X-rays during pregnancy: Can they harm my baby?

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X-rays during pregnancy: Can they harm my baby?

Question

I discovered I was two months pregnant after having extensive X-rays following a hip fracture. What is the potential risk to my baby?

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Answer

Although X-rays during pregnancy have the potential to cause significant problems, the risk is very well understood and diagnostic X-rays generally do not significantly increase the risk to your baby. Indeed, certain medical problems that occur during pregnancy may require X-rays. In your case, the X-rays were necessary to provide you with the best care for your hip fracture, and it's in your baby's best interest for you to be healthy.

X-ray images require very small amounts of radiation. So the risk to your unborn baby is very low — even if you received multiple X-rays. If you're really worried about it, talk to your doctor. It is possible to calculate the estimated amount of radiation your baby was exposed to. It may ease your mind to know "for sure" that the amount of radiation your baby received was well within a safe range.

Types of headaches

Illustration of where tension, migraine and cluster headaches occur

Different types of headaches cause different types of pain. The pain of tension headaches is usually a dull, squeezing pain that may involve the forehead, scalp, back of the neck and both sides of the head. The majority of migraines occur on one side of the head, but some people with migraines feel pain on both sides of the head. Cluster headaches usually occur on one side of the head, and some describe the pain as a stabbing sensation in the eye.

Last Updated: 05/11/2007
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