Despite being extra careful while pregnant, you may sustain an injury that will need a diagnostic scan in order for the doctor to assess the damage, determine its severity, and get you the treatment you need.
Safety is a common concern of pregnant women who need to get an X-ray. While caution is always used when performing X-rays, healthcare providers weigh the benefits and risks carefully before ordering X-rays for pregnant patients.
There is a very small possibility for an X-ray to harm the fetus, especially since low dose radiation is used for the procedure, and pregnant women are asked to wear a lead apron to protect the area from radiation. Researchers and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) agree that the risk of small dose radiation to a pregnant woman and her unborn child is very small.
Health care providers take steps to minimize the risks of X-rays on pregnant patients. For instance, X-rays scans for pregnant women carefully avoid the reproductive organs, and as mentioned earlier, if you are pregnant, you will be asked to wear a protective lead apron.
The most common X-rays on pregnant women are scans of teeth, the head, chest, and arms, and legs. You will probably not get an abdominal X-ray during pregnancy. That is not to say that abdominal X-rays are always harmful to the baby, as it depends on the gestational age and the amount of radiation used in the procedure.
If a doctor orders an X-ray, it is usually a result of careful deliberation. If the benefits of the X-ray outweigh the risks, then an X-ray may be recommended. However, if a pregnant woman has had several X-rays before finding out she’s pregnant, it could affect the baby. For a single X-ray scan using low dose radiation (which is what’s typically used for diagnostic purposes) to evaluate an injury, you should not worry about harming your baby if you are pregnant, as your healthcare team will take the necessary precautions during the test. According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic procedure can threaten the development of an unborn child.
To minimize risk to yourself and your unborn child, let your healthcare provider know if you are pregnant or might be pregnant. Also, let them know if you’ve had X-rays recently, as this is important information that they should know. For the procedure, you may ask for a lead apron to protect your belly and reproductive organs. If you are concerned, ask if there are other medical imaging techniques that can be used to evaluate your condition, or the scan can be moved to a later date — after the baby is born.
At EMC Express Care, our healthcare providers offer quality urgent care services to patients of all ages, including pregnant women. We will discuss each treatment and procedure with you and any concerns you may have will be addressed. In our walk-in clinic, we use digital X-rays, which require a much lower dose of radiation to produce detailed images of the body, making it safer for pregnant patients.
If you have any questions, call our Fort Worth clinic at (817) 503-8800. You can check-in online now for greater ease. We are a walk-in clinic open from 10 am to 8 pm daily. There is no need to make an appointment – simply walk in!