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Information on the risk of radiology exams during pregnancy

Exposure to ionising radiation during pregnancy

To give birth is one of the most beautiful things in the world. But to ensure that your child is born strong and healthy, you need to protect yourself from ionising radiation during your pregnancy.

You should therefore avoid irradiation of your unborn child as much as possible. If, in an emergency, it is absolutely vital for a pregnant woman to undergo a medical imaging procedure that involves ionising radiation, adequate measures must be taken to minimise the unborn child’s exposure to radiation. As a precaution, we recommend that you avoid all radiation during pregnancy, from the moment you conceive.

To be able to assess the risk that an examination poses to your unborn child, we take into account the stage of your pregnancy during exposure and which dose of radiation your child will receive. Discuss this with your doctor.

If you are pregnant, inform the doctor who is requesting or performing the exam, even if he or she does not ask you about this. Even if you are not sure that you are pregnant, e.g., in the first few days following possible conception, you need to alert your doctor or radiologist that there is a possibility that you are pregnant.

If you do not have the opportunity to speak to the doctor who is doing the exam directly, talk to the receptionist, nurses, or the doctor’s assistants. They will pass on your message to the doctor/radiologist.

If the exam is not urgent, the doctor may decide to postpone it or require you take a pregnancy test first to exclude pregnancy. Another option is use another non-irradiating technique, such as ultrasound or MRI.

AFCN-FANC document