MRI Scans: Are they dangerous if you are pregnant?

Posted by Rachel Masey

Thu, Sep 26, 2013 @ 02:20 PM

MRI and pregnant

If your doctor is urging you to get a MRI scan, even while you are pregnant, it means they are seriously concerned for your health or maybe even the health of your baby. Understand that a doctor is well aware of the risks, but if they are adamant about getting a scan done, trust their sense of urgency. What is nice to know, is that patients are not exposed to any radiation when receiving a MRI scan. Instead, a MRI scannercaptures 3-dimensional body images using computer technology, radio waves and super strong magnets. Usually, an ultrasound is the first choice to examine the baby in the womb. However, if the doctor feels that results are not clear or if there is another part of your body that is in question, a MRI scan will be suggested. To ease your mind a bit, remember to inquire about the following:

1. Ask to clarify specifically what your doctor’s concerns are

2. Ask what they saw or felt that caused them to be apprehensive

3. Ask what your doctor hopes/anticipates to find through the scanned images

Thousands of pregnant woman have received MRI exams in the past 30 years. Within all of this time, no one has found that any harm has come to the baby through being scanned. However, if it can be avoided, that is always recommended. Also take note, that if you are pregnant it is recommended that you do not receive MRI imaging until at least your second trimester.

Most MRI examinations take about 20-40 minutes, depending on which part of the body is being scanned. You are required to lie down and stay still, to the best of your ability. Results can be gathered as early as within one hour. However, since MRI images need to be examined and interpreted by a trained radiologist, results actually presented to you can take between 1-5 days, give or take. Receiving results depends upon certain factors: what time of day you were examined, what type of facility the images were taken at (large hospital system versus a small community hospital) and who will be reviewing your results.

Sometimes when receiving a MRI scan contrast material may be used. This substance, also known as gadolinium, is injected into a vein in your arm. It enhances the visibility of the inside of your body. Even though this contrast agent is FDA-approved and is not known to be harmful to the body or a fetus, it is not recommended to have this injection while you are pregnant.

The most important thing to remember is that a healthy baby is contingent upon a healthy mother. Make sure you take care of yourself, not just physically, but mentally too. Your baby depends on you to take care of the both of you and is reliant on your health.

MRI and pregnant

*Did you know? ... That the FDA requires that every MRI machine indicates the following statement somewhere on the device: “It has not been established whether or not the safety of a fetus is in jeopardy”. In harsh terms, they are basically stating that you are being scanned at your own risk and they are not liable for any damages that may occur on either you or your baby.