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Can a pregnant woman get an x ray

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Safety of Radiographic Imaging During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is a time to take good care of yourself and your unborn child. Many things are especially important during pregnancy, such as eating right, cutting out cigarettes and alcohol, and being careful about the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take.

Diagnostic x-rays and other medical radiation procedures of the abdominal area also deserve extra attention during pregnancy.

This brochure is to help you understand the issues concerning x-ray exposure during pregnancy. Diagnostic x-rays can give the doctor important and even life-saving information about a person's medical condition. But like many things, diagnostic x-rays have risks as well as benefits. They should be used only when they will give the doctor information needed to treat you.

You'll probably never need an abdominal x-ray during pregnancy. But sometimes, because of a particular medical condition, your physician may feel that a diagnostic x-ray of your abdomen or lower torso is needed. If this should happen - don't be upset. The risk to you and your unborn child is very small, and the benefit of finding out about your medical condition is far greater. In fact, the risk of not having a needed x-ray could be much greater than the risk from the radiation.

But even small risks should not be taken if they're unnecessary. You can reduce those risks by telling your doctor if you are, or think you might be, pregnant whenever an abdominal x-ray is prescribed. 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. In any case, you should feel free to discuss the decision with your doctor. During most x-ray examinations - like those of the arms, legs, head, teeth, or chest - your reproductive organs are not exposed to the direct x-ray beam.

So these kinds of procedures, when properly done, do not involve any risk to the unborn child. However, x-rays of the mother's lower torso - abdomen, stomach, pelvis, lower back, or kidneys - may expose the unborn child to the direct x-ray beam. They are of more concern.

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. This is true, in part, because the cells are rapidly dividing and growing into specialized cells and tissues. 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.

It should be pointed out, however, that the majority of birth defects and childhood diseases occur even if the mother is not exposed to any known harmful agent during pregnancy. Scientists believe that heredity and random errors in the developmental process are responsible for most of these problems. Don't be alarmed. Remember that the possibility of any harm to you and your unborn child from an x-ray is very small. There are, however, rare situations in which a woman who is unaware of her pregnancy may receive a very large number of abdominal x-rays over a short period.

Or she may receive radiation treatment of the lower torso. Under these circumstances, the woman should discuss the possible risks with her doctor. This is important for many medical decisions, such as drug prescriptions and nuclear medicine procedures, as well as x-rays. And remember, this is true even in the very early weeks of pregnancy. Occasionally, a woman may mistake the symptoms of pregnancy for the symptoms of a disease. If you have any of the symptoms of pregnancy - nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, fatigue - consider whether you might be pregnant and tell your doctor or x-ray technologist the person doing the examination before having an x-ray of the lower torso.

A pregnancy test may be called for. If you are pregnant, or think you might be, do not hold a child who is being x-rayed. If you are not pregnant and you are asked to hold a child during an x-ray, be sure to ask for a lead apron to protect your reproductive organs.

This is to prevent damage to your genes that could be passed on and cause harmful effects in your future descendants. It may not be necessary to do another. 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. Feel free to talk with your doctor about the need for an x-ray examination.

You should understand the reason x-rays are requested in your particular case. FDA

The Safety of X-rays During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time to take good care of yourself and your unborn child. Many things are especially important during pregnancy, such as eating right, cutting out cigarettes and alcohol, and being careful about the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take. Diagnostic x-rays and other medical radiation procedures of the abdominal area also deserve extra attention during pregnancy.

The possibility of an X-ray during pregnancy causing harm to your unborn child is very small. Generally, the benefits of the diagnostic information from an X-ray outweigh the potential risk to a baby.

Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor. See related article on safety of radiographic imaging during pregnancy. Yes, x-rays are generally safe in pregnancy.

The Effects of X-Rays in the First Month of Pregnancy

Exposure to harmful substances in the earliest weeks of pregnancy -- often before a woman realizes she's pregnant -- can pose risks to human embryos. Although high doses of radiation can be harmful, in the vast majority of cases, the amount of radiation exposure during an x-ray is not enough to affect a pregnancy or harm the developing embryo. Talk with your doctor if you had an x-ray in the first four weeks of pregnancy. Your baby is exposed to some radiation whenever you have an x-ray, but doses of less than 5 rads -- rads are the units used to measure radiation exposure -- are not known to cause any short-term harm to a developing fetus. Conventional x-rays generally expose a developing baby to far less radiation than this level. For example, an abdominal x-ray typically exposes a fetus to an average of 0. Doses of 5 rads or less do not increase your risk of losing the pregnancy, note the authors of a research article published in May in the "American Journal of Roentgenology. Major malformations in an embryo occur spontaneously in around 3 percent of all pregnancies, with or without radiation exposure. X-ray exposure of less than 5 rads between the second and fourth week of pregnancy generally does not increase the risk of birth defects, according to the United States National Council on Radiation Protection. The risk of congenital malformations or birth defects most likely does not increase unless a pregnant woman has been exposed to 10 to 20 rads, according to CDC.

Is it Safe to Get an X-ray While Pregnant?

To help diagnose and treat musculoskeletal injuries, orthopaedic surgeons often recommend x-rays. If you experience an injury while you are pregnant, you may be concerned about the impact that radiation from an x-ray will have on your unborn child. Fortunately, the potential for harm to your baby is generally quite low. It has been shown that the amount of radiation received from a single diagnostic x-ray is so small that it is unlikely to pose a risk to a developing baby. A diagnostic x-ray can provide your doctor with valuable information and poses little risk to your unborn child.

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.

Is a chest x ray during pregnancy dangerous? I am eight weeks pregnant. I have to go for this test and there is no protection like a shield or an apron available.

Are X-Rays Harmful During Pregnancy?

Medical imaging exams are generally safe during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, it is acceptable to have an imaging exam when your doctor considers it necessary to determine your future course of medical care. Bear in mind that your health is important to the health of your baby. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging MRI procedures use radiation that is very different from x-rays.

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. Ultimately, you and your doctor must weigh the benefits and risks of having an X-ray while pregnant. Pregnancy is a delicate time for many women as they strive to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy child. There is so much information out there to help prepare women for pregnancy and childbirth: what to eat, what not to eat, how to exercise, what to pack in your hospital bag, etc. At times it can seem overwhelming.

Radiation Exposure and X-Rays During Pregnancy

If indicated, chronic cough, possible fracture, etc. If you need an x-ray for a pregnant patient, go ahead and get it, but try to shield the baby with a lead apron to minimize the fetal exposure. In your zeal to shield the pregnant abdomen, be careful not to shield so much that the value of the x-ray is diminished. If the shielding is too high while obtaining a chest x-ray, you will have to obtain a second x-ray to visualize the area shielded during the first x-ray. The risk to the fetus from radiation exposure is minimal in these circumstances. There appears to be a threshold for fetal malformation or death of at least 10 Rads, below which, biologic effects cannot be demonstrated.

Jun 13, - X-ray exposure in very early pregnancy can result in decreased fetal 5 rads during their mother's pregnancy have a slightly increased risk for.

See related patient information handout on radiographic imaging in pregnancy , written by the authors of this article. Maternal illness during pregnancy is not uncommon and sometimes requires radiographic imaging for proper diagnosis and treatment. The patient and her physician may be concerned about potential harm to the fetus from radiation exposure. In reality, however, the risks to the developing fetus are quite small.

Can the exams hurt the baby of a pregnant woman?

Back to Pregnancy. Your healthcare professional can help you decide whether your treatment can wait until you've had your baby. They may also consider using another imaging method, such as an ultrasound scan.






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