Is It Safe to Get an X-Ray during Pregnancy?

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There are a lot of wives' tales about pregnancy and what you can and can't do while carrying a baby. We'd like to dispel one of those myths in this article. Many women wonder whether or not it's safe to get an X-ray while they're pregnant. The short answer is actually yes, it's perfectly safe. Here's why.

Limited Exposure

The reason most women fear X-rays during pregnancy is the risk of exposing the fetus to radiation. The fact is, the amount of radiation you are exposed to during diagnostic X-rays is extremely limited. X-rays of the arms, legs, teeth, head, or chest, won't actually expose your reproductive organs (or your baby) to radiation at all. And as an added safety measure, most doctors will provide you with a lead apron to cover your torso to block any and all radiation.

The Exception

There is one exception to this rule that you should be aware of: abdominal X-rays. If you're pregnant, you should not get any X-rays of your stomach. Because the radiation will be aimed directly at your abdomen, your baby will be exposed to the radiation. High doses of radiation can affect the fetus's rapidly growing and changing cells. This can increase the baby's risk of birth defects and even certain cancers later in life.

The typical dose of radiation associated with an X-ray (even of the abdomen) doesn't pose any risk, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. If you're unsure of whether or not you should get an X-ray, speak to your doctor.

 

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