An interesting discussion has been going on in the forums lately about the potential risks and misconceptions of getting diagnostic x-rays and routine ultrasounds when you’re pregnant – Dr. Richard of myhealthbeijing.com sheds some light on some common concerns about the perceived risks of these procedures:
Regarding Chest X-Rays:
"The good news is that a chest x-ray has very low radiation and is considered appropriate during pregnancy if necessary. From the American Board of Family Practice: "The accepted cumulative dose of ionizing radiation during pregnancy is 5 rad, and no single diagnostic study exceeds this maximum. For example, the amount of exposure to the fetus from a two-view chest x-ray of the mother is only 0.00007 rad. The most sensitive time period for central nervous system teratogenesis is between 10 and 17 weeks of gestation. Nonurgent radiologic testing should be avoided during this time. Rare consequences of prenatal radiation exposure include a slight increase in the incidence of childhood leukemia and, possibly, a very small change in the frequency of genetic mutations.”
Regarding CT Scans:
"By the way, CT’s have 200-400 times the power of an x-ray and have much more of a long-term risk of causing cancer if you get a lot of them. That’s why those "Screening CT Exams", if you got one annually for many years, actually could cause some problems. As an emergency tool, yes they’re wonderful, but as a screening test multiple times, you need to think about things and do some research …"
"Bottom line, there’s no evidence that ultrasounds do harm. There’s a theoretical risk of raised temperatures potentially causing harm, but again in real life there are no cases. This was recently reviewed again by the WHO and again there was no data found to suggest any danger (see abstract below). Still, as with anything regarding pregnancy, it’s good to be cautious and do the minimum required by your OB. And it’s always best to go to a center with much technical experience."
Check out the thread here and feel free to chime in.