Radiation Exposure During Pregnancy
The ionizing radiation that enters the body through x-rays is the kind that is dangerous to the fetus. Permanent growth retardation, mental retardation, and are all possible if the fetus is exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation. Fortunately, x-rays are not something we are involuntarily subjected to. You know when you're getting x-rays, so you can act to avoid it or reduce the danger:
- Postpone any elective medical procedure that requires x-rays until after the birth of your baby.
- Tell all your doctors and your dentist that you are pregnant and do not want x-rays.
- If x-rays are absolutely vital, insist on talking to the radiologist before the x-ray is taken. Explain that you are pregnant and need the most modern equipment, the lowest dose of radiation possible, the fewest number of x-rays possible, and a lead apron to protect all other areas of your body. These requests can drastically change the degree of radiation your body will be exposed to.
- If you are a medical or dental x-ray technician, radiologist, or nurse, you might need to take an early leave of absence from your job.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth © 2004 by Michele Isaac Gliksman, M.D. and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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