Patient Exposure During Radiological Procedures

What if a radiological examination was received before a patient realizes she is pregnant?

For regular X-ray examinations, there is no need to worry about affecting the fetus.

Therefore, be sure to ask the person making the inquiry specific information about their concerns, such as the type of examination, the area examined, how many weeks pregnant the patient was during the examination, and the purpose of the examination. The exposure field is often not in the pelvic area, so it is important to confirm the area examined. Even in the case of CT scans of the pelvic area that encompass the entire fetus, the dose to the fetus is normally less than 40 milli grays and does not normally exceed the 100 milligray threshold dose that could cause radiation effects. If the person is worried about morphological abnormalities, based on information about atomic bomb survivors, for example, and the exposure did not occur during the organogenesis period, it may relieve their worries to explain that to them. If necessary, also explain that no increased risk of future childhood cancer has been confirmed from doses below 100 milligrays (source: ICRP publ. 84, Pregnancy and Medical Radiation).

In some cases, the purpose of the examination was for a general health examination. If so, help the person feel grateful that no abnormalities were discovered during the health examination.