Doctor, Will That X-ray Harm My Unborn Child

Ratnapalan S, Bentur Y, Koren G. “Doctor, Will That X-ray Harm My Unborn Child?” Canadian Medical Association Journal 2 December 2008; 179(12):1293-1296.

ABSTRACT: Exposure to ionizing radiation can be a source of anxiety for many pregnant women and their health care providers. An awareness of the radiation doses delivered by different techniques and the acceptable exposure thresholds can help both patients and practitioners. We describe exposure to radiodiagnostic procedures during pregnancy and suggest an approach to assess the potential risk.

COMMENTS: The conclusion is that the dosage of most x-ray procedures is below the threshold of 5 rads and the risk of significant fetal malformation or growth restriction is low. But, one must have a good reason to expose the fetus to ionizing radiation. They note that the perceived risk is greater among both patients and non-radiologist doctors than among radiologists.

As we know, factors that can affect the fetus that are often forgotten are smoking, other sources of radiation, diet, physical activity, exposure to chemicals and toxins common in the household and job site, etc.