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Getting a Scan While Pregnant

Updated: February 16th, 2021

During pregnancy, doctors recommend undergoing some form of medical imaging to check for any abnormalities, determine future courses of medical care, or most commonly, to check for gender. Here’s what you need to know about imaging during pregnancy and any precautions to take. 

Four of the most common imaging tests include:

  • Ultrasounds: use sound waves to see your organs and blood flow.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and computer software to produce highly detailed images of organs and structures in your body.
  • X-rays: use a small dose of radiation, usually in the form of light or radio waves, to create black and white images of the inside of the body.
  • Computed tomography (CT, or CAT scan): puts together X-rays taken from multiple angles to create more detailed 3D images.

Ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the imaging techniques of choice for pregnant patients but are still used sparingly and only when use is expected to answer a relevant clinical question or otherwise provide medical benefit to the patient such as with diagnostic imaging. If pregnant patients require imaging unrelated to the pregnancy, such as with broken bones or diagnosing an unrelated condition, scans performed on parts of the body not in close proximity to the womb pose a low risk of radiation exposure to the baby. This is especially important for women who are also concerned about breast cancer screening.

Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) procedures use a “non-ionizing” form of radiation that is very different from x-rays. For this reason, ultrasound is commonly used during pregnancy, with no known cases of harm to an unborn baby from such a procedure. Though not used as often as ultrasound, the same is true of MRI.

There is likely nothing more important to a pregnant woman than the health and well-being of her baby, and while irresponsible or unnecessary radiation exposure can result in serious birth defects, doctors and radiologists will work with a pregnant patient to ensure the health and safety of both lives.

To book an imaging scan, visit us at Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.


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