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What types of diagnostic imaging procedures can be safely carried out during pregnancy?

No known amount of radiation is safe during pregnancy. Dangers to your baby include an increased risk of mutations and an increased risk of cancer later in life. Some doctors feel the only safe amount of X-rays during pregnancy is none. Presently it is believed the fetus is at greatest risk between 8 and 15 weeks gestation(fetal age between 6 and 13 weeks) X-rays, CAT scans and MRIs are some examples of these procedures. Some points on them in brief:

• Diagnostic X-rays to areas other than the abdomen pose little threat to the developing baby, provided that appropriate radiation shields are used.

• Abdominal CAT scans (CT scans) are to be avoided during pregnancy, due to increased risk that the baby will end up with developmental malformations and / or childhood cancers.

• MRIs are a relatively new technology, so doctors tend to limit their use during pregnancy to situations where critical medical information needs to be obtained and cannot be obtained in any other manner or the only other alternative is for e.g. surgery, poses major risk to mother and baby. Radioactive dyes containing iodine should not be used at all during diagnostic imaging procedures because of the risk of damage to the fetal thyroid.
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