What You Need To Know Before You Get An X-ray
If You’re Pregnant.
Radiation poisoning can cause birth defects, brain damage, and even death. Radiation is even more dangerous to unborn babies, but how dangerous is the question. The idea of getting exposed to any type of radiation while pregnant, no matter how little, is often not only a concern but a huge source of fear and anxiety.
As a structurally based chiropractic office, it is essential to have a full series of structural radiographs. X-rays at Corrective Chiropractic are used to determine any abnormal spinal shift, which in turn is necessary to form an accurate and effective treatment plan. As a result, it’s not uncommon for us to have to answer questions about radiation exposure. We have even had male patients so afraid of the radiation from the necessary structural radiographs that they refuse to even consider structurally focused care.
The ugly truth is that even physicians have been known to avoid using x-ray diagnostics because of the negative stigma associated with birth defects and radiation. Fear of litigation, warranted or not, from angry parents can be pretty intimidating. Because of the negative association with x-rays, it’s not uncommon to make the jump to automatically blaming radiation as the cause of any abnormal congenital issues that happen to arise with their newborn child.
Are these fears warranted, though?
According to the CDC, there are different times during pregnancy that an unborn baby is more sensitive than others.
Weeks 2-18: Large radiation doses (above the dose received from 500 chest x-rays at one time) to the fetus during the more sensitive stages of development (between weeks 2 and 18 of pregnancy) can cause birth defects…
Weeks 18-25: radiation-induced health effects are unlikely unless the fetus receives an extremely large dose of radiation (5000 chest x-rays at one time).
Week 26-birth: no more sensitive to the effects of radiation than are newborns.
To put that in perspective, you would have to take roughly 35 lumbar spine x-rays at one time to equal 500 chest x-rays or 350 lumbar spine x-rays to equate 5000 chest x-rays! Now the message here is not that x-ray bears no risk. But don’t forget that these exposures are for radiation pointed right at the baby as opposed to a cervical (neck) x-ray on a pregnant mother with the proper lead apron protection reducing any scatter radiation to the unborn child to a VERY low rate.