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Can I have an X-ray if I'm pregnant?

Posted by Be Well

Can I have an X-ray if I'm pregnant?
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When you're pregnant, you should avoid having an X-ray if possible. This is because there's a very small risk that an X-ray could harm your unborn baby, particularly during the first three months of pregnancy when the baby is growing rapidly. So any non-essential X-rays should be avoided as a precaution.

However, sometimes diagnosing an illness using an X-ray is essential for the health of you and your unborn baby.

Therefore, in some circumstances, after discussing your options with you, your healthcare professional may recommend an X-ray to help diagnose an illness or condition so it can be treated.

X-ray machines focus accurately on the part of the body that needs to be viewed. The level of radiation varies depending on the type of X-ray; the dose used will be the lowest possible needed to get a good picture of the part of the body being checked.

Some X-rays will pose very little risk because the radiation doesn't go near the baby. For example, an X-ray of the hand or chest.

X-rays late in pregnancy

X-rays are used occasionally late in pregnancy. For example, if your pelvis or spine is injured while you're pregnant, or if you have a bone disease, an X-ray can help to assess whether you'll be able to deliver your baby without any further complications.

Your doctor and radiologist (the person that carries out your X-ray) will ensure that the benefits of having this type of X-ray far outweigh the risks to you and your baby.

Dental X-rays

It's best to avoid non-essential dental treatment while you're pregnant. Your dentist will always try to avoid taking jaw and tooth X-rays while you're pregnant and will usually wait until you've had the baby.

If you do need urgent dental treatment that involves having an X-ray, you'll be asked to wear a lead apron over your abdomen and pelvis. This will protect your unborn baby from the small risk of radiation.

If your pregnancy hasn't been confirmed

If you think you might be pregnant but haven't confirmed it yet, make sure you tell your doctor or other healthcare professional looking after you. They will take this into account when assessing your treatment.

They may decide to go ahead with the X-ray or to postpone it until pregnancy is confirmed when the situation can be reviewed again.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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