Answer to Question #10924 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Pregnancy and Radiation — Radiation workers/medical technicians

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


I am pregnant and an anesthesiologist in a Third World country. The operating room complex I work in every day is situated directly on top of the complex for x rays and computerized tomography (CT) scans. I just found out that there is no lead lining between our two floors, only cement. Should I be concerned since x rays and CT scans are being performed every day? Are the repetitive doses of radiation safe for my baby? I'm wondering if I need to take a leave of absence.

Please help me!


Congratulations on your pregnancy. The x-ray and CT-scan facility is for diagnostic radiation procedures so the amount of scatter radiation in the CT exam room will be very low, and the operating room separated by a cement floor would eliminate any exposure to you.

Your risk for birth defects or miscarriage is not increased over the background risks that all healthy pregnant women face. The background risks for pregnant women with no personal or family history of reproductive or developmental problems is 3% for birth defects and 15% for miscarriage. All pregnant women face these risks, which we cannot yet prevent. Good luck with your pregnancy and keep in touch.

Robert Brent, MD, PhD

Answer posted on 3 March 2014. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.