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

Category: Pregnancy and Radiation — Radiation effects to embryo/fetus

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

Q

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!

A

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 percent for birth defects and 15 percent 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

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