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Guidance issued over radiation risk to pregnant women
Pregnant women should avoid medical examinations which expose the foetus to high doses of radiation, it has been suggested.
According to the UK Health Protection Agency, The Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers, this may lead to a small increased risk of causing childhood cancer.
Examinations where the foetus receives doses of more than a few milligrays of ionising radiation should not be conducted, new guidance states.
However, the health bodies say that where there is an overriding health benefit to the mother, such examinations may be clinically justified.
Dr Bob Bury, a spokesman for The Royal College of Radiologists, said: "It is important to prevent inadvertent exposure of the foetus and have straightforward guidance for staff booking and carrying out examinations.
"It is also important to keep the risks of radiation in proportion, and give clear advice to patients if inadvertent exposures do occur."
Last month, researchers at Brown University, Rhode Island, US, claimed that the number of radiologic exams conducted on pregnant women in the US had more than doubled over the last decade.