CAT Scan during pregnancy?

[deleted account] ( 19 moms have responded )

Long story short, I had to get a cat scan yesterday to rule out pulmonary embolism. It had to be done (thank God I'm fine) but there was a risk to the baby b/c of the radiation. Has anyone else had this during pregnancy and has perfectly normal children as a result? It would really ease my mind to hear right now.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

I just had a chest stomach & pevis ct scan done I did not know I was pregnant!! I am freaking out right now!!! I can not get to my gyn till next week. So i don't even now how far along i am?? I can't be far cause I had my period Dec. the third week. God i'm so scared now!!! don't know what to do

Oshun - posted on 04/27/2011

12

0

0

Hi Stephanie,

I want to ask you a question since you know a lot about ct scans. I am only 12 weeks. I had to have a ct scan done on my head yesterday in the ER. They knew i was pregnant so they covered my belly and back with a safety vest. My body never went into the machine only my head. I want to know how safe is this for the baby and what are the risks. I asked the tech he told me it was safe.
Thank you so much in advance.

Ashley - posted on 02/08/2010

2

1

0

i had a CT scan done at 16 weeks pregnant, the doctors thought i was having a PE, so the scan was neccesary, i was very nervous and scared because i knew the risks of having these type of test, i did it knowing that it was important to rule out a PE. i am now 38 weeks pregnant, babyboy is doing fine weighing alittle over 7 pounds. i still get nervous at times because i know that he might or could have something wrong due to the CT scan of the lungs and contrast dye, mind you i was sheilded. your right the pink forms and waivers scare you! but reading all of your similar experiences have helped me. were moms, i guess were supposed to always worry! but thank you.

Stephanie - posted on 01/14/2009

3

9

0

I'm a radiologic technologist and I sometimes have to perform CAT scans on pregnant women.  The important thing is to rule out a PE...because this can be fatal..and quickly.  At the same time CAT scans use 360 degrees of radiation...since you only had a chest scan you should of had a shield placed beneath your back low around your abdominal area..and a sheild placed over your abdomen.  This prevents almost all radiation.  Your radiologic technologist should have asked you before hand if you were pregnant.  If you were not shielded you should contact the facility with question about the amount of dosage you received. A dosimitrist should be able to calculate it for you. Radiation can be very damaging within the first trimester because of cell division.  It can alter cells, destroy cells, etc.  If you were not shielded and in the first trimester you should ask the facility to calculate your amount of radiation received and talk with your doctor about the risks it could have give your baby.  Just remember that doctors decided to give you this exam because "the benefits outwayed the risk".  It might not seem logical if something ended up wrong with your baby....but if you had a PE and passed there would be no babies for you.  Just look into it if you were not shielded and feel uncomfortable.  They have to provide you with the information.  IF they did not ask you if you were pregnant before the exam they will have legal issues with you as well because it is required.

Jody - posted on 01/29/2010

99

35

5

Just to help some of the women here, my daughter delivered a healthy baby. She had some complications with her pregnancy(preterm labor, high BP during labor, Dr. didn't break the water soon enough so baby had meconium in the lungs (he was in surgery and no other physician was available) so my granddaughter was born having problems breathing-she had to have a respiratory therapist suction her lungs. However, none of that I believe came from the CT scan. My granddaughter is now 8 months old, smart as a whip, has a beautiful smile and wonderful personality. I don't believe the CT scan harmed her in any way, although my daughter's health still seems to not be on an even keel yet even after 8 months. There was a lot of things the doctor could have and SHOULD have done differently that would have improved her pregnancy and especially her delivery. Even after everything she is still looking forward to baby #2 when the time is right. In the meantime, I now have a crawling, babbling 8 month old granddaughter to enjoy that already has her 4 front teeth!

This conversation has been closed to further comments

19 Comments

View replies by

Melanie - posted on 01/29/2010

441

23

58

I had a mild stroke at 29 weeks pregnant. They 1st thought it was a blood clot in my brain so i had to have CT Scan done then. It's mainly more dangerous in the first trimester and then the further along you are the lesser the risk. I think if it's vital to have it (in my case yes) then have it. My son was born with several problems but nothing to do with the CT Scan more to do with the stroke and the fact that i had to have high dose of steroids because i couldn't eat or drink. xx

Kristin - posted on 01/29/2010

3

13

0

Hi - I had a CT & an MRI when I was pregnant. Bella was born 4 1/2 weeks early but was totally healthy & I think completely unrelated to both of those procedures. She was tiny & early but came home with us - no issues! No worries - hang in there :)

Keaira - posted on 01/16/2009

1

14

0

I had this done this past Tuesday for the same exact reason. My technicians were very very calming, and really took their time going over things. They actually paded the table underneath me with double drapes and double draped my belly as well, which was reassuring. I have to believe that the baby will be ok. I am 6 months so the baby is developed, now if I was in the first trimester I am sure I would feel differently. I also asked about the risks to the baby with regard to the dye they use and there were none that they knew of. They did consult a second time with the Radiologist on call and the ER doc who ordered the test and they decided to give me two extra bads of fluid in the hospital to help speed the process of flushing the dye from my kidneys and then my husband made sure that I drank lots and lots of water and gatorade for the following 48 hours just to make sure it was all out of my system. Don't worry, everything will be just fine.

Stephanie - posted on 01/15/2009

3

9

0

hmm well that is incorrect...yes a lead shield can cause scatter...but not enough to disrupt the images if they have a half way decent cat scan...they could place it low enough to not hurt the images...if you had a PE scan they most likely gave you contrast...that would explain the warm feeling through your body...iodine can make your body feel warm, the feeling that you're going to urinate on yourself, and a metallic taste in your mouth for normal reactions...while it has been determined that the iodine contrast can transfer into the fetal amnionic fluid...there is no tests that have proven whether or not the contrast will or will not harm the fetus...a regular cat scan gives you a dose of about 10msv...thats about what you normally get from the sun over three years..but the dose received by your fetus was probably

[deleted account]

They knew I am pregnant. I signed a waiver. I asked about a lead blanket and they said no because it comes from all angles that would keep it in the area. They said it needs to be free to ping off the walls and stuff. I was not sheilded. They said that it was the lowest possible dose and it was directed at my chest. However I did feel something warm shoot through my whole body. It was bizarre.

Stephanie - posted on 01/14/2009

3

9

0

I'm a radiologic technologist and I sometimes have to perform CAT scans on pregnant women.  The important thing is to rule out a PE...because this can be fatal..and quickly.  At the same time CAT scans use 360 degrees of radiation...since you only had a chest scan you should of had a shield placed beneath your back low around your abdominal area..and a sheild placed over your abdomen.  This prevents almost all radiation.  Your radiologic technologist should have asked you before hand if you were pregnant.  If you were not shielded you should contact the facility with question about the amount of dosage you received. A dosimitrist should be able to calculate it for you. Radiation can be very damaging within the first trimester because of cell division.  It can alter cells, destroy cells, etc.  If you were not shielded and in the first trimester you should ask the facility to calculate your amount of radiation received and talk with your doctor about the risks it could have give your baby.  Just remember that doctors decided to give you this exam because "the benefits outwayed the risk".  It might not seem logical if something ended up wrong with your baby....but if you had a PE and passed there would be no babies for you.  Just look into it if you were not shielded and feel uncomfortable.  They have to provide you with the information.  IF they did not ask you if you were pregnant before the exam they will have legal issues with you as well because it is required.

Jen - posted on 01/14/2009

3

4

1

I work for a high risk obstetrix office and we send our patients to have scans sometimes for all differant reasons. Just like with dental xrays you use precautions and your doctor would not subject you or the baby to harm. As always becareful what you google it alwasy show the worst case.

[deleted account]

Thanks everyone. I am 20 weeks so that is good news to hear that it should be ok in 2nd trimester.

Wow, Imogen! You must be so strong. Best of luck to you with your delivery. I am so glad to hear your babies turned out just great!

Imogen - posted on 01/14/2009

1

13

0

Hi :)



I have had 3 surgerys during this pregnancy (now 30wks) and had a CAT scan during my last 2 as i have had 2 PE's and a DVT in my leg during my last pregnancys.



Both my girls are great, im now on warfrin (clexain at the min as im pregnant) and both my daughters are perfectly fine (born at 35 & 36wks) both early as i have chest problems so they were induced :)



This baby is due to be induced in 6wks, again she (even though im only daily meds) is healthy, happy and growing as she should. I even had the nuclear dye injected with my last pregnancy as i needed a full radiation scan to see if my body was hiding any clots and all turned out ok :)



It is a worry, but you have to put yourself first sometimes .... as during pregnancy no mummy = no baby so whats best for you is best for baby!



xx



 

[deleted account]

How far along are you?? this will determine the effect on your bub. the further along the safer it is. however had you had a PE chances are you wolud have had complications with the pregnancy anyway, and in comparisson your Dr has decided the risks of the PE to yourself and your baby were worse than the effect of the CAT. Radiation mainly effects the Fetus during the cell devision stage of early conception. My youngest was prem and had xrays done when he was 36wks gest and 4x during his 1st year and he is fine

Jessica - posted on 01/14/2009

137

18

17

I just had surgery and I'm five months pregnant.  Did an ultrasound today to check on baby, and she's doing great, and is about a pound, and I'm at 21 1/2 weeks.  When I was pregnant with my other daughter, who's three now, I had severe issues with my gallbladder (in fact, I had her five weeks early because of it) and they did two or three CT's late in my pregnancy...and my daughter is fine, and waaaaay too stinkin' smart!  So don't worry too much, you'll be fine, and so will baby.  I wish you luck with the rest of your pregnancy!  (as a side-note, I know it is a bit more risky the earlier you are in your pregnancy, but once again, it's a long-shot, and I wouldn't be too worried if you're in your first trimester...you can always call your OB to put your mind at ease, too!) 

Kristin - posted on 01/14/2009

3

13

0

I had a CT done when I was 7 months pregnant. My daughter came a month early but that had nothing to do with the CT & she's perfectly healthy. Don't worry!!

[deleted account]

Thank you for your post. I'm sure it will be fine but when they give you that waiver form with all the horrible things that can happen it makes your mind race. Thanks for the pep talk!

Jody - posted on 01/14/2009

99

35

5

My daughter, who is now 5 months pregnant, had to have a CT Scan for the same exact reason. She passed out in a convenience store and was barely breathing and unconscious. Then she faded in and out as we waited 20 minutes(and a call to 911 3 times) for the ambulance to arrive.



Her CO2 levels were high and they thought, at first, that she had a condition that can develop with pregnancy where you cannot handle the extra CO2 that the baby produces.



As it turned out, she was dehydrated and also had been on meds for a bacterial infection that contributed to it. She was also given Pepcid and her condition improved tremendously.



She just had a 3-D scan and the baby looks fantastic. In fact, she weighs 1 pound 3 ounces, which is a little big for only 22 weeks. I am a firm believer that a lot of things nowadays are safer than once thought, but we won't know if it has had animpact until the baby is born. A pulmonary embolism is much more dangerous than a CT scan could ever be.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms