The number of pregnant women exposed to radiation has more than doubled in the past 10 years. That's according to Brown University researchers, who compared the number of radiologic exams on pregnant women versus the number of babies born from 1997 through 2006.
The number of deliveries at the facility rose about 7 percent over that time period. The number of exams that use radiation, such as CT scans and x-rays, rose 121 percent.
Researchers say CT scans were most common, and do have value in detecting potentially life-threatening conditions. They say that overall the levels of radiation were low, but might carry a slight risk to the developing fetus.
Data for the analysis came from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. In 20 U.S. cities, 4,898 mothers were surveyed at the time of delivery, from 1998 to 2000. In a follow-up survey 15 months later, 4,353 of mothers reported their smoking behavior and symptoms of a major depressive episode during the prior 12 months."