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Evidence that ultrasound is harmful?

post #1 of 70
Thread Starter 
I've run into several threads on here where people say they won't do ultrasounds. But I've googled this topic and not found any evidence that ultrasound is harmful (in fact, the studies I've found have shown no effects). Can those of you who know more about this please fill me in? What evidence is there that ultrasound is harmful to my baby?
post #2 of 70
the question is what evidence is there that ultrasound is SAFE for your baby? there have been no good, long-term studies to see what effects ultrasound has and so if you have one you are effectively doing so "blind". some would say that they have been using u/s for some decades and are yet to see any negative effects, others would say that they aren't looking for negative effects and any number of "modern" problems could be due to u/s.

i am personally a bit cautious, but not totally so. i have one short u/s around the 2nd tri to check placenta location and for any glaring anomalies (like anencephaly - i don't let them check the heart and i don't let them scan early enough to make measuring the nuchal fold viable).

everyone has to weigh benefits and risks and decide for themself.
post #3 of 70
Ultrasound waves cause an increase in temperature, which can affect the baby's development. They also may cause cavitation (bubbles) within the tissues, though this is not definite. One study (Salveson K, Vatten L, Eik-Nes S, Hugdahl K, Bakketeig L. Routine ultrasonography in utero and subsequent handedness and neurological development. Br Med J 1993;307:159–64.) showed an increase in left-handedness, which is suggestive of neurological changes.

That said, I too get an ultraound once in the second trimester for the same reasons as the PP. I think the benefits outweigh the risks when used sparingly.

ETA: Also found this article from Midwifery Today outlining some of the main concerns.
post #4 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
the question is what evidence is there that ultrasound is SAFE for your baby? there have been no good, long-term studies to see what effects ultrasound has and so if you have one you are effectively doing so "blind". some would say that they have been using u/s for some decades and are yet to see any negative effects, others would say that they aren't looking for negative effects and any number of "modern" problems could be due to u/s.

i am personally a bit cautious, but not totally so. i have one short u/s around the 2nd tri to check placenta location and for any glaring anomalies (like anencephaly - i don't let them check the heart and i don't let them scan early enough to make measuring the nuchal fold viable).

everyone has to weigh benefits and risks and decide for themself.
I am interested to know why you don't want the heart checked. We didn't have a single ultrasound w/ my son, but i was thinking of seeing if we could just do a VERY quick one to check the heart. That was all I was interested in - seems placental location can correct as the pregnancy goes on. But is there a reason NOT to check the heart?
post #5 of 70
I will not be getting any ultrasounds for any subsequent pregnancies unless something comes up that I feel needs attention. You hear a lot about babies kicking and moving a lot more when an ultrasound is going on which is one indication that it is loud/uncomfortable for them. I think there is a study going on right now where ultrasounds are used for male birth control, ie ultrasounds kill off sperm for an extended period of time. And just because something is the norm doesn't mean it is safe. Women were having there pelvis v-rayed and that was the healthy, safe, suggested thing you do. If you didn't you were being reckless and look what happened with that. Then there is the fact that repeated ultrasounds do not improve benefits for mother or baby and yet many doctors suggest getting one monthly or more. So I don't know the stat but I think there is a slight mortality improvement for mom and or baby with one ultrasound but nothing backs up getting more than that. I don't know ... I think no one really knows at least consciously whether you will be that one in I don't know 10,000 that will benefit from one or part of the vast majority where you and your baby will be perfectly fine and an ultrasounds only adds risks. I won't even be getting one because I believe in listening to my inner guidance and I worry they are not safe. Good luck!
post #6 of 70
I agree that there are some risks but there are risks in everything. Unless you're Amish and live in a clean-air bubble on another planet you're going to be exposed to things that aren't perfectly safe no matter how hard you try. There's a huge difference though in getting one or two ultrasounds versus getting one at every appointment 'just because'. Chances are the extra ultrasounds aren't going to add any benefit.
I personally have had 3 ultrasounds. The first was for dating since my doctor wanted to confirm my charting (my LMP EDD would have been over a week off). The second was the anatomy ultrasound. It took a little longer than I liked but that's when we found out about my low lying placenta. He was going to do a repeat at 24 weeks but we delayed it to 28 weeks. That was a quick 2-3 minute transabdominal that showed the placenta is now clear of my cervix.
post #7 of 70
For me it's less a matter of the studies that have been done so far than the feeling that it's not right for my baby. We're going to quit with the Doppler too (except during labor) because of the way the baby reacts to it, like he/she is trying to get away. It's a distinct feeling, different from any other movement I've felt this very active baby make! So I'm going to go ahead and listen to what my baby is saying to me rather than what standard medical practice is...
post #8 of 70
post #9 of 70
What are the risks of electromagnetic fields on a fetus coming from a computer or any other electronic device?

I'm not sure those have been proven "safe" either.

I somehow always pictures pregnant women saying they don't get ultrasounds due to being risky sitting in bed with a laptop on their belly.
post #10 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by finnegansmom View Post
I somehow always pictures pregnant women saying they don't get ultrasounds due to being risky sitting in bed with a laptop on their belly.
Same here. Or to be the type to walk around with their cell phone in their pocket or purse next to their tummy... also not proven safe.
post #11 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post
Same here. Or to be the type to walk around with their cell phone in their pocket or purse next to their tummy... also not proven safe.
And even if you don't personally have a computer it doesn't mean your neighbors don't have them. Having a home-based wireless network is really common and most of us will pass through a couple hundred different networks just going around town doing our errands.

Then there's bluetooth...
post #12 of 70
I guess it has the potential of being harmful in indirect ways too.

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articl...oundwagner.asp
post #13 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post
I am interested to know why you don't want the heart checked. We didn't have a single ultrasound w/ my son, but i was thinking of seeing if we could just do a VERY quick one to check the heart. That was all I was interested in - seems placental location can correct as the pregnancy goes on. But is there a reason NOT to check the heart?
Well, i'm in the UK, and have my u/s with the NHS (i'm not even aware of private clinics which aren't just "for fun" places though i'm sure they exist if you have Bupa cover). You can't ask them to look at x real quick. You get different types of scan - dating scan (which you're supposed to get around 8 weeks and only offered if you have a reason to be unsure on dates), nuchal scan (12-14weeks, offered to everyone who opted for the triple test), anomaly scan (19-21 weeks, long, looks at every part of the baby - brain, heart, organs, limbs, etc.), growth/fluid scan (offered if you're overdue or they have reason to suspect baby isn't doing as well as s/he could). So if i want the heart examined i'd have to have the whole long anomaly scan - the scan which only identifies 25% of heart defects (as it says in the literature they give you at the hospital).

So basically, for me, it doesn't offer sufficient peace of mind for me to subject the baby to such a long scan for it. With DD1 i had one scan at 11+6 (was supposed to be 10days later but i was flying abroad, wanted to know there was a heartbeat, and was declining all testing anyway so inaccurate nuchal measurements didn't matter). with DD2 my gp requested a dating scan because i had a miscarriage right before i conceived, but due to the appointment procedures at the hospital i didn't get the scan until 15+1. too late to date, late enough to see anything glaring that might be wrong, late enough that i wasn't going to come back 4 weeks later and have a big long scan (especially as my baby seemed to hate both doppler and u/s wand and made listening/looking very hard by wriggling away the whole time) just to find out my baby MIGHT be perfectly healthy/ok.
post #14 of 70
Sarah J Buckley has written a good, referenced article on ultrasound which you can find here http://www.sarahbuckley.com/articles/
post #15 of 70
That was the one I was trying to think of! Great article.
post #16 of 70
What I just kept reading is that ultrasound do not improve and may even diminish fetal outcomes so they just seem like "no point". Also, just by casually observing mamas in my DDC they seem to cause a lot of stress.
post #17 of 70
Yeah, I feel like I have read a few studies that said ultrasounds in the first trimester double your chance of a mc. And to those talking about other risks such as cell phone and internet, just because you have those things doesn't mean cutting out something risky is pointless.
post #18 of 70
I love the way you said this! I totally agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tithonia View Post
For me it's less a matter of the studies that have been done so far than the feeling that it's not right for my baby. We're going to quit with the Doppler too (except during labor) because of the way the baby reacts to it, like he/she is trying to get away. It's a distinct feeling, different from any other movement I've felt this very active baby make! So I'm going to go ahead and listen to what my baby is saying to me rather than what standard medical practice is...
post #19 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by OrangeMoon View Post
Yeah, I feel like I have read a few studies that said ultrasounds in the first trimester double your chance of a mc. And to those talking about other risks such as cell phone and internet, just because you have those things doesn't mean cutting out something risky is pointless.
Huh. Since my risk with this pregnancy is 43% towards miscarrying, does that mean that my risk is now 86%? That sounds awful high. Do you have links to the studies? I would like to read up on that.
post #20 of 70
I like to avoid as much intervention as possible... we opted against the doppler, I do not see the medical benefit of it nor do I like the discomfort (cold jelly, pushing on my belly). Good old fetoscope it is for me.
We opted against all but one ultrasound, as quick as possible, an organ scan and dh wil learn the gender then. Unless a specific medical isue arises, that will be it.
As for other sources - wireless networks and cell phone networks are not avoidable, nobody knows their effects just yet. But I personally never carry a cell close to mny abdomen nor put notebooks on my lap. Precaution. That stuff is very different from ultrasound, and it will be years before anyone will even consider studies to look at their safety. Anyways, I avoid as much as I can...
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