Radiation During Pregnancy – Birth Defect Prevention

You can be exposed to radiation through diagnostic tests ordered by your doctor and/or dentist. It is important to let your medical professional know that you are pregnant so appropriate protective measures can be taken if a medical X-ray is required. Other radiation exposures can occur in the workplace or some environmental situations. Certain amounts of radiation can harm both the mother and her unborn baby at the cellular level and cause mutations in the DNA which can lead to birth defects. “These birth defects include a reduction in height, severe mental retardation, small head size and impaired brain development, the latter of which may indirectly reduce an individual’s intelligence quotient (IQ) and school performance” (Washington State Dept of Health).

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