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Can You Breastfeed Following CT Scan?

CT scan

by Amy Spangler
June 17, 2010

Will I need to stop breastfeeding if I have a CT scan. And if so, for how long?

For all those breastfeeding mothers who risk being told by well-meaning health care providers, family, and friends to “pump and dump” for 2 to 24 hours following a CT (computerized tomography) scan—help has arrived under the title, “Manual on Contrast Media v7.”

Written by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and now available online, the Manual on Contrast Media v7 states that less than 1 percent of iodine-based contrast medium (substances that increase picture quality during imaging tests such as CT scans and MRIs) used in imaging studies is excreted into breast milk and less than 1 percent is absorbed from the baby’s gastrointestinal tract. Agents containing gandolinium, another common contrast medium, are also safe with less than .04 percent of the contrast medium excreted into breast milk and less than 1 percent absorbed from the baby’s gut. These low absorption rates are true of contrast agents given intravenously as well as those taken orally or rectally.

While there is no evidence to suggest that it is unsafe for babies to ingest a small amount of contrast agent, some mothers find even the smallest risk unacceptable and prefer to interrupt breastfeeding for 24 hours. You can express your milk ahead of time, and feed it to your baby. In addition, you will need to express your breasts (manually or with a pump) to relieve fullness and maintain your milk supply.

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