Should I Avoid Bone Density Test If I Am Pregnant? Know Here

Q: My health care provider suggests me to have bone density test. So she will know how much mineral in my bones. But Fact is that I am pregnant and I don’t have any idea if BDT causes any side effects or not. So is it ok to go for bone density test or not?
Expert Answer

What Is Bone Density Test:

A bone density test is used to measure calcium and other minerals in our bones. Such procedure is done to:

Should I Avoid Bone Density Test If I Am Pregnant? Know Here

  • Determine whether a patient has osteoporosis
  • Determine risks of bone fractures
  • Identify any decrease in bone density
  • Monitor the prevention or treatment program for osteoporosis
Bone Density Test if I am Pregnant

A bone density test also utilizes x-rays. It is a fast and painless test and would only take around 10 minutes. When undergone regularly (every 2 years or as frequent as your doctor recommends), repeat bone density tests can provide you with important information such as determining whether your bone density decreased, increased or remained as it is. It can also serve as a test to evaluate whether the treatment program for your bone health problem (i.e. osteoporosis, osteopenia) is effective or should you change to another plan because your current program isn’t working out well.

What are The Risks Of a Bone Density Test?

  • The test cannot provide the cause of having a low bone density
  • The test is risky for pregnant women

So, Should I Avoid a Bone Density Test If I am Pregnant:

During the first trimester of your pregnancy, you should avoid a bone density test. Such test utilizes x-rays and x-rays can cause some fatal problems for the baby particularly in the first three months. But if you’ve already undergone the test, it is very important to get checked and be monitored by a gynecologist for your baby’s health and development.

After the first trimester and you’re contemplating a bone density test, you might want to ask some advice from your doctor.

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What Could Be The Reason’s That My Doctor Recommended a Bone Density Test:

Bone health problems, particularly osteoporosis are common among the elderly – experienced by many adults over the age of 50. Bone loss, which does happen naturally as we age, has no obvious signs and symptoms. One cannot really know that he/she already has osteoporosis until already in the late stages.

Here are some factors or situations you might have thereby prompting your doctor to recommend a bone density test:

You’ve Lost Height:

One of the major causes of osteoporosis is compression fractures in the spine. When a person loses a height of 4 centimeters (about 1 ½ inches), there’s a big possibility that he is experiencing compression fractures

You’re Taking Certain Medications:

Taking steroid medications such as prednisone and other corticosteroid drugs for a prolonged period of time may interfere with the body’s bone-rebuilding processes as this type of medications takes away Vitamin D, calcium and other minerals and nutrients from the bones

You Have A Strong Family History Of Osteoporosis:

If you came from a family with a history of osteoporosis, loss of height or poor posture – then it’s likely that you’ll be afflicted with osteoporosis

You’ve Fractured Your Bone:

When you have weak bones, you have a high risk for fragility fractures. This would also entail having bones that break easily or having fractures that can be severe in spite of the circumstance (e.g. fracturing an ankle just by simply stepping the wrong way off the curb). The strength of our bones should be sufficient to sustain impact, and if your bones can’t – even with just a minimal impact, then you would certainly want to get evaluated by a doctor

You’re Experiencing Lowered Hormone Levels:

Women are at a higher risk of osteoporosis and weakening of the bones due to a drop in their hormone levels. As for men, certain types of prostate cancer treatments may lead to the reduction of their testosterone levels. Such drop in hormone levels directly leads to weakening of the bones

Irregular Menstruation For Women:

Low levels of estrogen leads to irregular menstruation for women. And since estrogen plays an important role in bone health, lowered estrogen level can directly contribute to bone loss

You’re Smoking:

Studies have proven that smoking can also affect one’s bone health. So if you are a smoker, you are also at a high potential of developing osteoporosis

You Are A Recipient Of A Transplant:

The anti-rejection drugs given to recipients of a bone marrow or organ transplant has a high risk of developing osteoporosis or bone fragility because such drugs may interfere with bone-building processes

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Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman is an independent research writer living in Toronto, Canada. She has professional experience as a researcher, and educa

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