Is it safe to have an X-ray while I’m pregnant?

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Yes, in most cases. While the standard advice has long been to avoid X-rays during pregnancy unless it’s absolutely necessary, that thinking has changed.

Diagnostic X-rays, such as dental X-rays and chest X-rays, are now considered safe for pregnant women. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women maintain good oral health by keeping up with such routine dental procedures as X-rays, teeth cleaning, cavity-filling, and root canals.

 

The amount of radiation that reaches the baby during a typical X-ray is very low. Even a diagnostic X-ray of your abdomen is unlikely to expose your baby to enough radiation to be harmful.

It’s a still a good idea to use a leaded apron to protect your abdomen to minimize your baby’s radiation exposure when you’ve having other parts X-rayed. So let your doctor and dentist know when you are, or might be, pregnant. In some cases, your doctor may want to use ultrasound instead of an X-ray.

There are some kinds of X-rays (such as those used to treat disease) that may expose your baby to high doses of radiation, which can cause miscarriage or birth defects as well as some cancers in later life. If you need this type of X-ray, your doctor can help you weigh the risks and the benefits for you and your baby.