The use of iodinated and gadolinium contrast media during pregnancy and lactation

Eur Radiol. 2005 Jun;15(6):1234-40. doi: 10.1007/s00330-004-2583-y. Epub 2004 Dec 18.


The use of iodinated or gadolinium-based contrast media in pregnant or lactating women often causes concerns in the radiology department because of the principle of not exposing a fetus or neonate to any drugs. Because of the uncertainty about the use of contrast media during pregnancy and lactation, the Contrast Media Safety Committee of the European Society of Urogenital Radiology decided to review the literature and draw up guidelines. An extensive literature search was carried out and summarized in a report. Based on the limited information available, simple guidelines have been drawn up. The report and guidelines were discussed at the 11th European Symposium on Urogenital Radiology in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Mutagenic and teratogenic effects have not been described after administration of gadolinium or iodinated contrast media. Free iodide in radiographic contrast medium given to the mother has the potential to depress fetal/neonatal thyroid function. Neonatal thyroid function should be checked during the 1st week if iodinated contrast media have been given during pregnancy. No effect on the fetus has been seen after gadolinium contrast media. Only tiny amounts of iodinated or gadolinium-based contrast medium given to a lactating mother reach the milk, and only a minute proportion entering the baby's gut is absorbed. The very small potential risk associated with absorption of contrast medium may be considered insufficient to warrant stopping breast-feeding for 24 h following either iodinated or gadolinium contrast agents.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium / administration & dosage
  • Gadolinium / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Iodine / administration & dosage
  • Iodine / adverse effects*
  • Lactation / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy*


  • Contrast Media
  • Iodine
  • Gadolinium