CAMRT Logo

 

Search the BPG

Pregnant MRTs

 

Pregnant MRTs notify their employers of their pregnancy and take steps to minimize their exposure to radiation

 

+ Radiation during pregnancy

  • Avoiding unnecessary exposure to the developing fetus or embryo is essential due to the radiosensitivity of rapidly dividing cells.1
  • Exposure of the unborn fetus to ionizing radiation increases the risk of somatic effects as well as genetic effects that could be passed to subsequent generations.1
  • Federal and provincial regulations exist to address occupational exposure to radiation, and include considerations for pregnant workers.
    • MRTs should be familiar with the regulations that apply to their jurisdictions and facility

+ Ionizing radiation dose limits

  • An MRT can continue working during pregnancy, but must take measures to keep effective fetal dose below prescribed limits.2
  • The whole body effective dose limit for pregnant MRTs (both radiation and nuclear energy workers) in Canada is 4 mSv, from the time that pregnancy is declared until the end of term.1,3
  • After an MRT has declared her pregnancy, the effective dose to the surface of the abdomen should not exceed 2 mSv for the remainder of the pregnancy.4
  • There are relevant provincial regulations in some jurisdictions, as well.5-10
  • Additional radiation monitoring equipment may be provided, depending on the facility.4
  • Health Canada recommends dosimeters are monitored closely and checked for radiation doses every 2 weeks.11
  • The recommended dose limit applies to the fetal dose and it is not directly comparable to the dose measured on a personal dosimeter.2
    • A personal dosimeter may overestimate fetal dose by a factor of 10 or more2
    • If the dosimeter has been worn outside a lead apron, the measured dose is likely to be about 100 times higher than the fetal dose2
    • In radiation therapy, doses are not likely to exceed 25% of the personal dosimeter measurement2

+ Considerations for radiologic technology

  • An MRT who becomes aware that she is pregnant must notify her employer.1
  • Personal protective equipment is used.1
  • There are no limitations to the performance of diagnostic x-ray procedures, including the use of mobile units.1
  • There are no limitations to the performance of interventional procedures including the use of fluoroscopy.1

+ Considerations for nuclear medicine

  • An MRT who becomes aware that she is pregnant must notify her employer in writing, as well as the Radiation Safety Officer.3
  • Personal protective equipment is used.1
  • Performance of procedures that result in high exposure to radiation (e.g., therapeutic procedures, preparation of radiopharmaceuticals) is considered in the context of total fetal dose limit for the pregnancy.

+ Considerations for radiation therapy

  • An MRT who becomes aware that she is pregnant must notify her employer.3
  • Personal protective equipment is used.1
  • Radiation therapists are restricted from handling brachytherapy sources and may be restricted in treating patients on a Cobalt unit.
  • Radiation therapists may perform simulations, linear accelerator administered external beam radiation therapy and image guidance.

+ Considerations for magnetic resonance

  • An MRT who becomes aware that she is pregnant must notify her employer.
  • Pregnant MRI technologists are permitted to work in and around the MRI environment throughout all stages of their pregnancy.12,13
  • MRI technologists are advised not to remain in the scanner room during actual data acquisition or scanning.12

+ References

  1. Health Canada. Safety Code 35: Safety Procedures for the Installation, Use and Control of X-ray Equipment in Large Medical Radiological Facilities. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/radiation/safety-code_35-securite/section-a3-eng.php#a3. Accessed March 27, 2013.
  2. International Atomic Energy Agency. Radiation Protection of Patients. Pregnancy and Radiation Protection in Diagnostic Radiology. Available at: https://rpop.iaea.org/RPOP/RPoP/Content/SpecialGroups/1_PregnantWomen/Pregnancyandradiology.htm. Accessed March 27, 2013.
  3. Government of Canada. Justice Laws Website. Radiation Protection Regulations (SOR/2000-203). Available at: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-2000-203.pdf. Accessed November 25, 2015.
  4. Health Canada. Safety Code 20A: X-Ray Equipment in Medical Diagnosis Part A: Recommended Safety Procedures for Installation and Use. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/radiation/safety-code_20-securite/index-eng.php. Accessed March 27, 2013.
  5. Health Canada. Environmental and Workplace Health. Dose Limits. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/occup-travail/radiation/dosim/res-centre/limits-limites-eng.php. Accessed October 4, 2013.
  6. Government of British Columbia. Workers Compensation Act. Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. Available at: http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/296_97_05. Accessed October 4, 2013.
  7. Government of Alberta. Radiation Protection Act. Radiation Protection Regulation. Available at: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/1266.cfm?page=2003_182.cfm&leg_type=Regs&isbncln=0779731042. Accessed October 4, 2013.
  8. Government of Saskatchewan. The Radiation Health and Safety Regulations, 2005. Available at: http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Regulations/Regulations/R1-1r2.pdf. Accessed October 4, 2013.
  9. Government of Manitoba. The Workplace Safety and Health Act. Workplace Safety and Health Regulation. Available at: http://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/regs/pdf/w210-217.06.pdf. Accessed October 4, 2013.
  10. Government of Ontario. Occupational Health and Safety Act (R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 861) X-ray Safety. Available at: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_900861_e.htm. Accessed March 21, 2013.
  11. Health Canada. Healthy Living: It's Your Health. Occupational Exposure to Radiation. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/environ/expos-eng.php. Accessed March 21, 2013.
  12. Kanal E, Bark al. ovich J, Bell C, et al. ACR Guidance Document on MR Safe Practices: 2013. J Magn Reson Imaging 2013;37:501-530.
  13. Shellock FG. Reference Manual for Magnetic Resonance Safety, Implants, and Devices. 2012 Ed. Los Angeles, CA: Biomedical Research Publishing Group; 2012.

Related guidelines

>Personal protective equipment

 

 

Validation

October 16, 2013

 

 
Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
85 Albert St, Suite 1000, Ottawa, ON, K1P 6A4
phone: 613 234-0012 / 800 463-9729
fax: 613 234-1097
www.camrt.ca