UpToDate, electronic clinical resource tool for physicians and patients that provides information on Adult Primary Care and Internal Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Family Medicine, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Hematology, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology and Hypertension, Neurology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women. The possibility of an X-ray during pregnancy causing harm to your unborn child is very small. Generally, the benefits of the diagnostic information from an X-ray outweigh the potential risk to a baby. However, if you received a large number of abdominal X-rays over a short period before you were aware of your pregnancy, your baby could be affected.
Why Is X Ray Harmful
Hard X-rays (0.10 to 0.1 wavelengths) have penetrating capabilities that are used by medical experts to take images of the inside of our body for the purpose of detecting and diagnosing conditions. Apart from its useful medical implementation, X-ray has a wide range of industrial and other scientific uses as well. X-ray is often used to detect the integral condition and strength of a structure and thus both aircraft and car manufacturers use it as an important tool to make and maintain their manufactures.
X-rays are however, not advised by doctors nowadays, unless necessary and that too with sufficient gaps in between them. The simple reason behind this precaution is that over-exposure to x-rays damage living tissues and cells and may cause them to develop cancer. Actually x-rays are radio active in nature and unlike normal light, an x-ray beam can charge the atom of what object it touches by releasing the electrons, thus creating an ion or an electrically charged atom. Following the laws of physics, the number of ions in the affected area multiplies due to collision. This is the scientific reason behind the harmful effects of exposure to x-ray, but what this translates to in terms of physical damage is that it alters chemical compositions and causes harmful chemical reactions within the living cells. These reactions may break the DNA strands thus killing the cell or mutating it into a cancerous cell.
Why X Ray Is Harmful During Pregnancy
Depending on the type of cell harmed through overuse of x-rays, the damage manifests in forms of various diseases and cancers in different parts of the body. The cancer may also spread from one part to another part within the body. On affecting reproductive cells like eggs or sperm cells of the organism, it can either make them infertile or may cause the offspring to be abnormal and sick from birth. Even loss of hair and problems in the bone marrow is attributed to the harmful effects of x-ray radiation.
Is X Ray Harmful Or Helpful
Although exposure to x-ray radiation can lead to such problems as discussed in the above paragraphs, it is an essential part of medical diagnosis and is unavoidable in certain cases. Practicing caution and avoiding over-exposure are the keys to avoid such effects on your body.