Are those new airport body scanners safe?


Yesterday, I took a flight and I wanted to avoid those new airport body scanners. (The ones where you hold your hands above your head.). When it was my turn, I told the woman there that I was pregnant and she said it was very safe. My husband was busy dealing with getting our stuff through the xray machine and there was a huge line at this security check. My DH thinks I should have gotten him to talk to her but I wimped out and just went through the scanner. (Instead of getting a pat-down.) The woman was older (guess around 50 something) and didn’t seem friendly. That’s why I wimped out. But now I am worried and hope I didn’t do anything bad to my little bean.

I googled this question and found that doctors don’t recommend going through it, people avoided it, and not enough research has been done with it. DH says I need to stop reading those google searches. That it only happened once and it’s not like I go through them all the time.

Does anyone have real experiences with it and it was okay? Is it really bad for me being 6 weeks pregnant?

DH says on our flight back he will make sure I get a pat-down. I am such a wimp.


When I asked my Doc about flying she wasn’t concerned about the machines. She also said that they do not give off enough radiation to be of concern.

I flew march 26th and they only had me go through the metal detector, but on my way back 3 days ago they had me go through the scatter-back machine (the one you are talking about that you hold your hands up over your head). They assured me it was safe even though I never even asked about it or requested not to go through it. I went on through it, but noticed that they sent my children through the metal detector instead. I thought that was interesting since they could have easily sent me through the metal detector as well, but instead chose to push me on through the scatter-back machine.

Anyway, I haven’t had any ill effects from it thus far. I had an ultrasound last night and baby seems fine. I am further along though so can understand why you are apprehensive about it at only 6wks. Especially since online there are a couple ladies who say they miscarried after going through these machines. Of course, if you look for bad stories on the internet you will find them in spades and it may look like there is some huge problem when in reality the miscarriages may only indicate the % of the normal population and thus not have anything to do with the machines. It may seem too much of a coincidence and yet since 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage in my mind those that miscarried after going through the machines probably would have anyway and had nothing to do with the machines.

BUT…as you stated the fact is that there just isn’t enough information to know as with many things related to pregnancy since many things just haven’t been tested on pregnant women so…if you are in doubt then opt out and insist on a pat down instead. Certainly the inconvenience of any wait and rudeness from TSA agents won’t hurt baby, but at least you know for sure that the machine won’t either if you avoid it. Would be worth the peace of mind.

As for me–I wasn’t really concerned so don’t have any anxiety over passing through it, but I might if I was in my first trimester instead of being just in my third so…totally understand where you are coming from. :grouphug:


I don’t know about those machines and honestly I probably would avoid them but the reality is that ultrasounds are probably no safer and were never meant to be used in the manner they are now and yet everyone here has multiple ultrasounds. So in short, I’d say if you don’t worry about u/s then I wouldn’t worry about the body scanners but for me, I try to avoid both.


I am around equipment that produces x-ray for my job, some in large amounts others in small.

You actually got more radiation on the plane flight being closer to the sun then the machine you went through if that makes you feel any better.

If you feel uncomfortable, next time you fly request the pat down and explain that you are pregnant.

I hope this helps.



I did my FET in the Czech Republic, and on the way home had to go thru 3 different scanners like that one at 3 different airports. Even though I was only 3dpt, I figured, hey, It wont hurt to just get the pat-down instead of the scan. So I just told them I was pregnant and wanted a pat-down instead. most were accommodating…the last lady was a real bag.
She said…Its perfectly safe, just go thru…I said…no, I want the pat-down, im not going thru. I have a right to not go thru and ask for an alternate, which I am requesting…and I stood there for a few seconds before she finally said…Fine…come over here and we will do the pat-down. and then proceeded to roll her eyes and make huffing and puffing noises to show her distaste for my request! Oh well, that’s your job!!!
My DH said I should’ve just went thru it but why should I when its not necessary??? I just did the pat-down. I’m not weird about having someone pat me down, so it seemed like a better alternative to me.

That being said… I don’t think they are a big deal and probably nothing to worry about going thru, but if it makes you feel better, just avoid it!!


I have flown a few times this PG. Once when I was 8 weeks and once when I was 29 weeks. Both times I went through the scatter machine. Everything has been measuring perfect so far. However, I do think they should have a sign clearly stating that it is or is not safe for pregnant women.


It is safe with handheld metal detectors

I have encountered the issue you described above. I have never thought that handheld metal detectors in the airport would exert any bad effect on our body. In fact, I think that it is quite safe to scan on our bodies. Do you know that there is even a handheld metal detector which can be scanned on the pregenent women. So, don’t worry. It is nothing serious.