Answer to Question #14012 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"
The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:
Unaware of her pregnancy, my wife underwent lung computed tomography (CT) scans twice within a week for testing COVID-19. She was almost three weeks pregnant at the time. The hospital didn't use lead shields while performing scans. I'm not sure of the dose used. Will there be harm to baby due to these scans?
First, I would like to let you know that the dose to the baby from one chest CT would generally be no more than about 0.2 milligray (mGy) of absorbed radiation dose. If your wife underwent two of these scans, the dose to the baby would still only be about 0.4 mGy. The risks to an embryo or fetus of any age are very small at doses less than 100 mGy and negligible at doses of less than 50 mGy. You may want to read more about radiation exposure and pregnancy in the Health Physics Society information sheet on pregnancy and radiation exposure.
Also, many institutions in the United States have stopped using lead to shield pregnant women, because it does not actually increase the safety. The American Association of Physicists in Medicine has recently published a position statement on use of patient gonadal and fetal shielding.
I hope this helps to answer your question, and my best wishes to you and your family.
Barbara Hamrick, CHP