MRI while pregnant - Mothering Forums

MRI while pregnant

texaspeach's Avatar texaspeach (TS)
12:52 AM Liked: 11
#1 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 8,518
Joined: Jun 2005
anyone had an MRI while pregnant?

I may have to have an MRI of my brain (if the other neurological tests come back abnormal). I'm 8 weeks pregnant so this complicates things. The doctor said that they like to wait until after the first trimester when the organs have formed. The doc said that if my life was in immediate danger, they would do it now (and if I weren't pg they would go ahead and do it right away), but since it is not immediately life threatening and there are other tests that can be done it can wait a few weeks.

An MRI is nonionizing radiation, so it isn't connected to cancer like xrays are. But ultrasound is also nonionizing radiation and I know some people question the safety of those. Any thoughts on MRI while pregnant?

Obviously I wouldn't just be doing this for fun and will only get the MRI if necessary to diagnose or monitor the condition they're concerned about.
MamaMonica's Avatar MamaMonica
04:03 AM Liked: 26
#2 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 12,862
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If you don't get answers here, you might try Health and Healing.
OceansEve's Avatar OceansEve
04:09 AM Liked: 16
#3 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 2,475
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I had to have an MRI just after DD1 was born. The main problem is the contrast material. They do practically no testing when BFing, but still recommend you pump and dump for around 36 hours. I can't remember what it said for pregnancy, but I would be vary leery, any chance it could wait a bit longer?
dinahx's Avatar dinahx
04:20 AM Liked: 28787
#4 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 2,061
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They don't HAVE to use contrast. The image will be a little less interesting from their perpsective, but so what, IMO. I would just refuse the contrast and since it is just a scan of your brain, no worries. I would refuse all contrast pregant or not though, it is something I feel very strongly about. IMO it is one step to far as far as sacrificing health for the quality of an image on a screen, kwim? IMO, doctors should focus more on healing, less on harmful diagnostics. JMO. Sending you positive vibes for healing!
OceansEve's Avatar OceansEve
04:28 AM Liked: 16
#5 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 2,475
Joined: Mar 2007
But from my understanding depending on what they are looking for you may have to have contrast or there is no point in doing the MRI.
08:50 AM Liked: 30
#6 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 695
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I know they use MRIs for pregnancy diagnosis in some cases - where they are actually looking at the fetus.

However I agree with pp about the contrast dye. I found this information

Current radiology practices and recommendations discourage the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents during pregnancy because their safety for the fetus has not yet been proven. In line, however, with the European Society of Radiology guidelines and based on the available evidence, gadolinium-based contrast agents appear to be safe in pregnancy. Gadolinium use should be considered when the diagnostic study is important for the health of the mother.
I would also be more comfortable after the first trimester unless is was immediately life threatening! I hope it isn't!
Jayray's Avatar Jayray
12:22 PM Liked: 25
#7 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 828
Joined: Oct 2008
I have had many MRIs with contrast of my brain, but none while pregnant. I had one scheduled when I found out I was pregnant and cancelled it. My neurologist said that was fine, but that if it was really necessary they are considered safe in pregnancy. (MRIs just use a giant magnetic field.)

I would do a little more research on the gadolinium. There has been some recent research, because they started asking me more questions about my health than they used to--due to some new findings on gad. You could ask for a lower dose (or lie about your weight) or ask your doc if its necessary for what he needs to see.

They are monitoring me for MS (I haven't been diagnosed, just keeping an eye on the brain because I had a spinal cord lesion about 2 years ago). If your situation is similar, feel free to PM me. Autoimmune issues tend to get better during pregnancy, which might make your diagnosis less urgent? I don't know.
OceansEve's Avatar OceansEve
04:57 PM Liked: 16
#8 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 2,475
Joined: Mar 2007
I've had plenty of MRIs to track the growth of a cyst in my brain. No growth now 6 years later

Also there, of course, are different brands of contrast material, there was one in particular I remember wanting to avoid. I called them to make sure they didn't use that one in particular, then when I showed up the next day and asked the tech some questions, he was surprised and said "So you're the one that wanted to know what contrast we used, aren't you?" They are so used to no one batting an eye at it and thought I was wierd I guess.
texaspeach's Avatar texaspeach (TS)
06:55 PM Liked: 11
#9 of 9
01-16-2009 | Posts: 8,518
Joined: Jun 2005
Thanks for the information everyone

Good to know about the contrast. I've got an OB appt on Thursday and I'll ask her about it. She phoned today to check in and said an MRI was fine, but I didn't ask her about the contrast.
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