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Natural Birth & Parenting Natural Birth & Parenting

Risks of ultrasound?

Posted by on Aug. 28, 2010 at 8:12 AM
  • 4 Replies

Hi!  I'm new to the group.  I'm expecting my first baby in December of this year.

I am wondering if anyone has perspective on pros and cons of ultrasound.  I have had four ultrasounds already mainly because I opted to do the triple screen testing for genetic disorders with a specialist.  After some research on the internet, I have seen some info about how ultrasound could be responsible for miscarriage, preterm labor, learning disabilites and more.

I guess my question is how many ultrasounds have any pregnant mommas had and how many ultrasounds is too many?

by on Aug. 28, 2010 at 8:12 AM
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peanut06
by on Aug. 28, 2010 at 8:56 AM

If it weren't for my medical problems, I'd say 2 ultrasounds should be it--the big ones being: to determine fetal heartbeat existence (around 10 weeks) and the anatomy scan (18-22 weeks, usually when you can learn baby's gender if you choose).  The main purpose of a scan around 28 weeks is to check the size of the baby, something a skilled medical professional can usually do with a tape measure and their hands on your belly.  Also, this is when many people are opting to receive those detailed 4D scans.

Personally, I'm on blood thinners for a clotting condition that only occurs when I'm pregnant (antiphospholipid syndrome) and I have a history of intra-uterine growth restriction and one loss after 20 weeks.  So, I receive bi-weekly scans to measure growth until 24 weeks and weekly biophysical profile scans starting at 28 weeks.  In a biophysical profile, the technician creates a score based on the existence of a healthy heartbeat, the level of amniotic fluid, activity of baby (looking for "practice breathing" also), and fetal muscle tone.  I know I might not ought to say this, but I have trouble putting stock in the hand-held heart beat monitor as it's too easy to pick up mom's heartbeat echoing and think you're hearing the baby.  Those weekly bpp scans were reassuring at the end of my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies....

Some of the theoretical problems with ultrasound have to do with the vibrations possibly affecting the baby, from hearing to other areas of development.  And, the 4D scans, to be more accurate in their detail, bounce more waves to create the images.  In their fragile state, can we really be sure those vibrations aren't doing some damage?  People used to think it was safe to use x-ray to determine baby's position and gender....  We need to remember that ultrasounds are still medical procedures and, like any other medical procedure, weigh the benefits and possible risks.  (On the positive, my children of frequent scans are 2 years old and 1 month old and I haven't seen any problems yet.)

From where I sit,

Clara

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Happy momma to one dear son and two wonderful daughters, an angel and a miracle toddler.

EllieB83
by on Aug. 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I had six ultrasounds with my last baby.  Honestly, I don't think there are too many risks associated with them.  Ultrasounds use sound waves, not radiation, to produce images.  All of the ultrasounds are for good reason though.  We had a lot of complications with our last kiddo and the ultrasounds did nothing but help us, as well as our midwife, to keep a close eye on his development as well as my health.  I am not sure there is anything as "too many ultrasounds."  I don't think you have anything to worry about! :-)  I understand worrying about so much during your first pregnancy, it's all new and there is always that fear of the unknown.  Just remember to take a lot of the information you receive with a grain of salt!  What happens with one person doesn't mean it will happen to you.  Good luck with your pregnancy! :-D

lornadoone3
by on Aug. 28, 2010 at 11:42 PM

First question, how many have I had?

first baby: 4 to 6, I don't remember.  Alot more than 'necessary' or recommended by ACOG, and one of them was the 30min "3D/4D"  - Ouch.

second baby: none

third baby: none.

Second question, I don't know.  It's why I opt not to get any at all.  Can't undo the past, but you can certainly choose not to have any more done.

doulala
by Gold Member on Aug. 28, 2010 at 11:47 PM

Hi!!

Welcome to the group~   congratulations on your pregnancy!!!    
:-D


I am a "pro safe and healthy pregnancy, birth, and motherhood advocate."     I think that we need to do what we can to make informed choices about what is best for us.     We weigh our risks and choose what is safest for us in our unique situation.

Because the safety of U/S is controversial, I would really encourage a mom to see why she might think she really needs one, how it will truly make a difference, and if there are safer alternatives to consider first.
(*Just like with any kind of intervention!)

Many practices don't offer routine ultrasounds so these moms only have them if there is an indication.   
I have never had any prenatal ultrasounds in my pregnancies because I didn't have any reason.    If you think there is a legitimate concern and U/S might help you/baby then you're weighing your risks.

:-)

Best wishes!!




The knowledge of how to give birth without outside intervention lies deep within each woman. Successful childbirth depends on an acceptance of the process. ~Suzanne Arms


Birth is not an emergency. It is simply an emergence.” - Jeannine Parvati Baker

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