can you get a cat scan while pregnant

CT Scan. Receiving a CT scan during pregnancy has not been shown to increase radiation exposure to the fetus. Even though CT scans use more radiation than x-rays, the increase is not enough to create additional risk for an unborn child. The one exception may be imaging of the pelvis or abdominal areas.

Why do you need a CT exam?

If your symptoms need to be treated or if the results of your exam need to be explained, your doctor might prescribe a computed tomography (CT) scan if you can’t wait until after the baby is delivered.

There are numerous reasons why you might require a CT scan, but your physician can go over what kind of data the scan is looking for. You should enquire about the reasons for this medical imaging exam and your doctor’s concerns.

Imaging tests are performed to look inside the body and help identify any health issues. CT is a widely used imaging exam. As CT uses x-ray radiation, it should only be utilized when absolutely necessary.

Other imaging tests, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which do not require x-rays, may be used in a pregnant patient if they provide the information your doctor needs and the baby is also being examined.

If information needs to be obtained quickly or answers obtained by ultrasound or MRI are not available, CT might be the best imaging choice. You and your physician will need to decide this together.

CT risks during pregnancy

There is no radiation risk to the unborn child if the abdomen or pelvis is not being studied, as in the case of a head or chest CT scan.

There is no evidence that the radiation dose used in routine CT imaging could harm a developing fetus. Nonetheless, there might be a very small risk to the unborn child if the CT scan looks at the abdomen or pelvis region. Pregnant women who are exposed to CT scans may increase their child’s risk of developing cancer by one in a thousand. However, the degree of risk is unknown and might not even exist. If the CT technologist and radiologist know you are pregnant, they will modify the exam procedures to reduce the radiation exposure to your unborn child. Radiologists are medical imaging specialists.

If you’re afraid of radiation, you shouldn’t turn down a CT scan that’s required to diagnose your potentially dangerous or urgent illness. Because the baby depends on the mother to stay well and carry her pregnancy to term, keeping the mother healthy is the most important factor in having a healthy baby.

The objective is to care for the mother, as she is more likely to become seriously ill with an illness like appendicitis.

Contrast agent may need to be injected intravenously into an arm vein for certain CT exams.

Contrast material does cross the placenta to your baby. It has been used in pregnancy for decades without harm. Use of contrast material has not been shown to harm.

Being ill is unpleasant, and major illnesses can be particularly dangerous when they occur during pregnancy. But for the baby to survive and grow to term, the mother must maintain her health. If doing a CT scan is necessary to help the mother get better, the baby’s health will also benefit.

What are the Risks of Having a CAT Scan While Pregnant?

Radiation exposure from CAT scans is somewhat higher than that of standard x-rays. This procedure’s effective radiation dose is approximately 10 mSv, or roughly the same as what the typical person receives from background radiation (i e. from the sun) in 3 years. But the advantage of having a precise diagnosis might outweigh the danger of radiation exposure.

No single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose that is large enough to have an adverse effect on a developing embryo or fetus, according to the American College of Radiology. CAT scans are generally not advised during pregnancy unless the advantages of the scan clearly exceed any potential risks.

The most frequent complaints are about negative reactions to the dye that is used in CAT scans. Reaction may include itching, hives, nausea or rapid breathing. Severe reactions, such as difficulty breathing, are rare. Before undergoing any tests or medical procedures, it is crucial to let your healthcare provider know that you are pregnant, just like with any other procedure.

FAQ

What happens if you get a CAT scan while pregnant?

CT risks during pregnancy An unborn baby exposed to CT during pregnancy may have about a one in 1,000 greater chance of developing a cancer as a child. The level of risk is not proven though, and may be nonexistent.

Can you get a CT or MRI while pregnant?

Computed tomography (CT) exams may be performed safely during pregnancy. However, because CT uses x-ray radiation, ultrasound or MRI is preferred.

Why do they ask if you’re pregnant before a CT scan?

Radiation exposure during pregnancy may have serious teratogenic effects to the fetus. Therefore, checking the pregnancy status before imaging women of child bearing age can protect against these effects.

What scans are safe during pregnancy?

Ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are not associated with risk and are the imaging techniques of choice for the pregnant patient, but they should be used prudently and only when use is expected to answer a relevant clinical question or otherwise provide medical benefit to the patient.