Answer to Question #11157 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Pregnancy and Radiation

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


Can using a fluorescent microscope harm my fetus, especially in the first trimester?


Thank you for your question. The light sources used for fluorescent microscopy will not penetrate the abdomen to cause harm to the fetus.

Although the light sources need to be intense to cause the fluorescent images, the light is still of the wavelength where the depth of penetration in tissue is minimal. And during the first trimester, the fetus is at least 8–10 cm inside the external abdominal wall.

Also, there is no ionizing radiation, like x rays, produced or used during fluorescent microscopy.

Kelly Classic
Certified Medical Health Physicist

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 27 January 2015. 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.