New Study Examines MRI Safety During Pregnancy

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Should women take a pregnancy test before having an MRI?

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the safety of magnetic resonance imaging during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.

“We already have a fair amount of data on CAT scan safety in pregnancy, but MRI was lacking,” says Dr. Joel Ray, of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Dr. Ray and his colleagues analyzed data collected over 12 years and concluded that MRI in the first trimester was not harmful to the developing fetus.

“An MRI in the first trimester is unlikely to be harmful, so special pregnancy testing or measures are unlikely required,” he says.

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Women undergoing an MRI with the contrast agent gadolinium at any point during pregnancy were also included in the study. These MRIs with contrast were associated with a higher risk of fetal death and a variety of inflammatory and skin conditions in the newborn.

“It reinforces a to-date, evidence-free notion that gadolinium might harm the fetus,” he says, “Gadolinium contrast would be best avoided in pregnancy.”

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