Effects of X-Rays during Pregnancy

Effects of X-Rays during Pregnancy

Pregnancy may be a time to take excellent care of yourself and your unborn child. Many things are especially important during pregnancy, like eating right, cutting out cigarettes and alcohol, and being careful about the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you’re taking. Diagnostic x-rays and other medical radiation procedures of the abdominal area also deserve extra attention during pregnancy. This brochure is to help you understand the problems concerning x-ray exposure during pregnancy.

Diagnostic x-rays can give the doctor important and even life-saving information about a few person’s medical conditions. But like many things, diagnostic x-rays have risks also as benefits. they ought to be used only they’re going to give the doctor information needed to treat you.

You’ll probably never need an abdominal x-ray during pregnancy. But sometimes, due to a specific medical condition, your physician may feel that a diagnostic x-ray of your abdomen or lower torso is required. If this could happen – do not be upset. the risk to you and your unborn child is extremely small, and therefore the advantage of checking out about your medical condition is way greater. In fact, the danger of not having a needed x-ray might be much greater than the risk from the radiation. But even small risks shouldn’t be taken if they’re unnecessary.

You can reduce those risks by telling your doctor if you’re, or think you would possibly be, pregnant whenever an abdominal x-ray is prescribed. If you’re pregnant, the doctor may decide that it might be best to cancel the x-ray examination, to postpone it, or switch it to scale back the quantity of radiation. Or, counting on your medical needs, and realizing that the risk is extremely small, the doctor may feel that it’s best to proceed with the x-ray as planned. In any case, you ought to be happy to discuss the choice together with your doctor.

What kind of X-Rays Can Affect the Unborn Child?

During most x-ray examinations – like those of the arms, legs, head, teeth, or chest – your reproductive organs aren’t exposed to the direct x-ray beam. So these sorts of procedures, when properly done, don’t 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. they’re of more concern.

What Are the Possible Effects of X-Rays?

There is scientific disagreement about whether the small amounts of radiation utilized in diagnostic radiology can actually harm the unborn child, but it’s known that the unborn child is extremely sensitive to the consequences of things like radiation, certain drugs, excess alcohol, and infection. this is often true, in part, because the cells are rapidly dividing and growing into specialized cells and tissues. If radiation or other agents were to cause changes in these cells, there might be a rather increased chance of birth defects or certain illnesses, like leukemia, later in life.

It should be acknowledged, however, that the majority of birth defects and childhood diseases occur albeit the mother isn’t exposed to any known harmful agent during pregnancy. Scientists believe that heredity and random errors within the developmental process are liable for most of those problems.

What If I’m X-Rayed Before I do know I’m Pregnant?

Don’t be alarmed. Remember that the possibility of any harm to you and your unborn child from an x-ray is extremely small. There are, however, rare situations during which a lady who is unaware of her pregnancy may receive a really large number of abdominal x-rays over a short period. Or she may receive radiation treatment of the lower torso. Under these circumstances, the lady should discuss the possible risks together with her doctor.

How you’ll Help Minimize the Risks

Most important, tell your physician if you’re pregnant or think you would possibly be. this is important for several medical decisions, like drug prescriptions and medical procedures, also as x-rays. And remember, this is true even within the very early weeks of pregnancy.

Occasionally, a lady may mistake the symptoms of pregnancy for the symptoms of a disease. If you’ve got any of the symptoms of pregnancy – nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, fatigue – consider whether you would possibly be pregnant and tell your doctor or x-ray technologist (the person doing the examination) before having an x-ray of the lower torso. A pregnancy test could also be involved.

If you’re pregnant or think you would possibly be, don’t hold a child who is being x-rayed. If you’re not pregnant and you’re asked to carry a toddler during an x-ray, make certain to invite a lead apron to protect your reproductive organs. this is often to stop damage to your genes that would be passed on and cause harmful effects in your future descendants.

Whenever an x-ray is requested, tell your doctor about any similar x-rays you’ve got had recently. it’s going to not be necessary to try another. it’s an honest idea to stay a record of the x-ray examinations you and your family have had taken so you’ll provide this type of data accurately.

Feel free to speak together with your doctor about the necessity for an x-ray examination. you ought to understand the rationale x-rays are requested in your particular case.

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