Pregnancy and Radiation

This category covers  radiation exposure while pregnant or trying to conceive, effects of radiation on the embryo/fetus, radiation effects on children, flying while pregnant, etc.

Pregnant? Worried about x rays? Watch this video.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and have additional questions about radiation exposure, you can contact MotherToBaby, whose experts are available to answer your questions in English or Spanish. This service is free and confidential. To reach MotherToBaby, call 1-866-626-6847, email, or chat live on the MotherToBaby website.

FAQs Developed by the HPS

The following FAQs have been developed by our topic editors for this category:

  HPS FAQ   Pregnancy and Flying
  HPS FAQ   Pregnancy and Radiation Exposure
  HPS FAQ   Pregnancy and Security Screening
  HPS FAQ   Solar Flares and Air Travel

Relevant HPS Web Pages

The following HPS Web pages also address this category:

  HTML page   Book Review: Health Phys. 79:207; 2000
  HTML page   Doses from Medical Radiation Sources
  HTML page   Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy From Wireless Local Area Networks
  HTML page   Pregnancy and Radiation Exposure
  PDF   Radiation Exposure and Pregnancy Fact Sheet

Questions Answered by HPS Experts

The following health physics questions have been answered by an expert and approved by our editors for inclusion in our "Ask the Experts" feature. Click on the question to see the answer.

Questions in this Category Are in the Following Subcategories:
  •  Conception after exposures
  •  Exposures not directly to embryo/fetus
  •  Exposures to embryo/fetus
  •  Flying
  •  Power lines, magnets, computers, airport screening, cell phones, radar
  •  Proximity to radioactive persons
  •  Radiation workers/medical technicians
  •  Radiation effects to embryo/fetus
  •  Miscellaneous
Conception after exposures
Q4761   –   Held child during x rays
Q7790   –   Husband had CT
Q10503   –   Will preconception x-ray procedures make me infertile or cause birth defects?
Q10899   –   Lead apron at veterinary clinic
Q11766   –   C-arm exposure and sterility
Q11869   –   Can I get pregnant after many abdominal x rays?
Q11871   –   Would iodine-131 kill sperm?
Exposures not directly to embryo/fetus
Q1327   –   Chest x ray and pregnancy
Q1329   –   Dental x rays and pregnancy
Q5016   –   Trisomy 18
Q6119   –   Exposure from son's CT scan
Q7201   –   Held son during his x rays
Q8394   –   Mammogram and pregnancy
Q10300   –   Is a chest x ray during pregnancy dangerous?
Q11461   –   Brain CT scan while pregnant
Q12647   –   Can dental x rays harm my unborn child?
Q13192   –   Pregnancy and full body scan with radioiodine
Exposures to embryo/fetus
Q7250   –   Iodine-123 scan and pregnant
Q10764   –   Nd:YAG laser
Q11738   –   CT scan to lower abdomen
Q11872   –   Pregnant and may have exposed the baby
Q12526   –   Going through vehicle scanner when pregnant
Q12941   –   CT exam at 12 weeks pregnant
Q14012   –   American Association of Physicists in Medicine position on fetal shielding
Q5964   –   Pregnancy and flying
Q8772   –   Conceive after 40 hours of flying
Q9417   –   Full-body scanners
Q9686   –   Flying from the United Kingdom to Poland
Q11481   –   Flying globally and cross-country
Q11747   –   Ultraviolet exposure while flying
Q11887   –   Flying while pregnant: Effects on brain
Q12743   –   Many flights while pregnant
Power lines, magnets, computers, airport screening, cell phones, radar
Q1408   –   Using a computer while pregnant
Q4395   –   Laptop
Q4512   –   Rise in autism
Q6568   –   Pregnant and concerned about radiation exposure from computer
Q6609   –   Nonionizing radiation
Q11343   –   Human screening tools at airports
Q11408   –   Exposure to a radar gun
Q11725   –   Will working with an MRI affect pregnancy?
Q12180   –   Wearing Apple Watch during pregnancy
Q13321   –   Exposure to RF while pregnant
Proximity to radioactive persons
Q5607   –   Mother to receive radiation treatment
Q6116   –   Caretaker of radioactive patient
Q7194   –   Near patient who had bone scan
Q11187   –   Radiation exposure in waiting room and from family member
Q11274   –   Family member getting PET scan
Q11454   –   Pregnant and around person who had stress test
Q11523   –   Dose to physician's fetus from bone scan patient
Radiation workers/medical technicians
Q641   –   Should a pregnant radiographer stand out during fluoroscopy?
Q1149   –   Pregnant operating room nurse
Q1167   –   Vulnerability of embryo
Q2674   –   Cardiac lab
Q2736   –   Pregnant cardiologist
Q4115   –   Pregnant operating room staff
Q6118   –   Surgeon doing fluoroscopy and using technetium
Q7189   –   Thyroid scan
Q8789   –   Dentist holds film in patient's mouth
Q10924   –   Working floor above CT scanner
Q11436   –   Nurse holding babies while they get x rays
Q11446   –   Veterinary technician handling radioactive cats
Q11937   –   Work in hospital
Q12317   –   Radiation dose limits while pregnant
Q12560   –   Pregnant staff member at veterinary facility
Q12688   –   Using handheld dental x-ray unit
Q13237   –   Potential impact to offspring from historic exposure to Ra-226
Radiation effects to embryo/fetus
Q9691   –   Risks to my baby
Q11549   –   Risk to fetus from mother’s CT scan
Q11848   –   Radium spa and pregnant
Q13235   –   Risk to my baby from PET CT scan
Q7356   –   Pregnant and work with lasers in a medical skin clinic
Q7537   –   Dermatologist using laser
Q11157   –   Use of fluorescent microscopy
Q11765   –   Can UVC rays harm my baby?
Q12109   –   Iodine-131 body scan before getting pregnant
Q12110   –   Interrupt breast-feeding because of indium-111
Q12247   –   Does receiving radiation after pregnancy affect breast-feeding?
Q12524   –   Entering a room when pregnant after x ray taken
Q12605   –   Pelvis CT scan and trying to conceive
Q13003   –   Laser usage during pregnancy
Q13196   –   Effects of skin-tightening treatments on stomach

Other Useful Websites

The following websites may also be useful:

  External website   Assessing Exposure to Cosmic Radiation During Long-Haul Flights – Radiation Research Vol. 153, No. 5, May 2000
  External website   Pregnant and working in medicine and worried about radiation exposure? – Mothers in Medicine Blog
  External website   Radiation Basics – Health Physics Society "Radiation Answers"
  External website   Radiation Related FAQs – Idaho State University