European Radiology

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 1234–1240 | Cite as

The use of iodinated and gadolinium contrast media during pregnancy and lactation

  • Judith A. W. Webb
  • Henrik S. Thomsen
  • Sameh K. Morcos
  • Members of Contrast Media Safety Committee of European Society of Urogenital Radiology (ESUR)
Contrast Media


The use of iodinated or gadolinium-based contrast media in pregnant or lactating women often causes concerns in the radiology department because of the principle of not exposing a fetus or neonate to any drugs. Because of the uncertainty about the use of contrast media during pregnancy and lactation, the Contrast Media Safety Committee of the European Society of Urogenital Radiology decided to review the literature and draw up guidelines. An extensive literature search was carried out and summarized in a report. Based on the limited information available, simple guidelines have been drawn up. The report and guidelines were discussed at the 11th European Symposium on Urogenital Radiology in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Mutagenic and teratogenic effects have not been described after administration of gadolinium or iodinated contrast media. Free iodide in radiographic contrast medium given to the mother has the potential to depress fetal/neonatal thyroid function. Neonatal thyroid function should be checked during the 1st week if iodinated contrast media have been given during pregnancy. No effect on the fetus has been seen after gadolinium contrast media. Only tiny amounts of iodinated or gadolinium-based contrast medium given to a lactating mother reach the milk, and only a minute proportion entering the baby’s gut is absorbed. The very small potential risk associated with absorption of contrast medium may be considered insufficient to warrant stopping breast-feeding for 24 h following either iodinated or gadolinium contrast agents.


Gadolinium contrast media Iodinated contrast media Lactation Pregnancy 



We thank Dr M.O. Savage, professor of Pediatric Endocrinology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London EC1A 7BE, for his helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith A. W. Webb
    • 1
  • Henrik S. Thomsen
    • 2
  • Sameh K. Morcos
    • 3
  • Members of Contrast Media Safety Committee of European Society of Urogenital Radiology (ESUR)
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic ImagingSt. Bartholomew’s HospitalLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Diagnostic Radiology 54E2Copenhagen University Hospital at HerlevHerlevDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Diagnostic ImagingNorthern General HospitalSheffieldUK

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