Pregnancy and X-rays

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I just found out I am pregnant today and became worried after I realized I have had two x-rays in the past two weeks. I have had dental x-rays and a foot x-ray.

Is this harmful to my baby? Thank you.

ANSWER

Usually, women are shielded with a lead apron for dental x-rays, and that protects any unborn fetus. Even if you were not shielded for the foot x-ray, it is unlikely to have harmed your baby, as these are very targeted and unlikely to affect the pelvis.

But this is a reminder that if you have had unprotected intercourse, you should always assume that you could be pregnant, and avoid anything that might hurt your baby.

--Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.