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Prenatal Radiation Exposure
Transcript of Prenatal Radiation Exposure
Another important consideration is the stage of pregnancy in which the radiation exposure occurred
Examples of fetal radiation damage occurring in history
The two most frequently cited nuclear contamination events are the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Chernobyl meltdown. There's also the recent disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, although impacts from this meltdown may not be understood for a long while.
In 1945, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in hopes of ending World War II. The plan worked, although many of the health impacts came as an unfortunate lesson. Since then, researchers have tracked the survivors and discovered that babies exposed to the bomb's radiation while still in womb were found to have lower IQs, higher rates of mental disability, and impaired physical growth and development
How does radiation exposure affect unborn babies?
Radiation exposure before a baby's birth can increase the likelihood of diseases or even end the child's life before it's barely begun. Since unborn babies are especially sensitive to radiation, it's best if an examination that involves radiation exposure can be postponed or replaced with another until after the baby is born.
In the first two weeks post conception
the embryo is very resistant to the malformation effects of x rays. however doses much higher than 50 mSv are necessary to cause a miscarriage
From the 3rd to the 8th week of pregnancy
the embryo is in the period of early embryonic development but is not affected with either birth defects, pregnancy loss, or growth retardation unless the exposure is substantially above the 200 mSv exposure.
From the 8th to the 15th week of pregnancy
the fetus is sensitive to the effects of radiation on the central nervous system. But the exposure has to be very high. The threshold has been estimated to be higher than 300 mSv before an effect can be seen on the IQ of the developing embryo.
Beyond the 20th week of pregnancy
when the fetus is done developing , it has become more resistant to the effects of radiation. But the most important thing is that practically none of the diagnostic radiological procedures will affect an embryo at this late stage of pregnancy and certainly there is no risk for birth defects or miscarriage from the range of exposures that occur from diagnostic studies.
Chernobyl Birth Defect