An X-ray is a method of photographing the structures of the body through the use of electromagnetic radiation.
Its safety during pregnancy depends on the type of X-ray that is necessary as different X-rays generate different levels of radiation. However, most medical and dental X-rays are acknowledged as safe as they do not expose the woman or the baby to dangerously high levels of radiation.
The levels of radiation of measured in rads, the unit that determines how much radiation has been absorbed by the human body. It is believed that a baby exposed to 10 rads of radiation may have an increased risk of learning disabilities and eye problems. However, most X-rays contain a much lower rad count, and it is unusual for an X-ray to contain more than five rads.
While X-rays during pregnancy are considered to be safe, a pregnant woman may be advised to postpone receiving a non-urgent or unnecessary X-ray until after the birth of her baby. This is advised purely as a precautionary measure.
However, if an X-ray is necessary, a pregnant women should not be overly concerned. The radiographer conducting the X-ray will ensure that the radiation transmitted is well within safe levels, and will also provide a shield to further minimise exposure to the radiation.
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