MRI Scan During Pregnancy – Is it Safe?

4 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

MRI Scan During Pregnancy

During Pregnancy, it is essential to take care of your body. If you become sick, it involves two patients – you and your baby. To check your illness and body condition, the doctors might recommend Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI). But is it safe to undergo an MRI scan during pregnancy?

MRI scan during pregnancy is not usually recommended unless there is a specific medical reason, such as pelvic pain or meningitis. Having said that, these tests are usually safe during pregnancy and the doctor will recommend this test if the health condition of the mother deems it necessary to do the test. In this article, we shall discuss more what an MRI scan is, its safety, and side effects if any.

In This Article

What is MRI Scan?

MRI or Magnetic Resource Imaging is an imaging technique used in the medical industry to capture the images of the organs and tissues using a magnetic field and computerized radio waves. There is an MRI machine that has substantial tube-shaped magnetic fields.

When we lie inside the machine, the magnetic field reassembles the water molecules in the body. The Radio waves help these molecular atoms to create signals and capture images.

With the advent of technology, MRI scans can also produce 3D images viewed from different angles.

Is MRI Scan During Pregnancy Safe?

MRI Scan During Pregnancy Safe

Research and experience so far suggest no known risks from MRI scans during pregnancy. The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics suggests that while MRI is safe during pregnancy, doctors should evaluate the need for the scan depending on individual cases. Doctors may recommend to avoid these tests during the first trimester to be on the safe side. MRIs are comparatively safer during the second and third trimesters.

The use of Gadolinium as a contrast medium is to be completely avoided during pregnancy as it is associated with multiple health conditions in the mother and increases the risk of still birth or death of the fetus.

Why Would You Need an MRI During Pregnancy?

If you suffer from any illness and your symptoms warrant treatments that need to begin immediately and need more clarity for proper treatment, the doctors might recommend an MRI scan.

It is essential to diagnose and start the treatment early and not wait until delivery. The sickness might affect both the mother and the little one.

When May You Need an MRI Scan During Pregnancy?

The doctor will recommend a fetal MRI during pregnancy’s second and third trimesters. Fetal MRI gives structural information in detail, including abnormalities in the fetus’s brain, body, and spine. The MRI can help diagnose and secure detailed information in complex cases.

Are There Any Side Effects of MRI During Pregnancy?

Side Effects of MRI During Pregnancy

There are no proven side effects of MRI for the mother or the baby during Pregnancy, and the MRI scan does not use radiation that might cause changes in the genetic material. Over the years, so many women have undergone MRI scans during pregnancy and no harmful effects were observed for the mother and the unborn baby.

However, contrast material shall be used in certain specific situations. A Contrast material commonly known as Gadolinium shall be injected into the veins in the arms. Though it is not usually recommended during pregnancy, the doctors might suggest it if it is necessary.

Before using the contrast material, the doctor shall get proper guidance and suggestions from the radiologist on whether such contrast material is necessary and safe.

Pregnant women should not refuse the MRI scan suggested by doctors for diagnosing the severe illness if any. The scan does not harm, and it benefits the health of both the mother and the unborn. The health of the baby is more dependent on the mother’s health.


1. Does an MRI Scan Show Everything?

Yes. An MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) is an examination that helps check the detailed images of the soft tissues. These images are created using radio waves, a magnetic field, and a computer. The scan helps the doctor view the body’s parts into different layers. Tumours, strokes, and other disc herniations can be diagnosed using MRI.

2. Is an MRI or CT Scan Safer?

Yes. MRI is safer than a CT scan. The CT scans use radiation that could damage the DNA and risk building up cancer. MRI scans do not use radiation reducing the risk of cancers. However, the time taken for the MRI scan is much more than CT scan.

3. Is MRI Safe in The Third Trimester?

Yes. The MRI is entirely safe during the second and third trimesters, and the safety of the scan in the first trimester is unknown. But having the MRI in the first trimester has not increased the risk of congenital disabilities or any other abnormality in the unborn.

4. What Are The Alternatives to MRI?

Ultrasound can be considered the best alternative for MRI during pregnancy. Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce the images. However, doctors might recommend an MRI if detailed images are not possible with an ultrasound scan.

CT Scans are also an alternative as they are safer during pregnancy. Since they use radiation to create images, it is better to avoid them during pregnancy.

5. What is Fetal MRI?

Fetal MRI is an imaging procedure done to view the anatomic structures of the fetus. The fetal MRI serves as a supplement for the information obtained in the fetal ultrasound. The Fetal MRI is usually performed in the second and third trimesters.

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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