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When you have a baby growing inside your womb, it is normal to want to be extra cautious and prevent any harm from happening to your baby. That’s why it is best to do your research thoroughly when pregnant and understand the safety issues of pretty much anything. This includes dental X-rays during pregnancy, MRI scans risks, CT scans guidelines, and even getting an abdominal X-ray while pregnant.
It is well known that you, and your baby, should not be exposed to radiation while pregnant, but what happens if you need to undergo an X-ray, CT scan or MRI while pregnant? In this article, we’ll discuss the effect of X-rays on pregnancy and any safety guidelines you should be aware of in regards to different forms of X-rays while pregnant.
X-ray during pregnancy guideline
If you fall ill during pregnancy, in some cases a doctor may need to perform an X-ray to help determine the course of treatment needed. The type of X-ray you need will determine how safe an X-ray while pregnant is; however, an X-Ray should only be done during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Some X-rays during pregnancy are unlikely to harm you or your baby as they do not expose direct X-ray beams to your reproductive organs. This includes X-rays to the head, chest, and even legs, especially when wearing a lead apron to provide protection to the baby from any radiation scatter.
However, the risk and safety issues come from multiple abdominal X-rays while pregnant. The effect of X-rays on early pregnancy can be determined based on two factors: the baby’s gestational age and how much radiation they’re being exposed to. When a fetus is exposed to extremely high doses of radiation through abdominal X-rays in the first two weeks after conception, it could result in a miscarriage. But, these high levels are rarely ever used in diagnostic imaging.
Can you get an MRI while pregnant?
What if your doctor needs more than just an X-ray and asks for an MRI during pregnancy, can that put the baby at risk? While most doctors try to minimize the use of scans for a mother unless absolutely necessary, one of the options with the least risk for pregnant women after an ultrasound would be an MRI.
This is because an MRI uses radio waves instead of radiation to transmit images. It is also a useful tool as it produces excellent images and can be helpful in diagnosis and treatment for both a pregnant mother and a baby in the womb.
CT scan in pregnancy guidelines
As stated above, if any form of image processing can be avoided for a pregnant woman, it is the safest option. However, considering that the health of the mother is essential to be able to raise a healthy baby, sometimes X-rays, MRIs, and even CT scans might be requested by your doctor.
Unlike MRIs, a CT Scan uses X-ray radiation and will only be used during pregnancy when necessary. Just like X-rays, most body parts during a CT scan will pose no risk to the baby from radiation, unless the abdomen or pelvis are being scanned.
While in most cases, a CT scan on the abdomen or pelvis will not be enough to harm the baby, there is a risk of 1 in every 1,000 babies that an unborn baby exposed to CT scan on the abdomen or pelvis will have a greater risk of developing cancer. That’s why a CT scan will only be requested if it is absolutely essential.
- Is it Safe to Have an X-Ray during Pregnancy? – Mayo Clinic
- MRI Safety During pregnancy – Radiologyinfo.org
- Is MRI Safe During Pregnancy? – Vision Xray Group
- X-Rays During Pregnancy – American Pregnancy Association
- CT Safety during pregnancy – Radiologyinfo.org