X-ray during pregnancy


To the question: "Is it possible to do an x-ray of a tooth during pregnancy?", The dentists answer: "It is possible, but it is undesirable in the first trimester." If the doctor has the opportunity to cure a tooth without a picture, he will definitely do it. However, in some cases, an x-ray is required, for example, at a fracture of the root of a tooth, with a cyst gum (tooth) or in the treatment of root canals.

How dangerous is the x-ray of a tooth to the fetus? Modern models of dental x-ray machines are minimal exposure. For example, after taking an X-ray of a tooth, a woman receives a dose of radiation equal to 0.02 millisievert (mSv), while for air travel over medium distances (2500 km) - 0.01 mSv. Thus, if a pregnant woman flies to rest on the sea, she will receive the same dose of X-ray irradiation as during an x-ray of a tooth. In addition, with a X-ray of teeth, a very limited area is irradiated, and the stomach and the fetus itself are reliably protected by a lead apron, which does not transmit x-rays.

If there is an urgent need to obtain an image of the tooth, you can contact the clinic equipped with a viziograph. Compared with conventional X-ray apparatus, its radiation load is 10 times less and amounts to 0.002 mSv.

But still, in order to completely eliminate the pathological effect on the fetus, doctors recommend making a tooth X-ray to pregnant women, starting from the second trimester. After 12 weeks of development, the fetus becomes less sensitive to X-rays.


Pregnancy is an exciting stage that requires responsibility from a woman. The health of an unborn child depends on how carefully the future mother treats her well-being. The list of safe medications and procedures allowed during childbirth is very small, since most effective treatments have a negative effect on pregnancy and fetal development. One of these procedures is radiography.

Planning a pregnancy - a reason to abandon the procedure?

Obstetricians and gynecologists recommend that women planning a child undergo all necessary examinations several months before the intended conception, in order to eliminate the possibility of hidden pathologies and diseases and increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. The list of mandatory studies in this period includes pulmonary fluorography. Many women, knowing about the dangers of radiation, refuse from this examination because of the fear of possible complications.

Do not do this. The dose of radiation that women receive during the procedure is very small and does not affect the structure and integrity of the eggs, so you should not refuse to take fluorography or other procedures that the doctor advises.

importantThe consequences of tuberculosis or sepsis, which can develop as a result of inflammation of the periosteum of the tooth due to improper treatment (if the woman refuses X-rays), are worse than minimal risks during the procedure.

How does x-ray affect the fetus?

X-ray radiation has the ability to penetrate the thin tissues of the body, which actively divide, lingering at the same time with more dense tissues, due to which the image of the contours of organs and bones is obtained. Passing through thin tissues, X-rays break chains of DNA, form a huge number of free radicals, it is also worth noting that such rays are chemically active.

As a result, the cells of the body can become unviable or mutate, the more such cells, the higher the risk of anomalies in the unborn child, since in the body of the fetus many cells actively divide during pregnancy.

The most unfavorable effect of X-ray radiation in early pregnancy, when the organs and systems of the baby are only laid and formed. In the first weeks of pregnancy the formation of the fetal nervous system occurs, so an x-ray at this time can lead to underdevelopment of brain structures, which can further affect the development of the child and even its viability, as well as pathologies of the nervous system.

In the first months pregnancy, the adrenal glands are laid, the heart, the immune system is formed, which is why early X-rays can disrupt the functioning of certain organs and systems of the baby, affecting his health in the future. In the second and third trimester the risk of developing pathologies is reduced, but even in late pregnancy, x-rays can lead to certain consequences: cause pathologies of the blood system, as well as pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract.

Can X-rays be made pregnant?

Pregnancy itself is not an indication or a contraindication for radiography. Only a serious medical basis for such a diagnosis matters. During the childbearing, when there is no way to recognize the pathology in other ways, and an x-ray is applied. This applies to diseases such as myocarditis, pneumonia or tuberculosis, but even in this case, doctors try to prescribe the procedure after the first trimester. With various fractures, the need to check the condition of the teeth, such an examination is also extremely important for a woman.

Experts, whenever possible, try to minimize the results of diagnosis for the fetus, use shielding and diaphragming with lead “aprons” covering the most vulnerable parts of the woman’s body. This is fully consistent with the safety measures approved by the Ministry of Health. As for examinations of the pelvic region of a woman, they are carried out only on the basis of important indications concerning the life of the expectant mother.

However, there is prophylactic radiography, which is completely contraindicated not only for pregnant women, but also for nursing mothers.

The effect of x-ray depending on the duration of pregnancy

Harmful teratogenic effect of electromagnetic waves is unequal in different periods of pregnancy. The most severe complications are usually triggered by such manipulations in the early stages, in particular - until the 9th week. At this time, the conception, the transfer of the embryo into the uterus and its implantation takes place, then the future tissues are laid.

At the end of 8 weeks, in addition to the nervous system, the skeleton, the main organs, the digestive and pulmonary systems develop, and radiation exposure can provoke miscarriage, fetal death, or various defects, sometimes incompatible with the life of the child.

At 10 weeks and later, the risk of developmental defects is no longer so high, but if there is an opportunity to postpone the examination, it is better to do so, postponing the procedure to a later date, preferably to 3 trimester. Conducting X-ray imaging at this time may pose a threat of oncological growth, as well as affect the mental health of the baby in the future.

Can I do x-rays during pregnancy?

If a woman is already pregnant, and there is a need to make an x-ray, you should not refuse the procedure. In some cases, the future mother's life depends on timely diagnosis, so prudence should be exercised and listen to the opinion of the attending physician.

X-rays for pregnant women are prescribed according to strict indications, when, without the results of the study, it is impossible to establish the cause of the pathology, make an accurate diagnosis and select the correct therapy. This is due to the damaging ability of electromagnetic waves, which "break" the protein shell of the cell and cause its death or mutation.

What if x-rays are necessary during pregnancy?

Sometimes there are situations when you simply cannot do without an X-ray. As a rule, x-rays are prescribed to women when the likelihood of severe complications in the mother is high or there is a threat to life. Note that the closer the examined part of the body to the fetus, the greater the influence of X-rays on the unborn child. So, an x-ray of an arm or leg is less dangerous than an x-ray of a pelvis.

In case of bone fracture a study of a woman who is expecting a baby is taking place simultaneously with the screening (protection of the pelvis, chest and abdomen from radiation). But even after such a protected study with the use of radiation, an ultrasound scan should be done to ensure the health of the unborn child and its normal development.

If during pregnancy you need to do x-ray of a tooth, the woman may not be worried, since the small amount of radiation that she receives during the study will not affect the baby in any way, the same goes for the x-ray of the future mother's nose.

Expectant mothers are prohibited from participating in radiodiagnosis, that is, staying close to their children and relatives during the study. Many women are interested in what to do if the presence of pregnancy was established after x-ray or another X-ray? In this case, you should definitely consult a geneticist about a possible threat to pregnancy and the unborn child.

X-ray teratogenic effect

The effect of ionizing radiation on the fetus is not the same at different stages of development. The earlier the irradiation occurred, the harder the consequences. The embryo existing in utero for no more than 8 weeks is most vulnerable to X-ray. From week 9, the risk of malformations decreases.

How does x-ray affect pregnancy? It is during the embryonic period that the most significant changes occur in the body of the unborn child. The fetal egg is implanted in the uterus a week after fertilization. Organs are actively laying for a period of 4-8 weeks. At this time, the nervous system, heart, kidneys, limbs are formed. By the 8th week of pregnancy, the laying of the lungs and intestines begins. The action of harmful factors, including ionizing radiation, during the described periods is extremely dangerous. The consequences of such an intervention vary from malformations of varying severity to the death of the embryo and miscarriage. For this reason, an x-ray during early pregnancy, especially if the image captures the pelvis and abdomen, is done only for urgent reasons.

The fetal (fetal) period of embryogenesis begins after the 9th week. The effect of X-ray on pregnancy during this period is not so catastrophic, especially since the second half of the second trimester. That is why the X-ray, if the study can not be postponed until delivery, it is preferable to do as late as possible, better in the III trimester. At this time, all the organs of the baby are already formed, which means that the risk of developing malformations is minimal. However, the negative influence of radiation cannot be completely excluded. X-ray during pregnancy in the later periods adversely affects the mental development of the child and can cause cancer. Often the tumor does not appear immediately. The consequences are possible years after birth.

X-ray in early pregnancy leads to impaired organogenesis and developmental defects, including life-threatening ones. Irradiation at the stage of the ovum often ends with pronounced genetic abnormalities and spontaneous abortion. Children exposed to ionizing radiation in the later stages of gestation are prone to cancer and may lag behind in development.

Does X-ray affect pregnancy?

Modern devices used for X-ray diagnostics are safer than devices that were used several years ago. Despite this, an x-ray examination of the abdomen and pelvis causes the fetus to receive a certain amount of radiation, which, of course, affects its development.

The greater the proportion of X-rays, the greater the likelihood of abortion in the coming hours after the study. During the first week of pregnancy (when the organs and systems of the baby have not yet begun to form), the “all or nothing” rule applies to x-rays, in other words, either the child dies from the received radiation dose or develops further.

What could be the consequences?

It is possible to speak about the danger of X-ray exposure if the established threshold of 1 millisievert is exceeded, frequent examination with the help of electromagnetic waves penetrating into the internal structures of the human body is also extremely harmful.

It doesn’t matter if fluoroscopy is performed with the results on the monitor or radiography, when pictures are taken, both can negatively affect the organism of the mother and the baby.

  • lead to the growth of tumors,
  • provoke premature aging,
  • change blood composition
  • disrupt the reproductive system,
  • cause unpredictable mutations.

For a pregnant woman, especially, it is harmful to undergo X-ray examination during the first three months. At this time, the main organs and systems of the child are laid, the digestive organs, the nervous system, the kidneys, the liver, the heart and the brain are formed. Fetal cells continuously divide, and the child is constantly growing, exposure to X-rays can stop and disrupt this physiological process, and then the mutations caused by them can lead to serious pathologies. Early studies lead to brain hydrocephalus, a delay in mental and physical development, and a smaller size of the eyeball of an infant.

For the child, the most dangerous examination of the abdomen, pelvis and spinal column of the expectant mother, since the waves pass right through it. When a limb is examined, its head, the chest organs, the body of the expectant mother suffers more, which also affects the condition of the embryo. The least harm is caused by an x-ray of the teeth and nose, since for this procedure a slightly different apparatus is used and during the procedure a smaller area of ​​body tissues is covered.

The doctor should be warned that the woman bears a baby, especially when prescribing an x-ray scan. Sometimes conception is detected after the procedure. In such cases, even though the fetus is alive, abortion is recommended.

X-ray in 1 trimester

The most dangerous period for an x-ray study is the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It was during the laying down and formation of the most important organs - the heart, spine, lungs, organs of sight - that the risk of developing birth defects and pathologies is great. In the case of multiple studies, miscarriage or fetal death may occur. If a woman was given x-rays at very early stages (up to 4-5 weeks), the doctor may recommend abortion, since the probability of having a child with genetic pathologies caused by a violation of the structure of cellular DNA is very high.

importantIf the examination is necessary for the expectant mother for health reasons, you should always use protective equipment (lead apron on the stomach) and warn your doctor about your situation.

X-ray during pregnancy in the early stages: consequences

X-rays penetrate the thin tissues of the body, where they actively divide, bumping into the barrier of thicker tissues - this is how the outline of the bones and organs comes out. X-rays break chains of DNA, passing through thin tissues, and form a set of free radicals. X-rays are chemically active. Therefore, cells of the body can become incapacitated or mutate. The more mutant cells, the higher the likelihood of development of pathologies in the fetus due to the fact that in his body many cells undergo active division during pregnancy.

Exposure to X-ray radiation is most harmful in early pregnancy, when all the vital organs and systems of the child are formed. So, in the first weeks of the period the nervous system of the baby is laid, and X-rays during this period can affect the brain structure so that it remains underdeveloped, and this, in turn, will affect the further development of the child, moreover, its viability.

Also in the pen trimeter, the adrenal glands are being laid, the heart and the immune system are being formed, and an x-ray can affect his future health right now.

In the remaining two trimesters, the risk of anomalies becomes less, but even then an x-ray can cause abnormalities in the blood system, pathologies of the gastrointestinal system.

Recommendations for X-ray examination of pregnant women

SanPiN is one of the documents governing the conduct of diagnostic studies related to exposure. He examines the patient's safety measures when performing X-ray. Not bypassed and such a question as pregnancy and x-rays.

Concerning preventive studies, the opinion is unambiguous: fluorography and mammography (if a woman has reached the age of 35 years) are contraindicated for pregnant women. Рентген, назначенный с целью диагностики, не рекомендуется, но и не запрещается.

Для снижения вероятности пагубного влияния на плод существуют следующие рекомендации:

  • Рентген беременным назначается только по неотложным показаниям.
  • If it is possible to replace the X-ray examination with something other than radiation, this should be done.
  • X-rays of the pelvis and abdomen are extremely undesirable during pregnancy. If the study is necessary, if possible, it should be postponed for 3 trimester.
  • X-rays of the lungs, skull, legs, or hands can also be done in the early stages when taking measures to protect the fetus: shielding (covering the abdomen and pelvis with a leaden apron) and diaphragming (using an obstacle that limits the spread of the x-ray beam). However, even with these requirements, the study remains dangerous for the child. Therefore, the purpose of the snapshot should be reasonable.

To avoid embryo exposure in the early period, when a woman does not yet know about pregnancy, you must follow the rules:

  • The study is best performed in the first 2 weeks after the end of the month. At this time, the probability of pregnancy is low.
  • Mandatory protection should be used to prevent the irradiation of the genitals.

If the question of pregnancy remains open, the radiologist should proceed from the assumption that the patient is expecting a child and be guided by the above rules of examination.

Doing X-rays during the gestation period is undesirable. Especially dangerous are studies in which the abdomen and pelvis are exposed to radiation: excretory urography, radiography of the lumbar spine, hip joints, and so on. This diagnostic method can be assigned only for reasonable indications. At the same time, the research is postponed as far as possible until the late stages of pregnancy and all necessary measures are taken to protect the fetus from radiation.

How often can x-rays be taken?

The most ideal option is to avoid X-ray research. However, in cases where radiography can not be avoided, you should definitely warn the doctor about the presence of pregnancy. In the case when the level of permissible irradiation exceeds 30 mSv (in case of repeated examination of the organs of the urogenital system, intestines, etc.), more often, it is recommended to terminate the pregnancy.

You should not assume that an x-ray taken during pregnancy is a 100% guarantee of the development of anomalies in the future baby. Do not avoid research if necessary, take this procedure calmly and try to use maximum protection measures to reduce the danger of the harmful effects of X-rays for you and for the future baby.

Is it possible to do an x-ray during lactation?

Another question that interests pregnant women, is it possible to carry out x-ray examination, as well as other X-rays after delivery, when the mother is breastfeeding the baby? The answer to this question is positive, since X-ray rays do not affect the quality and composition of milk and do not interfere with normal lactation.

Summarizing a small result, I would like to note once again that any pregnant woman should, if possible, avoid research using x-rays. However, in extreme cases, when it is not possible to avoid X-rays, it is necessary to apply maximum measures to protect the baby from harmful radiation, and then undergo an ultrasound examination to make sure that the pregnancy is normal and the fetus develops in accordance with the expected period.

What to do if x-rays are necessary during pregnancy?

Usually, x-rays are prescribed for pregnant women when there is a high chance of developing serious complications or there is a danger of life. The closer the studied part of the body to the fetus, the stronger the influence of X-ray radiation on it. For example, limb X-rays are safer than pelvic x-rays.

In case of fractures, the study of a pregnant woman occurs in parallel with the screening - the chest, pelvis, and abdomen are protected from harmful rays. However, even after such protection, an ultrasound scan is necessary to confirm that nothing threatens the child.

A pregnant woman can do an x-ray of a tooth with courage - the portion of radiation that she receives during the research is too small to affect the baby.

But pregnant women cannot even be close to people undergoing X-ray diagnostics at this time. And if they, without knowing about the pregnancy, have already performed fluorography or X-rays, then it is necessary to get advice from a geneticist about the perceived threat to the pregnancy and future baby.

How does X-ray during pregnancy affect its development?

The existing equipment used in X-ray diagnostics is fairly safe. However, during an x-ray examination of the abdomen and pelvis of a pregnant woman, the fetus receives a portion of radiation, and this affects its development. The more it is, the higher the risk of abortion literally in the coming hours after the diagnosis. When the organs and systems of the fetus have not yet begun to form - in the first week of pregnancy - the embryo either dies from a radiation dose or develops further.

How often do x-rays?

Ideally, do not do it at all. However, in cases where it cannot be avoided, a doctor should be warned about pregnancy. If the level of permissible radiation is above 30 mSv (for example, during repeated studies of the urogenital system, intestines, etc.), doctors recommend abortion.

Nevertheless, it cannot be considered that radiography during pregnancy is an absolute guarantee of the development of deviations in a child. If necessary, you should not avoid such research, you should treat it calmly and try to use all possible protective measures to minimize the risk of harmful effects of X-rays on you and the unborn child.

If x-ray already done

In the first 6-8 weeks, a woman may not know about pregnancy and that some studies like x-rays, for example, are contraindicated to her. Above are precautions to minimize the risk of embryo exposure. However, they still do not guarantee absolute protection from undesirable consequences. What if x-rays are made before pregnancy is detected?

According to SanPiN, the dose received by the fetus should not exceed 1 mSv in 2 months. If the exposure amounted to a total of 100 mSv and more, the probability that a woman will give birth to a healthy child is low. In this case, the doctor may recommend abortion. If a woman wants to leave a child, she must be aware of the risk of undesirable consequences. Such patients should not neglect mandatory screening studies for pregnant women to detect developmental abnormalities. In case of detection of severe defects, the abortion issue may arise again.

What to replace the x-ray?

Ultrasound is the safest diagnostic method for pregnant women. It can be done in the earliest terms. However, although there are no data on the harm of ultrasound to the fetus, it is still not necessary to go through the study without indications.

Unfortunately, ultrasound can not always replace the x-ray. For example, an ultrasound examination is a good analogue of excretory urography for suspected urolithiasis. But in some cases the replacement can not be made. Thus, the diagnosis of fractures in injuries is performed by x-ray methods.

CT scan is not indicated for pregnant women, because the radiation dose during the procedure may exceed that obtained by X-ray. MRI is comparable in informativeness with CT method. Is it possible for pregnant women to prescribe magnetic resonance imaging? The procedure is based on the action of a magnetic field. Compared with X-rays, it is less dangerous for the fetus, but in the first trimester MRI is still not performed. During this period, the embryo is very sensitive to external influences, and data that completely exclude the teratogenic effect of the magnetic field is not enough.

X-ray in the 2nd and 3rd trimester

The density of the fetal tissue in the 2 trimester increases, and X-rays cause him less harm, but this does not mean that the procedure becomes safe. There is still a risk of impairment in development, as well as the threat of sudden fading or termination of pregnancy. This happens extremely rarely, but it is impossible to completely eliminate such a possibility, which is why doctors advise treating all chronic diseases at the planning stage.

This is especially true for dental health. The need to take an X-ray image may arise at any time. Despite the fact that the dose of radiation in this type of examination is very small, and there is no direct effect on the abdomen, minimal risks also remain.

X-ray during pregnancy: possible effects

The question of the influence of electromagnetic radiation on the fetus is still being studied. Scientists note that most pathologies were recorded in newborns whose mothers were x-rayed during the first 12 weeks of gestation. Therefore, all the risks associated with the procedure, doctors refer to exactly 1 trimester. Among the possible consequences of neonatologists and obstetricians are called:

  • heart defects,
  • blood diseases
  • impaired limb development
  • microcephaly,
  • damage to the bronchial tree,
  • maxillofacial defects (“cleft palate”, “cleft lip”),
  • stem cell mutation
  • incorrect formation of the neural tube (spinal column),
  • stable stool disorder, practically untreatable,
  • pathology of organs of vision and hearing.

Among the probable problems are also the intrauterine death of the embryo, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages. There is evidence of susceptibility to malignant tumors of children whose mothers were exposed to radiation during pregnancy.

Is there an alternative?

If the study is necessary to conduct an emergency, you can consult with your doctor about the choice of the most secure way. These include:

  • ultrasound diagnostics,
  • Magnetic resonance imaging,
  • viziograf.

informationAll these methods also have contraindications, but the harm from their use is several times less in comparison with radiography.

When is x-ray necessary during pregnancy?

Examination by X-rays in certain situations is fully justified, and the expectant mother has no right to refuse the examination.

This applies to cases where her health may be seriously compromised due to the following anomalies:

  • disorders of the digestive organs,
  • disorders of the urogenital and respiratory systems,
  • deviations in the work of the heart,
  • chest pathology,
  • dental problems
  • various injuries - bruises, fractures (spine, limbs, pelvic bone tissue),

Of course, examination of the pelvis or spine is more dangerous than identifying injuries to the limbs or examining the teeth. But sometimes it is primarily about the life of the mother, and the preservation of the child is of secondary importance, therefore, research using electromagnetic radiation is not only permissible, but also necessary. After all, an urgent diagnosis and treatment is required.

What to do if an x-ray is prescribed?

Such diagnostics are prescribed in exceptional cases, and if this happens, it makes sense to discuss his decision with the doctor again, perhaps alternative methods of research will be found, or he will transfer the procedure to subsequent trimesters.

It happens that it is impossible to avoid scanning, then you should find out what kind of equipment will be used - if it is of an outdated sample, you can try to get tested in a paid clinic with modern equipment, the harmful effects of which are minimized. In addition, the woman should make sure that protective pads will be used to protect the stomach and other important parts of the body.

Also, expectant mothers should not be in the X-ray room, if this is not directly necessary.

Tooth x-ray

Dental problems - a frequent occurrence in expectant mothers. Their organism promptly gives useful substances to the child, and sometimes, because of their deficiency, the teeth suffer. Unfortunately, the dentist can not judge the degree of violations, based only on visual inspection. Therefore, an x-ray is required for a dental examination.

Such diagnostics minimizes the harmful effects on the fetus and the health of the mother, as the modern medical device is used for X-ray imaging - an electronic radiovisiograph. His beam, as a rule, is directed at the aching tooth and passes only through it, without exposing the adjacent zones.

In addition, the duration of the waves is a few seconds, and the radiation is limited by a micro dose, so even if several shots are needed, the exposure is only 0.0001 glad, while fetal malformations can occur when a dose of 1 rad is affected. However, some doctors, if possible, do everything in order to postpone such diagnostics in the early stages of gestation for a later period.

Is there a safe alternative to x-ray during pregnancy?

The attending doctor can choose a safe method of examination and, as a rule, he himself prescribes an alternative diagnosis, if it is possible to do without X-rays.

These methods include:

  • Ultrasound - the most benign option for a pregnant woman. This method is also suitable for early terms of gestation, since it does not have harmful radiation, and does not cause mutation of genes. The study with the help of ultrasound is carried out without harm to the health of the mother and baby.

It allows you to identify the pathology of soft tissues, muscles, organs such as the liver, kidneys, but is not capable of deeper penetration, since the waves do not pass through the bones. Another disadvantage is that the image on the screen remains flat, despite the fact that 3D ultrasound is used, so there remains the risk of missing important anomalous changes, for example, the presence of a tumor.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in its informativeness can be comparable to X-rays and computed tomography, but it is considered a more harmless diagnostic option. The principle of operation of the equipment is not associated with radiation, but uses magnetic fields. For the future child, it is much safer than radiography, but it is also better to carry out such a procedure in later periods.

Thus, in the first trimester, in general, any research with the help of hardware is not desirable.

Sometimes only x-ray is able to recognize the pathology occurring in the body of a pregnant woman. Therefore, the main task of the future mother is to treat the existing diseases at the planning stages of the child and to protect their health so that such diagnostics are not needed.