Ionizing radiations in pregnancy and teratogenesis: a review of literature

Reprod Toxicol. 2005 Sep-Oct;20(3):323-9. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2005.04.004.


The present paper is a review of the data available in the literature concerning the prenatal exposure to radiation evaluating the reported teratogenic effect. We have particularly focused on the fetal effects of maternal ionising radiation exposure, both diagnostic and occupational, particularly in terms of congenital anomalies and birth weight. Ionising radiation represents a possible teratogen for the fetus, but this risk has been found to be dependent on the dosage and the effects correlatable to the gestational age at exposure. Recently, of particularly note is the fact that maternal thyroid exposure to diagnostic radiation has been associated with a slight reduction in the birth weight. Inadvertent exposure from diagnostic procedures in pregnancy doesn't usually increase the natural risk of congenital anomalies but creates a considerable state of maternal anxiety. Diagnostic radiological procedures should be avoided in pregnant women unless the information cannot be obtained by other techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Radiation-Induced*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Birth Weight / radiation effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radioactive Hazard Release
  • Radiography / adverse effects