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Can barium swallow be done in pregnant females?

Q: I recently had a barium swallow and a set of sinus x-rays done. I don't think I am pregnant, but I am a couple of days late. What are the possible risks to the embryo from the barium swallow test and the set of x-rays, in case I am pregnant?

A:It is unsafe to expose an early pregnancy to a Barium Swallow. This study involves evaluating the junction of the food pipe and the stomach, which is done by continuous x-ray exposure and spot films as well and the radiation reaching the pelvis in the form of scattered radiation easily exceeds the safe limit and may be in excess of 1.5 Rads. This can lead to the embryo stopping to grow, to developmental malformations and to a higher than usual risk of the child developing leukaemia later in life.

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