Some of the ethically most sensitive issues in radiation protection arise at imaging of pregnant - and potentially pregnant - patients and of newborn. This article reviews the current literature and recommendations on imaging during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Risks related to alternative non-ionizing radiation methods are also considered. With few exceptions, exposure of the fetus through radiography, computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine imaging can be limited to safe levels, although studies such as abdominal-pelvic CT cannot avoid significant exposure to fetuses. Eight to 10 weeks post-conception, the fetus has a thyroid which starts to concentrate iodide having crossed the placenta barrier resulting in unacceptably high doses to the fetal thyroid after administration of 131I- and even 123I-iodide and other radiopharmaceuticals with a high content of free radioiodine. Many radiopharmaceuticals are excreted through breast milk. Breastfeeding interruption recommendations should be followed to keep the effective dose to the infant below 1 mSv.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging