If you are a woman, chances are you have heard the question, “Are you pregnant?” when at the dentist, doctor’s office or your local imaging center. While it has been a general rule to not receive a diagnostic imaging test while pregnant, this thinking has changed over time in some instances. In some cases, it is necessary for the woman’s health for her to receive an imaging test even while pregnant. When it is necessary, the benefits of having an imaging test done outweigh the potential, minimal risks to the baby. As a woman, it is important to understand the actual issues concerning x-ray exposure during pregnancy.
An x-ray is commonly used to examine the head, arms, legs, chest or teeth. In these types of procedures, there is typically no risk to the baby if done properly and the woman wears a leaded apron for the upmost protection. X-rays that are performed to examine the stomach, abdomen, pelvis, kidneys or lower back do have a greater chance of exposing the uterus and baby to radiation. While most pregnant women do not need to receive an x-ray of this type during their pregnancy, in some instances, your doctor may prescribe one to further examine a medical condition. It is important to remember that the typical dose of radiation that is used in a basic x-ray is not significant enough to harm the baby even when performed on the abdomen. Also, remember that if your healthcare provider is insisting you to have an X-ray performed, then he or she believes that it is absolutely necessary to your health.
Now that you know the risks associated with receiving certain types of x-rays while pregnant, you can be in better charge of your unborn baby’s health and your own. The most important rule is to always tell your physician that you are pregnant or if you think you might be pregnant. This information is important for not only medical decisions involving x-rays, but also for drug prescriptions and other medical decisions as well. Being open and honest with your medical provider will leave you feeling much more comfortable with any decisions you make together during your pregnancy.