The developing human embryo and fetus are more sensitive to radiation damage
than an adult. Hence, special consideration must be given to the protection of
the embryo or fetus of women who are pregnant.
Female Patients of Childbearing Age
In general, any female patient of childbearing age should be considered
potentially pregnant. These patients should ALL be questioned regarding the
likelihood of pregnancy prior to performing any x-ray examination. Routine
dental x-rays should be delayed until after pregnancy if the patient is found to
be, or is likely to be pregnant. Emergency x-rays should only be done after
careful evaluation by the licensed health care provider (i.e., the dentist).
Female Personnel of Childbearing Age
An employee should contact Radiation Safety either directly or through her supervisors
when she knows or suspects she is pregnant; or when considering becoming
pregnant. If an employee does not wish to disclose a pregnancy to her
supervisors, confidential disclosures can be made directly to Radiation Safety.
The University of Washington Radiation
Safety Manual has detailed information on radiation exposure to the fetus.