Cat Scan while pregnant - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I need some advice about whether or not to get a cat scan tomorrow. I am 10 weeks pregnant with my second. I spent half the day in the er today and refused the cat scan because I wasn't given enough info on how it might affect my baby. Anyway, now I have an appt with a neurologist tomorrow morning and I'm not sure what to do. This morning my right eye got sort of a line down the middle and it was difficult to focus and see. Then I felt extremely tired and when I tried to read a sentence I could not comprehend what I was reading...I could read the words but didn't know what the sentence meant, this lasted for a few minutes. Also, I thought I saw my arm in front of me when it was at my side...very weird. I feel ok now, just tired with a slight headache.

I also posted this in health and healing

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#2 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 06:53 PM
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I've recently been hearing stories about CT scans being linked to cancer (usually in cases of repeated exposure) but it would make me very nervous during pregnancy. Vision problems can be caused by a rise in estrogen during pregnancy, so maybe it's something like that. Hopefully the neurologist can pinpoint some possibilities without doing a scan. Best of luck! That must be scary.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
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#3 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 08:18 PM
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Just a long shot, but I had something similar during my last pregnancy. I had like a jagged bright line in my vision, and could not see anything in a particular region (could easily think I saw my hand). It was then followed by a headache. I then had one later on, after pregnancy, and it turned out to be a migraine that is accompanied by visual disturbance. The only thing that wouldn't explain is not being able to comprehend a sentence -- unless that's pregnancy brain? Anyway, just thought I would throw something out there that could be a non-scary explanation. Hope you haven't had any other symptoms since.

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#4 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 08:25 PM
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I get the visual disturbances causing migraines... my doctor thinks it is a small (I forget the word but basically a seizure) but we have never done a Cat Scan to check... I do get very disoriented/confused between the flashes and the migraine though... and the migraine usually comes on slowly, as just a headache at first and by the next day if I do not medicate it is full blown.

May I ask if you are by chance taking anything for morning sickness at the moment? I was on a medication with DS that actually made this happen more often.

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#5 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 08:44 PM
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a CAT scan is a form of a X-Ray and X-Rays are not particularly good in pregnancy. there is some discussion on what level is ok, but that is a scale you need to understand before you can decide where you fell comfortable on it. but you are also talking about the head and that may make the difference. I would ask them if they need to inject contrast and look into that issue and then if they really want to go forward i would make sure that you are very well covered everywhere except the head that they are scanning.

i would personally make them explain a whole lot more what they are needing the CAT scan for and why they cant find things out another way, and also wether a short wait and see approach is not warranted considering what other ladies here are saying about this maybe being more normal and harmless than they may understand. BTW i would make sure that not just a neurologist talks to you but someone with lots of pregnancy experience, they may be aware of things more than the former.

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#6 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 08:51 PM
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See if an MRI would be 'good enough' for now. There is no radiation, much much safer for baby.
If you continue to have problems try and put off the CT scan as long as you can. The farther into pregnancy you get the less of an issue it becomes, especially if they shield you, confine the scan to your head and do not use a radioactive dye.

I had a VQ scan at 17 weeks. I *hated* the thought of exposing my baby to radiation and let me tell you inhaling radioactive gas when pregnant is just terrifying but it was either that or a spiral CT scan (they were ruling out a pulmonary embolism).

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#7 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 09:52 PM
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I had the exact same thing happen to me at 10 weeks. We thought I was having a stroke. I had the additional symptoms of slow/slurred speech, and the side of my face and my arm went numb.

I had the Cat scan, and my OB explained it was safer than the MRI-they wanted to avoid the MRI if at all possible, which it was. I was also treated to a 2 night hospital stay, and all sorts of other tests, (blood, ultrasounds of veins/arteries, etc.)

I was finally diagnosed with a "silent migraine". Basically, I had all the weird aura things that people can get with a migraine, but without the headache. Hormonal changes can be a trigger for migraines-and it's not uncommon for women who have previously never had migraines to develop them during pregnancy. I've had one other "attack", at around 24 weeks...since I knew what it was, I just went and took a nap, when I woke up, I was fine.

A whole episode from start to finish never lasted more than 2 hours for me.

ETA: Not being able to comprehend what I was reading was when we headed to the hospital, the numbness happened on the way. I was on facebook, and couldn't figure out what status updates said...then when I tried to explain to my husband I couldn't understand the words, I started studdering and slurring words.

When I had my scan, they didn't need to use any type of dye...they just put me in the machine with a lead drape over my body.

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#8 of 10 Old 04-21-2010, 11:13 PM
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Definitely talk with the neurologist. If they feel it is necessary, I would ask for an mri as well. There still is some radiation, but it is much less than a CT.

I had a ct while pregnant because I showed up at the hospital with severe chest pain, and they were worried about a blood clot. In that case, I don't feel bad about it, because it could have killed both of us.

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#9 of 10 Old 04-22-2010, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone....I do feel that it was a migrane and we'll see what the neurologist says this morning.

Thefreckledmama: It was facebook as well where I couldn't understand that status updates.

J- mama to E (8/08) and C (11/10)

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#10 of 10 Old 04-24-2010, 12:09 PM
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I would find a neurologist to talk to. CT scans are very dangerous and should not just be done to confirm fears. My daughter (who is almost 7) had one, and they warned us that these should not be done often.

If you are truly worried, I would opt for an MRI, which is safer.

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