X-Ray and Pregnancy

X-rays and Pregnancy related issues are worth discussing here. Due to ignorance and accidental exposure to x-ray happens.  People frequently ask and seek advice on safety of security equipment,  metal detectors, airport security systems and scanners. Sometimes doctors  advise x-ray or CT scan in pregnancy, but never as routine. There are  misconceptions on X-rays and pregnancy. Lets  discuss the facts:

How You May Get Exposed to Radiations:

 I had lower back pain and i did an x ray in my abdomen without knowing I am pregnant….. please can you tell me  if the  baby will be safe? today I was in ultrasound and I heard heartbeat

1.    Most of the accidental exposure happens when you go for X-ray not knowing that you’re pregnant. A woman conceives before she misses her first period.  Similarly health workers get exposed, but accidentally.  Risk of exposure in health workers higher than you.

2.    Many a times, doctors may suggest an x-ray or CT scan. This may be to diagnose some fetal abnormalities (e.g., Heart Disease)  or due to other unavoidable situations. In this case, the CT scan is considered more important than the risk involved.

3.    Today’s airports are equipped with  full body x-ray scanners. This is another form of exposure and very common form of exposure.

4.    Rarely, a pregnant woman may get exposed to very high dose of radiation from malfunctioned equipment, accidents and disasters in factories ( occupational exposure). This is dangerous and may harm the baby.

Facts on X-ray and Pregnancy

1.    It is highly recommended to avoid x-ray exposures during first trimester ( First 3 months of pregnancy)

2.    Single exposures or exposures before knowing that you were pregnant, the baby should be unharmed. X-rays harm the most when it’s repeated several times or in very high doses.

3.    Even X-rays or CT scan done on you or your baby in the womb, do not harm your baby when advised by your doctor.  Your doctor suggests you the best timing and all safety precautions for such investigations.

4.    Airport security full body x-rays very low dose of radiation. It’s in such a low dose that doesn’t reach your baby. Even it doesn’t penetrate beyond your skin.

5.    Metal detectors, magnetic detectors are completely safe on pregnancy.

6.    Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI is very safe in pregnancy and newborn.

7.    Airport x-ray screener that is used to see in to our carry-on items doesn’t harm you or unborn baby, though you may be standing close to that.

8.    X-ray radiation doesn’t get incorporated or impregnated in your clothes that were screened.

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