Having an X-ray when you are pregnant

The immigration authorities require that all adult applicants, without exception, have a chest X-ray at some stage. This is a part of the tuberculosis control program. If you are pregnant and are concerned about having an X-ray, you have a few options:

  • You can choose to have the X-ray now. Chest X-rays are now regarded as safe in pregnancy because of the minimal radiation dose used in modern equipment. Some clinics still use a protective shield to cover your abdomen. Even that is now deemed unnecessary according to the latest recommendations: Gonadal-and-Fetal-Shielding_CAMRT-Position.pdf

  • You can do the other parts of your medical examination now and return for the X-ray after the birth of your baby. However, your medical report will not be completed until the X-ray examination is done.

  • You can choose to postpone the whole examination until after the birth of your baby.

For some perspective, the typical radiation dose from a chest X-ray is 0.1mSv and the amount of background radiation that we absorb just by living in Vancouver is 1.4mSv per year. Some cities have much more, for example in Winnipeg it is 4.1mSv per year. Background radiation consists of cosmic radiation, ground radiation, radiation from inhaled and ingested radioactive traces and self-radiation from radioactive isotopes normally present in living organisms.

Dr. W. P. Ciszak Medical Services Inc.
777 Hornby Street, Suite 805
Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1S4, Canada