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Evidence that ultrasound is harmful? - Page 2

post #21 of 70
Here are some links to threads that have links to studies. Most of these are studies that talk more about how US isn't generally beneficial and/or discussions on changing the recommendation for routine ultrasound. I, personally, have never read anything compelling that said they are proven unsafe. There is a Bradley video that shows cells changing after US but, honestly, it's like a million years old and super suspicious, IMO. Especially because I can't find it *anywhere* other than at this one Bradley class and it looks to me like two different types of cells. I was wanting to proove it a scam.

MDC thread from back in March:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...043&highlight=

(This thread has links to a few good studies)


http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articl...oundwagner.asp

http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/P...%20Ultrasounds

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshel...96&part=A14038

http://www.jultrasoundmed.org/cgi/content/full/21/7/713

I have not thoroughly read the last three links.
post #22 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.
I have never come across this. Can you share a link?

ETA: I did see this:

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasound.asp

"It is ironic that women who have had previous miscarriages often have additional ultrasound examinations in order to "reassure" them that their baby is developing properly. Few are told of the risks of miscarriage or premature labour or birth..."
post #23 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post


Very interesting article!
post #24 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.
The studies that have shown that women who get an early ultrasound do tend to have more miscarriages than those who go without do NOT take into account the fact that the majority of early ultrasounds are done to check viability of pregnancy because something seems off about the pregnancy or because the mother has an already increased risk of miscarriage. I am fully in the belief that 100% of the time those women would have miscarried anyway.

Studies on ultrasound use are inconclusive at best because they are just going over womens medical records, not looking at cause, just effect.

As such, women who get a lot of ultrasounds will likely show up with more medical problems. Not because the ultrasounds cause them, but because they were high risk for those problems or they showed up in other ways before the ultrasounds were even started.

Same with low birthweight. Women who get more ultrasounds tend to have premature births or low birthweight babies.... but that doesnt take into consideration the fact that a lot of those ultrasounds were likely towards the end, when they realized something was wrong, were checking the cervix for incompetent cervix or checking babies weight and development to see if baby was ready to be born.

As for the connection to autism... I do not know. But I do know plenty of women with autistic children who did not get ultrasounds so I believe that if there IS a connection between something we are doing now and autism, its not ultrasounds.

As for the sound bothering the baby, I will agree with that. My daughter dislikes it.
post #25 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
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.
I don't think that people get them because of fetal outcomes. But detecting problems before birth can save a baby's life, in extreme cases. I have a family friend whose DD had a fairly serious heart defect that was caught on u/s, and all of the necessary equipment to keep the baby's heart beating and the pediatric heart surgery team was waiting when she gave birth, to save the baby's life. While obviously these sorts of defects are rare, they do happen and I personally thought that the benefits of detecting and being prepared for any major problems outweighed any risks (and I do feel that there are probably some risks... but as others have pointed out I'm not sure they're any higher than sitting with a laptop on your lap or a cell phone in your pocket. And probably a lot less than going through airport security systems).
post #26 of 70
Lach,

On the three Ultrasound discussions I've been on on MDC there have been mothers who believed a friend's baby's life was saved because they had an ultrasound. I certainly can not comment on those situations but will tell you that the research I have read indicates that ultrasound can diminish fetal outcome. Not necessarily because it caused the problem but perhaps because it led to interventions (c-section) that decreased the baby's chance of survival. The research I have read indicates that even in the absence of risk, ultrasound does not improve a child's chance of survival.

"Pregnant women often automatically assume that antenatal detection of serious problems in the baby means that lives will be saved or illness reduced. Knowing about the problem in advance did not benefit these babies; more of them died. They got delivered sooner, when they were smaller, a choice that could have long-term effects." http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasound.asp
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post
The studies that have shown that women who get an early ultrasound do tend to have more miscarriages than those who go without do NOT take into account the fact that the majority of early ultrasounds are done to check viability of pregnancy because something seems off about the pregnancy or because the mother has an already increased risk of miscarriage.
"A large randomised controlled trial from Helsinki (Saari-Kemppainen et al., 1990) randomly divided over 9,000 women into a group who were scanned at sixteen to twenty weeks compared with those who were not. It revealed twenty miscarriages after sixteen to twenty weeks in the screened group and none in the controls."

Maybe we can get a link to the actual study?

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasound.asp

This looks like it:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/la...941-3/abstract

I'll read it later. Reading studies is a great way for me to pass morning sickness...
post #28 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
Directly from it -

Quote:
Perinatal mortality was significantly lower in the screened than in the control group (4·6/1000 vs 9·0/1000); this 49·2% reduction was mainly due to improved early detection of major malformations which led to induced abortion.

That pretty much says exactly the opposite of what you thought it did.

Control group had higher losses... and that is because the screened group had early detection for major problems and chose to end those pregnancies accordingly.

So this would, in effect, show that NOT getting an ultrasound could raise your risk of having a later term loss... however, its not really the case as whether you get the ultrasound or not, you are going to have that loss... just either by choice or by nature.
post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post
That pretty much says exactly the opposite of what you thought it did.

I didn't think it said anything. Midwifery Today quoted the study in their article.

That link, however, is not the study...I didn't scan far down enough. I'll see if I can actually find the study. Certainly the abortion rate in the screened group is relevant and I would hope the study would break that down for us.

If I had to guess, I'd guess it was a large study and one of the "extra" findings is the stat that Midwifery Today was using. But, I don't know.
post #30 of 70
Not the Helsinki study but interesting:

http://www.contentnejmorg.zuom.info/...ull/329/12/821

They do mention the Helsinki Trail, "In the Helsinki Ultrasound Trial,4 in contrast to our results, the perinatal mortality rate was lower in the ultrasound-screening group (4.6 vs. 9.0 per 1000, P<0.05) because of the detection of anomalies and the subsequent termination of the affected pregnancies. "

It seems to me that the Helsinki trial would be good to see...maybe it does discuss the issue of miscarriage (as suggested by Midwifery Today) but it seems like it was a fairly large study on the effects of infant mortality/morbidity that came to some different conclusions than other studies. It appears to have determined that prenatal ultrasound reduces infant mortality/morbidity.

Where the miscarriage thing comes in, I don't know...it would be cool if articles would link their sources, ha?? Can anyone access the Helsinki Trail?

The RADIUS trial is the other big one I'm thinking about.
post #31 of 70
http://www.acog.org/publications/pat...tion/bp025.cfm

Interesting too:

"For medical purposes, the ACOG guidelines state, "the lowest possible ultrasonic setting should be used to get the necessary diagnostic information," because "ultrasound energy delivered to the fetus cannot be assumed to be completely innocuous."

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration "views the promotion, sale or lease of ultrasound equipment for making 'keepsake' fetal videos as an unapproved use of a medical device," ACOG noted.

A first ultrasound examination should be done at 16 to 20 weeks for most pregnancies, the guidelines state. A first-trimester exam can be done for pregnancies resulting from "assisted reproductive technologies" or when there are indications of possible problems, such as significant abdominal pain, bleeding or a previous ectopic pregnancy, ACOG said."

http://www.medicineonline.com/news/1...arm-Fetus.html
post #32 of 70
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the links! That is exactly what I was looking for.

My doc was ready to rush me in for another US, even though I just had one last week (also unnecessary--I'm only at 9 weeks!), and when I told him I didn't want to do any tests that might harm the baby, he replied that it is perfectly safe. To which I responded that there are differing opinions on the topic. His reply: "no, there aren't. Not in the scientific community." Did I mention that I fired him?
post #33 of 70
FFL, you should see what the guidelines for ultrasound use are in DE. I know that I was pretty shocked to see that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines were because they actually seem much more conservative than the way ultrasound is used by some OBs and MWs in the US (very frequently with no medical indication).

The World Health Organization's guidelines might be helpful in the absence of DE. Also, check out the RADIUS trial (the full study is available on-line).

It was in this article that I read about the WHO recommendation: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articl...oundwagner.asp
post #34 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post
Lach,

On the three Ultrasound discussions I've been on on MDC there have been mothers who believed a friend's baby's life was saved because they had an ultrasound. I certainly can not comment on those situations but will tell you that the research I have read indicates that ultrasound can diminish fetal outcome. Not necessarily because it caused the problem but perhaps because it led to interventions (c-section) that decreased the baby's chance of survival. The research I have read indicates that even in the absence of risk, ultrasound does not improve a child's chance of survival.

"Pregnant women often automatically assume that antenatal detection of serious problems in the baby means that lives will be saved or illness reduced. Knowing about the problem in advance did not benefit these babies; more of them died. They got delivered sooner, when they were smaller, a choice that could have long-term effects." http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasound.asp
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that it's not so much that I "believe" that there was a giant hole in this baby's heart, but that there actually WAS. The baby also had Down Syndrome, and heart defects are VERY common in people with DS. You're welcome to make light of my anecdotal evidence, or group me into some vague group of people who only "believed" that a life was at stake (wow, it would be harder for you to be more dismissive!) but it's a plain and simple fact that problems can be detected on ultrasounds and dealt with immediately.
post #35 of 70
Lach, I'm sorry if I was dismissive. I really didn't mean to be. I think the discussion about whether interventions ultimately improve outcomes is important. I did not mean to offend you or belittle the interventions that led to the survival of your friend and baby.
post #36 of 70
Let's remember that ultrasounds can also find "problems" that aren't really problems at all. I've heard many stories of women spending their pregnancies worried about something detected on an ultrasound that turned out to be nothing at all after birth. Also, al the times that women are bullied by ultrasounds showing that a baby is "too big" to birth vaginally, or "too small" and needs to be induced due to growth restriction. Baby also turns out to be just fine.

women deserve and own the right to make the medical decisions that are right for them. Saying that women should have ultrasounds "just in case" is a slippery slope. If you want one then have one. If you don't then don't.
post #37 of 70
The difference is that the anomoly/anatomy scan is done at 18-22 weeks while the size/induction ultrasounds usually take place after 30 weeks. Its not an all or nothing deal. Giving consent for one ultrasound doesn't mean that a woman is going to get any and every ultrasound suggested.
post #38 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitten View Post
Let's remember that ultrasounds can also find "problems" that aren't really problems at all. I've heard many stories of women spending their pregnancies worried about something detected on an ultrasound that turned out to be nothing at all after birth. Also, al the times that women are bullied by ultrasounds showing that a baby is "too big" to birth vaginally, or "too small" and needs to be induced due to growth restriction. Baby also turns out to be just fine.

women deserve and own the right to make the medical decisions that are right for them. Saying that women should have ultrasounds "just in case" is a slippery slope. If you want one then have one. If you don't then don't.


I have several friends who were told their babies had a high likelihood of down's syndrome, then had the fun of worrying about a lifetime caring for a special needs child until further tests were run. NOT ONE of those babies had Down's or was born with any complications whatsoever. There certainly is value in being able to detect a true issue with a heart defect that would need immediate attention, but that has to be weighed against the stress of being told your baby has a genetic disorder that makes it unlikely they'll ever be able to live independently and have that be completely untrue.

Personally I believe there is value to ultrasound and certainly appropriate uses, but I'm beginning to believe there are also risks and it shouldn't be used when NOT necessary (necessity to be determined by mother and care provider on an individual basis).

I'm probably willing to accept a little bit of that risk for a quick check to make sure there's no glaringly obvious reason not to homebirth, but I'm not sure I'm willing to accept that risk for a routine hour long anatomy scan especially when the results of those scans are wrong so often. Markers for Down's are based on probability, and I have four friends whose markers showed a more than 50% likelihood of Down's Syndrome. Since 0% of those babies actually had it, I don't have a lot of confidence in the accuracy of those statistics anyway. If other people feel differently and want to have more scans I don't have a problem with that, but I do have a problem with care providers brushing off the possibility that there are any risks because there ARE studies out there that indicate US can affect the baby and mothers deserve to make INFORMED decisions, whatever that decision may be.
post #39 of 70
Sorry if these have already been posted:

https://www.asrt.org/content/News/In...ows062408.aspx

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...inations-.html

I also saw a site once that cited a list of studies showing u/s may not be completely harmless (sadly I can't seem to find it again, though I think I may have posted it on this site at one point). The study that stood out to me was done on monkeys (and sorry I may not have the details exact on this) and pregnant monkeys who had 5 u/s during gestation had offspring with neurological problems.

I prefer to err on the side of caution and assume that there may be some risk to ultrasound. Given that the risks seem to be small (or else they'd likely be more obvious than they are, given the number of ultrasounds done on pregnant women nowadays), I figure there are times when the benefits outweigh the risks. I personally like the idea of one ultrasound to check on everything to make sure there are no major issues (especially in non-hospital births, like I hope to have), and I think there are other instances where it is medically warranted. But I also I think that the attitude that so many doctors/mothers/etc have that ultrasounds are completely harmless is a bit... naive ? Reckless? I'm also disturbed by the dismissive/arrogant attitude of some health care providers when concerns are expressed about the safety of ultrasounds.
post #40 of 70
I would think that the idea of an ultrasound doubling one's chances of a miscarriage maybe be correlation and NOT causation.

I assume that women who are getting early ultrasounds are at risk for miscarriage for one reason or another anyway, otherwise they wouldn't necessarily be having the ultrasound in the first place, which yes, makes it more likely that they will have a miscarriage after the ultrasound, but that doesn't mean the ultrasound caused it.

And honestly, the quoting of doubling one's chances? If the miscarriage risk in your average woman is 20-25%, that this assumes that by having an ultrasound, you're doubling your risk to 40-50%? I highly doubt there is any research to support that.
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