be checked without going through the x-ray unit.
The short answer is yes and yes. The wavelength and 'strength' of the xray scanners is so weak that the radiation dose is essentially negligible. Ironically, due basically to cosmic rays, depending on the length of your flight, you will likely receive much more radiation than that in the scanner....albeit still a very very small dose.

all the best.
Just tell them that you are pregnant and they will not put you through the scanner. You will likely end up with a pat down.
Sorry, I do not get the meaning of the scanner at the airport. Would you have a scanner at the airport the same as the scanner at the hospital?
Let them know you are pregnant, they can do your security check with other ways without using X-ray.
I would advise you to opt to be patted physically.
Airport scanners do not penetrate the skin and are no risk to the fetus. You can always ask to be screened manually.

Yes, you may go through the scanner at the airport. The radiation dosage is so low that it doesn't pass through the skin, and therefore does not provide any significant increased risk to your fetus. Congratulations!

Sean L. Johnston, MD, PhD