Suddenly Parents

Keeping Our Sanity During Baby's First Year

Flying in the First Trimester

This week, my husband and I flew to California for a work conference/vacation. I was nervous about flying since some women on the forums have said that they heard flying in your first trimester can cause a miscarriage. I was pretty doubtful, but decided I should check up on this rumor just in case.

So, as usual, I went to the Internet to uncover the facts. My first stop was The Bump which said that if your pregnancy isn’t considered high-risk, then it is fine. Also, they explained an interesting theory: since approximately 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and most miscarriages happen in the first trimester, people blame flying for the miscarriage even though it didn’t have anything to do with losing the baby. It is just a game of odds at that point. 

Next, I turned to the Mayo Clinic which took a more middle-of-the-road approach and said, generally, commercial air travel is fine but it is safest to travel in your second trimester and, ideally, between 14 and 28 weeks. However, if you are a frequent flyer, your doctor may limit your air travel because those who fly often may be exposed to more radiation than is considered safe during pregnancy.

My takeaways from reading these articles and others is that flying every once in a while is safe in your first trimester as long as you aren’t in a high-risk category. When we flew yesterday, I decided that I would not do the full body scan if asked, I would opt for the pat down instead (I never could find a definitive answer on this subject so I think it is best to stay away from those machines). Also, I made sure to get up and walk around during the flight and to drink plenty of water. I’m still going to see what my doctor has to say about flying when we meet with her next Monday but I feel confident that I am not putting our baby at any risk.

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