Answer to Question #1327 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
My doctor has suggested I have a chest x ray to identify why I have pain in my upper back, beneath my ribs at the front and in the middle of my chest. I am awaiting my appointment but have just discovered I am five weeks pregnant. I am eager to have the x ray done but am worried about the safety of the baby. Could you please explain the risks?
When you receive a chest x ray at a qualified facility, the exposure of the x rays is to your chest, not to your embryo. The "scatter" that might reach the embryo would be extremely small and would not represent an increased risk for birth defects or miscarriage to your embryo. If you are healthy and young and have no reproductive problems or family history of reproductive problems your risk for birth defects is 3 percent and for miscarriage, 15 percent. Neither you nor I can change that risk. Good luck with your pregnancy.
Robert Brent MD, PhD