Is MRI Safe In Pregnancy? A Guide For Expectant Mothers

MRIs are recommended during pregnancy only when needed. When a woman conceives and an MRI is suggested, it is perhaps the most exciting period of the pregnancy phase when they get to see images of the growing fetus. But for the gynecologist, MRI scans and the reports are not just about monitoring the growth of a baby. MRIs also let gynecologists know about the kind of progress a fetus is making or if there are any abnormalities detected. MRIs are usually suggested in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.

However, it is often asked if MRIs are safe? This fear is due to a lack of knowledge amongst people about the kind of MRI that is being referred to as harmful.

MRI has not been proven harmful for mothers or unborn babies till now. Research conducted to investigate the adverse effects of MRIs on the mother and the unborn baby has not brought to light any adverse effects until now. MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging does not use radioactive procedures or materials in the process. What MRI machines do use are radio waves, strong magnetic fields, and gradients.

Contrast MRI however can prove to be a little risky though the percentage of the risk is extremely low, as per various research. In Contrast MRIs the patients need to be injected with gadolinium-based dye. Since the gadolinium does pass across the placenta, it is not recommended for pregnant women. In very few cases may lead to problems related to vision in the baby.

Studies have found that only about 0.03% of people have ever complained of side effects arising from Gadolinium injected for contrast MRIs. The side effects can be allergies, fatigue of muscles, and cognitive problems. Though this subject continues to be studied and researched, many believe that a contrast MRI scan might be responsible for stillbirths, and neonatal fatality.

However, it must be understood that MRIs have been recommended when needed for pregnant women for years. There is no proven case until today that factually states that pregnancy or a fetus had died due to MRI. MRIs are not usually recommended until necessary. It is an ultrasound that is usually used to ensure the fetus's heartbeat and to look at the growth of the baby. A pregnant mother can refuse to undergo an MRI scan. However, before refusing it is always good to research and consult your gynecologist and the radiologist who will carry out the MRI scans. Rest your doubts but also understand that unless absolutely needed, during pregnancy you will never be recommended an MRI for a routine check-up .

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