It is common for pregnant people to have an MRI. Pregnant people can get an MRI at any trimester. No documented reports have show any harm to patients or babies.
The safety of you and your baby is our top priority. Please ask questions and let us know your concerns. We can work together to help address them.
What are the benefits of MRI for pregnant people?
An MRI is very good at imaging internal organs and other soft tissues. It can provide information that is important to know before your baby is born. Your doctor can explain what information he or she is looking for and why.
An MRI can also provide information about the developing fetus when ultrasound cannot.
What are the risks of MRI for pregnant people?
MRI is safe imaging for most people, including pregnant people. Risks typically depend on a person's specific medical condition.
Mass General routinely scans pregnant people on a 1.5T (tesla) MRI machines. Tesla measures the strength of the magnet. No research has shown risks to a pregnant person or fetus because of this magnet strength.
Currently, not enough research is available about the risks to a fetus using a newer, higher-strength 3T MRI machine. If a 3T MRI is necessary for your care, we will carefully review the risks and benefits with you.
Does an MRI use contrast?
Some MRI exams use IV (intravenous) contrast to help a radiologist with a diagnosis. Mass General does not routinely use contrast in patients who are pregnant because research is limited about the risk to a fetus. The exception is when the patient, the ordering doctor and the radiologist decide together that the benefit of using contrast outweighs the risk.
Does an MRI use radiation?
Unlike X-rays or CT exams, an MRI does not use radiation. It uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body.