Learn More About Your Pregnancy
X-Rays During Pregnancy
You may not need an abdominal x-ray during pregnancy, but sometimes, due to a particular medical condition, your physician may feel that a diagnostic x-ray of your abdomen or lower torso is needed. If this should happen, don’t worry — the risk to you and your unborn child is very low, and the benefit of finding out about your medical condition is far greater. But even small risks should not be taken if they’re unnecessary.
You can reduce those risks by telling your doctor if you are, or think you might be, pregnant whenever an abdominal x-ray is prescribed. If you are pregnant, the doctor may decide that it would be best to cancel, postpone, or modify the x-ray to reduce the amount of radiation. It is possible that because the risk is very small, the doctor may feel that it is best to proceed with the x-ray.
What kind of x-rays can affect my baby?
During most x-ray examinations — like those of the arms, legs, head, teeth, or chest — your reproductive organs are not exposed to the direct x-ray beam. These kinds of procedures do not involve any risk to the unborn child. However, x-rays of the mother’s lower torso — abdomen, stomach, pelvis, lower back, or kidneys — may expose the unborn child to the direct x-ray beam. These x-rays are of more concern.
If you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, do not hold a child who is being x-rayed.
Even if you are not pregnant and you are asked to hold a child during an x-ray, be sure to ask for a lead apron to protect your reproductive organs.