Q: I have a concern about my exposure to radiation because there are solar flares predicted for the week that I will be flying and I will be in my 9th week of pregnancy during my flights. What are the additional risks of radiation we might be exposed to if our flights occur during solar flares and the implications that it could have on my developing baby?

A: The radiation exposures while flying are not considered high exposures. During your pregnancy you and your fetus will receive about 300 millirad of background radiation, which of course none of us can avoid. In a 10-hour flight you would receive less than 1 millirad. During solar flare periods the exposure may be increased. Some measurements have estimated exposures of 100 times the usual exposure while flying which would bring your exposure in the range of a low-level exposure from many diagnostic radiological procedures. Even this exposure would not increase your risk for birth defects or miscarriage, which is 3% for birth defects and 15% for miscarriage for all healthy women when they begin their pregnancy.