Intended for healthcare professionals


Radiation and women of child bearing potential

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 22 April 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1022
  1. Bob Bury,
  2. Alan Hufton,
  3. Judith Adams
  1. Consultant radiologist General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds LS1 3EX
  2. Section leader Radiation Physics, Christie Hospitals Trust, Manchester M20 9BX
  3. Dean Faculty of Clinical Radiology, Royal College of Radiologists, London W1N 4JQ

    Moves to revive the “10 day rule” may be premature

    The “10 day rule” recommended that, in women of child-bearing potential, non-urgent x ray examinations that entailed pelvic irradiation should be restricted to the first 10 days of the menstrual cycle. Its rationale was to avoid irradiating a fetus before the mother realised that she was pregnant. In 1984, however, the International Commission on Radiological Protection reported that there was little, if any, risk of damaging the fetus during the first two weeks of gestation—that is before the first period was missed.1 The National Radiological Protection Board issued advice based on this statement,2 and the College of Radiographers and Royal College of Radiologists followed up with their joint guidelines.3 Since then, for examinations in which the uterus will be within or close to the irradiated area, radiographers and radiologists ask patients if there is any chance that they may be pregnant. If …

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