Pregnant after a Loss

would you/ have you traveled by airplane during pregnancy?

My husband and I are planning on taking a trip to visit my family who live half way across the country. I will be 16 weeks pregnant when we go. I am so nervous about flying while pregnant that I would never consider it except that my Grandpa has cancer and it doesn't look like he has very long to live. I of course want to see him before it is too late.

Here are my main fears;

1. Will the security give me a hard time about not wanting to go through the body scanners while I am pregnant? I have heard stories about some not very understanding security. What did you do if you have flown during pregnancy? Were they willing to do a pat down instead?

2. PGAL has turne me into a total germaphobic! I'm afraid I'll pick up some sickness that could hurt the baby.

3. It's a 6 hour flight (plus the waiting during lay overs) I'm afraid it will just be generally hard all around to do while pregnant.

Any advice to calm my fears? (I know they may be a bit over the top) :)

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Re: would you/ have you traveled by airplane during pregnancy?

  • ::coming out of lurkdom::

    My SIL flew from Houston to FL at 20 weeks to be at BIL's wedding and she did fine.  She was very tired but otherwise just fine.  Just make sure to bring an empty water bottle that you can fill up once you go through security and of course hand sanitizer.  Pregnant women fly all the time, you can do this.  Also, I'm very sorry to hear about your Grandpa being sick. 

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  • I flew tons during my first pregnancy and a few times during my second.  I didn't have any issues.  No problems with security or catching anything.  I did travel with my current medical records just in case something crazy happened. Just stay hydrated and make sure to move around.  I'd recommend an asile seat so you can get up easier and put your legs in the asile for a bit more room.
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  • image MrsErinH:

    ::coming out of lurkdom::

    My SIL flew from Houston to FL at 20 weeks to be at BIL's wedding and she did fine.  She was very tired but otherwise just fine.  Just make sure to bring an empty water bottle that you can fill up once you go through security and of course hand sanitizer.  Pregnant women fly all the time, you can do this.  Also, I'm very sorry to hear about your Grandpa being sick. 

    Hi Mrs Erin! It's good to see you. Thanks for responding with the encouragement.

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    BabyFruit Ticker

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  • I would fly during pregnancy, particulary under the circumstances that you mention.  A.  You should be able to just take the pat down.  B.  At 16 weeks, you should be able to do what you would normally do, unless a Dr has a reason to tell you otherwise. 

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  • As long as your doctor ok's it, you should be fine. Many women have flown while pregnant. I've actually gone twice during this pregnancy - once at 8-9 weeks and again at 26-27 weeks.

    I never had to worry about the body scanners since they only had the regular metal detectors both times I flew. But anyone I know who faced the body scanner had no problem asking for a pat down instead. I really don't think you should have any problem asking for a pat down. Just don't let them force you to go through the body scanner.

    In regards to your second point, you can pick up germs anywhere you go, so I wouldn't let that stop me from flying.

    And a 6 hour flight is long, but just make sure you get up often. I made sure to take an aisle seat and got up probably every 45 minutes to go to the bathroom and just to stretch out my legs. As long as you make sure you're keeping hydrated and walking around, you should be fine!

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  • image TigerFan:
    I flew tons during my first pregnancy and a few times during my second.  I didn't have any issues.  No problems with security or catching anything.  I did travel with my current medical records just in case something crazy happened. Just stay hydrated and make sure to move around.  I'd recommend an asile seat so you can get up easier and put your legs in the asile for a bit more room.

    that makes me feel better. Also, thanks for the tip about an aisle seat. I hadn't thought of that and I'm sure it would help. I do need to remeber to get my medical records to bring because I am diabetic and need to carry on supplies such as needles. (that's why security is usually more intense with my carry on.) thanks for the reminder!

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    BabyFruit Ticker

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  • I did fly at 20 weeks with DD.  It was fine.

    It was before the body scanners but I have heard that there is no problem and you do not have to go in them even if you don't have an excuse, however, they may give you a pat down.  

    I have always been a germaphobe but it was even worse when we took our DD on the plane with us.  I brought a lot of those clorox wipes and the first thing I did when I sat down in our seats was wipe down EVERYTHING.  I also brought a ton of hand sanitizer for bathroom trips and after just walking through the airport.  I fly alone or with my family at least 5 times a year and we have never caught anything while traveling. 

    I think a 6 hour flight will be fine.  You'll have to get up about every hour and walk around, go to the bathroom etc.  That is the only real concern a doctor will have for flying.  They want you standing and stretching when possible to prevent blood flow problems.   It is nice that you have a lay over in between to walk around.  

    Try not to stress about it.  You should go and say goodbye to your grandfather and try to appreciate this trip before your LO comes.  Honestly, I fly so much it has just become second nature to me.  The part I now dread the most is packing.   We may end up flying at Christmas again, although; we have been away for the past 5 years and I'd like to spend it at home this year.  We will see if I win that battle. 

    Also, I am sorry about your grandfather.  


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  • I am so sorry to hear your Grandpa is sick.

    I have to fly quite a bit due to my job.  It has been a pain just bc I am so tired and sick.  In all my years of flying I have never had to use the sick bag, but I came pretty close last week.  

    TSA has been pretty understanding.  Be sure to phrase it correctly - don't say "Are the scanners safe?" bc they will say yes and try to usher you through.  I normally say something to the initial screener who checks my boarding pass and they will direct me for a full screening/pat down.  You have every right to opt out if you are not comfortable.  IMO, I don't think there is enough information for them to say those scanners are totally safe yet - that's my logic to opt out. 

    As far as the flight - as PP said, keep hydrated and bring hand sanitizer.  You also may want to opt for an aisle seat so you can get up and stretch - and have easy access to the bathroom.  Good luck and safe travels!  

    BFP#1 10/30/2011,MC 12/4/2011 9w2d,BFP#2 3/6/2012,m/c 4/18/2012 9w1d D&E 4/18/2012 BFP#3 8/12/2012 EDD 4/25/2013 Stick baby!! Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers BabyFruit Ticker
  • image mijakach:

    As long as your doctor ok's it, you should be fine. Many women have flown while pregnant. I've actually gone twice during this pregnancy - once at 8-9 weeks and again at 26-27 weeks.

    I never had to worry about the body scanners since they only had the regular metal detectors both times I flew. But anyone I know who faced the body scanner had no problem asking for a pat down instead. I really don't think you should have any problem asking for a pat down. Just don't let them force you to go through the body scanner.

    In regards to your second point, you can pick up germs anywhere you go, so I wouldn't let that stop me from flying.

    And a 6 hour flight is long, but just make sure you get up often. I made sure to take an aisle seat and got up probably every 45 minutes to go to the bathroom and just to stretch out my legs. As long as you make sure you're keeping hydrated and walking around, you should be fine!

    I'm encouraged to hear that someone else was able to face flying during PGAL. Your right about the germs. I know that fear is a little on he crazy side but I'm worse about it on airplanes since so many people travel on them and from all over the world.

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  • image daylights1:

    I did fly at 20 weeks with DD.  It was fine.

    It was before the body scanners but I have heard that there is no problem and you do not have to go in them even if you don't have an excuse, however, they may give you a pat down.  

    I have always been a germaphobe but it was even worse when we took our DD on the plane with us.  I brought a lot of those clorox wipes and the first thing I did when I sat down in our seats was wipe down EVERYTHING.  I also brought a ton of hand sanitizer for bathroom trips and after just walking through the airport.  I fly alone or with my family at least 5 times a year and we have never caught anything while traveling. 

    I think a 6 hour flight will be fine.  You'll have to get up about every hour and walk around, go to the bathroom etc.  That is the only real concern a doctor will have for flying.  They want you standing and stretching when possible to prevent blood flow problems.   It is nice that you have a lay over in between to walk around.  

    Try not to stress about it.  You should go and say goodbye to your grandfather and try to appreciate this trip before your LO comes.  Honestly, I fly so much it has just become second nature to me.  The part I now dread the most is packing.   We may end up flying at Christmas again, although; we have been away for the past 5 years and I'd like to spend it at home this year.  We will see if I win that battle. 

    Also, I am sorry about your grandfather.  

    thanks for the response. I will definatley be taking as many disinfectant wipes as they allow me to!

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  • image hugz415:

    I am so sorry to hear your Grandpa is sick.

    I have to fly quite a bit due to my job.  It has been a pain just bc I am so tired and sick.  In all my years of flying I have never had to use the sick bag, but I came pretty close last week.  

    TSA has been pretty understanding.  Be sure to phrase it correctly - don't say "Are the scanners safe?" bc they will say yes and try to usher you through.  I normally say something to the initial screener who checks my boarding pass and they will direct me for a full screening/pat down.  You have every right to opt out if you are not comfortable.  IMO, I don't think there is enough information for them to say those scanners are totally safe yet - that's my logic to opt out. 

    As far as the flight - as PP said, keep hydrated and bring hand sanitizer.  You also may want to opt for an aisle seat so you can get up and stretch - and have easy access to the bathroom.  Good luck and safe travels!  

    thanks, I wasn't sure who I needed to talk to about getting the pat down instead of the body scanner.

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  • I flew at 15 weeks with Patricia and 4 weeks with this baby with no problems. When I got up to the front after putting my stuff on the belt and they motioned me to the scanner, I just said that I'm pregnant and would prefer not to go through and they called for a female to pat me down. I must say, it was a little invasive, but I was wearing stretchy pants so she didn't have problems putting her hands down them with not much discomfort Tongue Tied. So my advice: make sure your pants are very stretchy!
  • image jbranden12:
    I flew at 15 weeks with Patricia and 4 weeks with this baby with no problems. When I got up to the front after putting my stuff on the belt and they motioned me to the scanner, I just said that I'm pregnant and would prefer not to go through and they called for a female to pat me down. I must say, it was a little invasive, but I was wearing stretchy pants so she didn't have problems putting her hands down them with not much discomfort Tongue Tied. So my advice: make sure your pants are very stretchy!

    ya, I'm not looking forward to experiencing how invasive security is getting

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    BabyFruit Ticker

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  • I have flown twice while pregnant. The first during 9 weeks, the second during 17 weeks. While I completely understand your fears, flying while pregnant is safe. 

    I'm going to respond to your questions in order as best I can!

    1. Going through the body scanners is completely voluntary. When I flew in my first trimester, I was too freaked out and asked for a pat down. This was in Minneapolis and they were great at telling me okay and doing a pat down. One thing I will tell you is that it did slow me down a little bit (because they had to get a female TSA agent), but they were very professional. The second time, I had done more research, spoken with my doctor, and went through the scanner. I say follow your gut, and chances are that everything will be fine with security. If they make you feel penalized, ask to speak to a supervisor.

    2. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands! That is the number one thing that you can do to prevent illness. While it's true that you might pick up a cold, chances are slim that you will come into contact with something like SARS.

    3. Just be sure to get up and move around during the flights. My doctor told me that I should only be sitting for 2 hours max, so I made sure that I got up and moved around every so often to prevent blood clots. Some women complain of nausea with the pressure changes, but I didn't have that experience. I would recommend bringing little snacks in your bag and take all of the free water that you can to stay hydrated.

    I know that there is a lot on your mind, but I honestly think that you should go. Speak to your doctor first, and if s/he gives you the okay then I definitely wouldn't miss out on the experience to see your grandfather. 

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  • I flew when I was 13 weeks pregnant with DS. 

    1.   They didn't have full body scanners then.  If I were to fly again now, I would bring a note from my OB preventing me from being scanned.

    2.  If it is approved by your OB (it is, for me), I would take Sudafed and Zyrtec before leaving to keep my sinuses clear and drained during the flight.  I've done this ever since I caught a cold on my honeymoon and it has kept me from catching anything since.  I do the same thing on the flight home as well.  And, I would keep a little hand sanitizer in my purse/carry-on and use it frequently.  And remember, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.

    3.  At 16 weeks it shouldn't be difficult.  You might be a bit tired, but just sleep during the flight.  You shouldn't be big enough to be uncomfortable yet.  I would get up at least a couple of times during the flight to stretch my legs (which you will probably do anyways just because you'll have to pee).


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  • I flew at 4 weeks, 12 weeks and 25 weeks. My doctor was fine with it and it really was okay. 12 weeks was hardest just because I was really ill! I definitely second the recommendation for an aisle seat and if you have an option to pay a bit more for an extra leg room seat I'd do it for the long flight, I was a bit uncomfortable. 

    Im sorry about your grandfather. 

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  • In the spring I flew while I was waiting for my m/c to start (knew it was coming - it had nothing to do with the flight), and then I just flew last week - a 1.5 hour leg and a 7 hr leg - at 17 weeks.

    1. I wasn't asked to go through the scanners and probably wouldn't have given it a second thought, to be honest. I was really preoccupied with other things, though. We almost missed our flight. You should be able to refuse it and get a pat-down.

    2. I remember reading some study that because of how the plane draws air from outside (it obviously doesn't shoot it directly into the cabin) and the way it circulates, it actually spreads fewer germs than other indoor air circulation systems. That's just something I vaguely recall reading, though. 

    3. The only thing of concern about a longer flight during pregnancy is an increased risk of blood clots. Talk to your dr to see if you should take baby aspirin the days surrounding the flight (if you're on Lovenox or heparin it's a moot point). I have had a DVT before so have to give myself heparin shots and wear compression stockings when I fly. 

    Given the situation, I definitely think you should go. I think you'll be just fine!

    Edit: little mistakes


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    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
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  • I flew with my first pregnancy and miscarried on vacation. I know the flight had absolutely zip to do with my having a loss, however, because I was spotting for about 3-4 days before I got on the plane. This time around, I wouldn't have even considered it, but that's because I was so big and so uncomfortable so early (because they're twins) that it wouldn't have been worth it for me. If you're comfortable, I say go for it. Just take any advice from your doctor, drink PLENTY of water, and yes, I'm pretty sure you have a legal right to opt out of the full body scan in exchange for a pat down.
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  • I've flown with both of my pregnancies and haven't had any  problems. I did have to request to not go through the scanner twice, once during each pregnancy. The first time the TSA agent said it was safe and I politely told her the technology was to new and I didn't feel comfortable subjecting my lo to it, she ushered me through the metal detector instead. The second time as I walked up to the TSA agent I was rubbing my belly and about to say something and I was directed to the metal detector while everyone else in my line was sent through the scanner. I wasn't asked to do a pat down either time, but you must be prepared to do so. If you deny the scanner which you have every right to do they do have the right to require a pat down, but honestly it seems in my experience that it's more effort than they are willing to put in for an unassuming pregnant woman.

    As far as actually being on the plane, I sat in an isle and got up every hour or so (I had to pee that often anyway) and went to the restroom, and hung out in the back area for a few minutes before/after and stretched my legs. I also made sure to flex my legs alot while sitting just incase. Also don't be affraid to ask for more water if you need it. I made sure I got a water bottle at the airport but I drink a lot of water and it wasn't enough for the flight so I requested more water several times on my flights. On the flight out I had a great crew that checked on me often and encouraged me to feel free to ask for as much water as I wanted. On the flight home I had a crew of bratty younger girls that were clearly looking for some rich buisness guy to take care of them. They gave me dirty looks like I was being a complete pain every time I got up to go to the restroom or asked for more water, but they never told me no. I'm pretty sure they can't deny you water while confined like that, and even if they could I don't think it'd be worth the crazy pregnant lady outburst that would result.

    I'm not sure what airline you fly, but we personally always fly Southwest (MH flys with them for work so we use his miles when we go anywhere). And I just thought I'd let you know what I discovered on my last flight. You can go to the gate when you get there and request a pre-boarding pass. You don't even have to tell them the reason just tell them you have a temporary dissability and they will give you one. On a normal flight with assigned seating this will just mean that you get to board early without the push of boarding witheveryone and feeling you have to rush out of the isle and into your seat. If your flying southwest which is open seating it means you will get your choice of seats which for me ment I would be able to get an isle seat near the restrooms.

    And finally (as if I haven't said enough Ha!) I'm sure your already planning on it, but just make sure you talk to your doctor about the flight before going incase he/she has any specific instructions for you regarding your personal medical background. For me my doctor just told me that I had to get up and stretch my legs every hour and drink plenty of water, but you may need to do more. I also will not be allowed to/wouldn't be willing to fly much past 20ish weeks (so I guess for this pregnancy I'm alreayd grounded), because of my previous late loss as well as a clotting disorder that puts me at higher risk when flying. As it is it took some convincing to get my doctor to allow me to drive to CA for Thanksgiving this year (as long as i don't have any complications between now and than and I promise to stop and walk around often) because of my past even tho it would be fine for most women due when I am.

  • I flew at 26 weeks (2 flights each way: first flight 45 minutes, second flight 8 hours)

    1. My small town airport did give me a hard time about the scanner, enough so that I got fed up and did it. I'm not proud of backing down, but I didn't want a scene either. None of my other flights even tried to make me do a body scanner (O'Hare being one).

    2. Hand sanitizer is a lovely thing. You'll be fine here.

    3. 8 hours was surprisingly fine. My only issue was swelling feet on one of the long flights. But, it was my own fault, I wore flip flops. I recommend to wear some type of shoe to keep swelling down. I wore ballet flats on the way home and the feet felt great!

     My baby LOVED turbulence and kicked so much. I feel like I did my LO no harm and it was great to have a trip in the middle of pregnancy. Best wishes! 

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  • thanks so much everybody. You all have truly helped to calm my fears. I'm feeling a lot more confident about it since "talking" with you wonderful ladies!
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    BabyFruit Ticker

    type 1 diabetic for 7 years. Been on the pump for 6 years.
  • I flew at around 7 weeks and everything went just fine.  I probably would have felt better later in my pregnancy (second trimester) but we had already made plans to go to Salt Lake City for a wedding. 

    1.  Going out there, they didn't want me to go through a body scanner (BWI airport), but on the way back, they put me in the line to.  I told them I wanted to "opt out".  The woman told me that they would need to do a full pat down and if this was okay with me.  I answered with an "absolutely".  It took a little longer because she needed to get someone to spot her while she did it (I guess they do that for their protection and for mine).  They asked if I was traveling with someone (I was, my husband) and if he could get my belongings that had gone through security.  She told me exactly what she was doing every step of the way.  She asked me if I had any sensitive areas and I mentioned my breasts since I was pregnant (they were so sore).  She said that she would try and be careful around them but that she needed to touch underneath them.  I was floored at how kind and respectful both ladies were and I wouldn't have a problem doing it again in a heartbeat.  I hope that you have the same nice experience.  They even congratulated me on my pregnancy. :)

    2.  Just make sure to wash your hands a lot.  I made sure that I did that once I got in the plane and whenever I touched anything "public" (door handles, etc.).  I didn't have any problems.  

    3.  Just be sure to get an aisle seat if possible.  I had my husband sit in the middle and I sat on the aisle.  That way, I had full access to the bathroom at any time (except when the stewards and stewardesses had that darn cart in the way - ha ha).  I made sure to get up in the aisle and stretch every 1/2 hour to an hour. And be sure to drink a bunch.  My OB said to be sure you are hydrated (that doesn't help with the trips to the bathroom).  

    I had pretty bad all day sickness when I took my trip - I am hoping since you are traveling when you are in your second trimester it will be less of that.  And, try and relax.  I had myself all worked up and anxiety ridden, and everything went fine - actually better than expected. The worst part for me was hiding the morning/all day sickness since we hadn't told anyone yet!  Have fun!  Try not to worry!! 

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  • I flew at nine weeks with this pregnancy and was freaked out too. Everything went fine though. My OB just said to make sure to drink lots of water and to get up and move around a bit on the plane to keep up good circulation. No problems there because drinking lots of water, meant a few trips to the bathroom. I requested a pat-down instead of going through the scanner with no problems. Make sure you are extra early though, because they have to find a female security agent to do the pat-down. As far as germs go, wash your hands a lot and don't forget to pack hand sanitizer.
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  • I flew at almost 9w and almost 10w and baby is just fine. I had a tough time battling the m/s during the flights, but everything turned out okay.
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  • I flew at 13 weeks and I will be flying again at 29 weeks. Aisle seat is a must. I to nauseous when I flew at 13 weeks so I just asked for some ginger ale. I anticipated hen I fly at 29 weeks I'm going to be exhausted and plan on taking a nap when we get to my parents. I always try and bring a refillable bottle of water and make sure you stay hydrated. Pack healthy snacks so you don't have to spend money on expensive airport food plus it will help with you getting a headache due to lack of food and elevation changes. 

     Most important talk to your Dr to make sure they have no restrictions 

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  • I flew back in June cross country and it was fine - they automatically did a different screening with me than everyone else (obviously they could tell - I was def showing at that point) and I made sure I drank a lot of water and healthy snacks during the flight and walked around and stretched a bit during the flight.

     Good luck! 

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  • Flying is totally safe - particularly in the middle of pregnancy when you aren't uncomfortable.  I flew plenty with my first pregnancy and have already flown once with this one and am flying again this weekend.

    1) Pregnant or not, you are not required to go through them.  On my last outbound flight I was with my son and they told me that they don't put any kids through them, so I went through old school metal detectors with him.  On the incoming flight back home I just told them that my son and I would prefer to skip the body scanners.  No issues.  (I wasn't showing at this point and no one questioned me as to why I made the request.)  At that airport it was the old school metal detectors too.  You will either have a pat down or go through metal detectors if you decline the body scanner.  No biggie.

    2) Use hand sanitizer and be realistic.  You aren't going to pick up some version of the plague on an airplane.  You might be more likely to catch a cold or some other common and easily spread illness, but it's nothing that the other moms around here with young kids don't catch every day.  Just be smart about keeping yourself as clean as you can.

    3) At 16 weeks, this should not be a problem.  You can get up and move on the airplane and if you have layovers it's a good time to stretch your legs, use a larger bathroom, get something to eat, etc.

    I know how crazy PGAL can be.  But really, try to relax.  It's much worse in your head than it's going to be in reality.  I'm very sorry to hear about your grandpa and sorry you have to make a trip under such sad circumstances.  Between his sickness and just being PGAL in general, it's a lot of stress.  Don't sweat the flight . . . really! 

     

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  • I flew when I was about 5 weeks pregnant and went through the scanners. I'd talk to my doctor, but I don't think there is any reason not to fly.
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  • Personally, I suggest you go, because you'll seriously regret not seeing your Grandpa if you don't get another chance.  The only time I've flown pregnant was to be with my Mom the week leading up to her passing.  I was about 22 weeks, and (other than the emotional worry and stress about my Mom) everything went fine.  It was only an hour flight, but I had no issues regarding the pregnancy.  

    Now for your Qs:

    1. I had no trouble with security, they'll be happy to pat down, if you so ask.

    2. I was all about the wet ones, clorox wipes, and keeping my hands and stuff to myself as much as possible.  I didn't get sick.  If you really want to get crazy, wear a pair of light gloves and mask (my Mom did it on plane rides during chemo, and no one bothered her about it).

    3.  It shouldn't be too bad at 16 weeks, just make sure to take a couple of breaks to stretch out, walk, and change positions. 

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  • We flew a lot during my last pregnancies.  2nd tri is a great time to do it as far as how you'll be feeling so that's good Smile  Layover should actually be nice as far as having a chance to get up and walk around.

    Security attitude just kinda depends on who you get.  Most of the TSA people were very nice to me but one insisted on giving me a pat down.  Jerk.

    Germs - no worries.  Just wash your hands a lot.  DH (pilot) says contrary to what most people think, the air on the plane isn't all recirculated, you get fresh air so it's not too bad.  

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