Chest X-Ray During Pregnancy: Effects Of X-Ray Exposure While Pregnant

Question:

Are there any ill effects of chest X-ray on one month pregnancy?

Answer:

Sometimes, X-rays are needed during the course of pregnancy to provide the doctor with important information on a woman’s condition if certain disease is suspected. The doctor is very well trained to determine whether the benefits of the X-ray procedure outweigh the risk to the fetus and to the mother.

Chest X-ray In Pregnant Women

In X-ray procedures of the chest or the upper body, radiation is not directed towards the fetus. The risk of radiation to the baby is minimal in cases like this. The doctor may treat the pregnancy just like any other medical condition. Medical X-rays use very small amount of radiations. Normally an unborn baby should not be exposed to radiation of more than 5 rad.

Most diagnostic X-rays have much less radiation than this, and so there is less to worry. But if the mother is still worried, she can consult a radiation physicist who can figure out how much radiation the baby has been exposed to.

Effects Of X-Ray Exposure During Pregnancy

  • Most people believe that X-rays are harmful to the unborn baby as there could be risks of deformities and other congenital conditions.
  • Well, in the medical circles, there has always been conflicting information as to the risks of X-rays in pregnancy. In fact, countless research studies have been conducted and these offer conflicting results.
  • Still, the rule of thumb is for the pregnant woman to avoid undergoing unnecessary medical procedures as much as possible. However, if the woman is at risk of succumbing to an ailment that can only be diagnosed with X-rays, then it would be more harmful for her not to undergo the procedure.
  • If the pregnant woman really has to undergo X-ray procedures, certain precautions will have to be done. One of these is to minimize the amount of X-ray that has to pass but still ensuring the accuracy of the procedure.
  • Also, procedures done in areas far from the abdomen and pelvic areas will be much safer than those done closest to the where the baby is.
  • The following are lists of possible X-ray doses that may reach the child, depending on where the X-ray procedure is done:
  1. Intravenous pyelogram at 1.398 rad
  2. Lumbosacral spine at 0.359 rad
  3. Abdominal area at 0.245 rad
  4. Upper or lower extremities at 0.001 rad
  5. Mouth and dental areas at 0.0001 rad
  6. Skull at 0.004 rad

2 thoughts on “Chest X-Ray During Pregnancy: Effects Of X-Ray Exposure While Pregnant

  • March 28, 2012 at 11:42 am
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    What are the radiation limits for pregnant women??

    Reply
    • March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm
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      The radiation limit for a pregnant woman is limited to 0.5 rem if she is working in a radiation prone facility.

      Reply

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