Exposure to high-dose radiation two to eight weeks after conception might increase the risk of fetal growth restriction or birth defects. Exposure between weeks 8 and 16 might increase the risk of a learning or intellectual disability.
Depending on the circumstances, it might be possible to postpone the X -ray or modify it to reduce the amount of radiation. If you had a diagnostic X -ray before you knew you were pregnant, talk to your health care provider.
According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x -ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. Some common diagnostic procedures include dental, chest, CT scan (head/chest), and abdominal view.
The risk to you and your unborn child is very small, and the benefit of finding out about your medical condition is far greater. If you are pregnant, the doctor may decide that it would be best to cancel the x -ray examination, to postpone it, or to modify it to reduce the amount of radiation.
There is scientific disagreement about whether the small amounts of radiation used in diagnostic radiology can actually harm the unborn child, but it is known that the unborn child is very sensitive to the effects of things like radiation, certain drugs, excess alcohol, and infection. If radiation or other agents were to cause changes in these cells, there could be a slightly increased chance of birth defects or certain illnesses, such as leukemia, later in life.
This is to prevent damage to your genes that could be passed on and cause harmful effects in your future descendants. It is a good idea to keep a record of the x -ray examinations you and your family have had taken, so you can provide this kind of information accurately.
Generally speaking, it is safe to have an x -ray while pregnant when the benefits of an x -ray outweigh the risks. However, there are a few different factors to consider when determining the risks, including amount of radiation, the area of the body you are having x-rayed, and the importance of the x -ray to your health.
At UVA Radiology and Medical Imaging, we want to give you all the information you need to work with your doctor and make the best decision for you AND your baby. And it is important to keep in mind that the benefit of allowing your doctor to have a clear image of your medical condition most likely outweighs any potential risk to you or your baby.
The vast majority of pregnant women will not even think about having an X -ray in pregnancy, particularly as we are able to use ultrasound to see the baby. The risks of an X -ray in pregnancy vary with the weeks of gestation and the dose, which is measured in rads or milligrays (may).
In weeks 11 through 17, at the 5-10 rad dose, “Potential effects are scientifically uncertain and probably too subtle to be clinically detectable.” Though ACR notes that toucan have IQ damage over the 10 rad mark, increasing with exposure.
Ultrasounds use sound waves to see your organs and blood flow. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and computer software to produce highly detailed images of organs and structures in your body.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are known to be on the safer side. They don't use ionizing radiation and haven't been shown to harm a fetus.
Even though MRIs are not considered risky, organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still recommend using them sparingly, and only when medically necessary. There's always the possibility that research could identify harmful effects in the future.
Your provider will go over the pros and cons of getting the test. It also depends on the part of your body that needs imaging. They may have extra precautions they take for pregnant women, such as covering your belly with a lead apron to protect the fetus from radiation exposure.