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Evidence that ultrasound is harmful? - Page 3

post #41 of 70
I definitely believe there is a risk with US because you are exposing your baby to something his/her tiny body is not necessarily equipped to deal with. I also definitely agree that it is uncomfortable for the baby, because I remember with my son, the tech said he was kicking and dodging, etc. And at the second ultrasound (about 18 weeks), I started feeling his very first movements after the ultrasound was done. I got the feeling it disturbed him, put him into higher activity than he had previously been in. With my son, I had one at 14 weeks (the doctor couldn't hear his heartbeat at 12 weeks), and one around 18 weeks, and a third one when I was 2 weeks overdue that I was forced to go to (which they seemed to be inflicting as a "punishment" for going 42 weeks and not wanting to be induced... the tech was rough and made me lay flat on my back for over an hour!).
This pregnancy, I am with midwives instead of an OB and loving it! I can't believe all the choices I have been given. It's not "We're booking you for this" but instead "Do you want this procedure?" I chose not to have the 12 week ultrasound, because I want to decrease possible risk, and since I chose to have an 18-week ultrasound, there is pretty much nothing they can't find out at that one that they may need to know. And hopefully I will not have any more after that. I agree with those who say to decrease the risk where possible, but one ultrasound may be able to catch something that can be taken care of sooner in order to give the child more chance of survival (or for example to give parents extra time to prepare and learn how to care for a child with Down's Syndrome or other similar things). But I also think women who choose not to have any are definitely to be applauded!
post #42 of 70
I have a mixed opinion on all this. Ultrasound was used on my foot to dissolve calcified bone that had healed improperly due to a break never being set. If it can do that then I have no doubt it can cause problems... When I had that procedure done my flesh would eventually feel a burning sensation when the device was still too long. Fast forward to my first pregnancy... I rented a doppler online and when it came we tried it out. I had not thought about the previous bone thing and didn't put 2 and 2 together at the time. But, when we tried it my DH was using it on my belly and it started to feel hot and I felt that same burning sensation I had felt in my foot. I called my midwife and she said she'd never heard anything like that. I decided not to use it except in case of "emergency". At the end of my pregnancy I had a fall and stopped feeling the baby move. I called my midwife and was not reassured, so we got the doppler out again and I heard a very significantly slowed heart rate. We went in for an U/S and long story short ended up with an emergency c/s. Baby and I both nearly died as he had ripped through my abdominal wall. (Very long story made very short). So I can certainly see a use to even a home doppler and an u/s - I do agree that there seem to be inherent dangers that aren't being fully explored. Being a VBAC hopeful, with previous trauma to the area, and having already lost one baby I see a value in having minimal u/s for this pregnancy and I have a home doppler to use if I feel a need.
post #43 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomToEmerson View Post
I have a mixed opinion on all this. Ultrasound was used on my foot to dissolve calcified bone that had healed improperly due to a break never being set. If it can do that then I have no doubt it can cause problems... When I had that procedure done my flesh would eventually feel a burning sensation when the device was still too long.
I think it has a lot to do with frequency and intensity. Regular noise is normally pretty harmless but if its much too loud it is deadly. If you follow the electromagnetic frequencies all the way up radio waves and light waves eventually turn into x-rays, and gamma rays.
post #44 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomToEmerson View Post
I have a mixed opinion on all this. Ultrasound was used on my foot to dissolve calcified bone that had healed improperly due to a break never being set. If it can do that then I have no doubt it can cause problems...
The frequency of sound waves used in that type of ultrasound is much higher than what is used in diagnostics. When ultrasound was first "discovered" and put to use, it was for military purposes. Sound waves were used to detect submarines during WWI. Those sound waves also killed the small fish that swam through them. They were high-intensity waves. High-intensity waves cause just as much damage to living tissue as X-rays and atomic radiation. Low-intensity waves are used for medical purposes, and there is still a wide range of "low-intensity."

Quote:
Originally Posted by orange_mommy
I also definitely agree that it is uncomfortable for the baby, because I remember with my son, the tech said he was kicking and dodging, etc.
As someone who has viewed hundreds of fetuses with ultrasound, I would have to say that a moving baby is not proof of discomfort. Some babies move around during an ultrasound study, and some do not. Your baby might have been kicking and bouncing around at that time of day even if you'd been sitting at home watching television.

The diagnostic sonography community acknowledges that ultrasound has not been proven safe for use in pregnancy, and that its use should be limited. That doesn't stop doctors and patients from demanding scans for every little thing. Part of the problem is our greedy and litigous society. Doctors want pictures to cover their butts in case something IS wrong after Junior is born. Otherwise, Mom & Dad will drag everyone to court to sue for malpractice. Pregnant patients come to the E.R., faking abdominal pain, bringing their entire families along to take a peek at the ultrasound they're practically guaranteed to have.

I'm not convinced about the autism link, but who knows? Something has to be causing the increase in cases. Yes, it was proven that fetuses can hear the ultrasound waves, but the transducer has to be aimed right at their ears.
post #45 of 70
Quote:
As someone who has viewed hundreds of fetuses with ultrasound, I would have to say that a moving baby is not proof of discomfort. Some babies move around during an ultrasound study, and some do not. Your baby might have been kicking and bouncing around at that time of day even if you'd been sitting at home watching television
But if it's a kind of movement mom NEVER feels except when the doppler/wand is on them....? My DD felt completely different when my MW used the doppler. Much faster, jerkier movements. It was the only time she did it, and the only time she DIDN'T react like that to it was when i was in labour, and it was 7mins before she was born. I once asked a doctor how hard it was to avoid stabbing the baby during an amnio and he said "it's not too hard, most of them sense the needle and wriggle away anyway, much as they do from the doppler wand". It was a totally absent minded comment, but obviously something he'd noticed.
post #46 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
But if it's a kind of movement mom NEVER feels except when the doppler/wand is on them....? My DD felt completely different when my MW used the doppler. Much faster, jerkier movements. It was the only time she did it, and the only time she DIDN'T react like that to it was when i was in labour, and it was 7mins before she was born. I once watched a doctor how hard it was to avoid stabbing the baby during an amnio and he said "it's not too hard, most of them sense the needle and wriggle away anyway, much as they do from the doppler wand". It was a totally absent minded comment, but obviously something he'd noticed.
How often do you lie on your back while pregnant? Just wondering, because my kiddos all feel like that whenever I lie on my back, and that level II ultrasound is probably the longest period I ever do it because it is uncomfortable for me for them to move like that.
post #47 of 70
my kids go crazy when I get nervous.

that would include the nerves of being on the table watching the ultrasound screen and hoping nothing bad pops up.
post #48 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
How often do you lie on your back while pregnant? Just wondering, because my kiddos all feel like that whenever I lie on my back, and that level II ultrasound is probably the longest period I ever do it because it is uncomfortable for me for them to move like that.
I SLEEP on my back until well into the third tri... And i accept the nervousness theory when having a u/s, but not when my MW was listening - i had 1-to-1 care from a MW i knew really well and loved, and we were very close and relaxed. I simply wasn't nervous. And all the times we listened i could already feel DD kicking, so it wasn't like i was holding my breath to see if she was still alive in there or anything. The midwife herself said she felt my baby didn't like the doppler and she always had a merry dance trying to catch the 10-15 seconds of heartbeats she was looking for. I can remember during one exam at around 24 weeks watching my belly as my DD flipped to transverse, then breech, then transverse, then back to cephalic as my MW tried to get a short listen of her HB. She was a fairly active baby, but she never did that apart from when the doppler was on my belly.

I think it's false to say that movement is normal when having a u/s - there is no way of measuring how a baby moves WITHOUT an ultrasound, so how can we possibly know if it's "normal" patterns of movement? For me i am positive DD2 didn't like and actively tried to move away from the doppler. DD1 however, not so much, she was usually pretty normal in terms of movement during doppler and laid fairly still for her one brief ultrasound too.
post #49 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. 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.
fantastic points.

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
Well, okay, but here's some more anecdata for you. It wasn't my friend's baby, and it's not that I "believe" my baby had a much higher chance of survival and a positive outcome. My baby really did need to be delivered via c/s due to something found on ultrasound.
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.
My baby doesn't have a "problem", my baby has a Problem, no scare quotes. And knowing ahead of time may have saved her life, both because it changed the location and method of birth, and also because we were able to prepare and decide a course of treatment that has a much better survival rate. It also saved my sanity, as I can't imagine having only found out about her omphalocele after birth, and having to process that and make all the decisions and change our whole perspective in such a short amount of time.
post #50 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by CorasMama View Post
My baby doesn't have a "problem", my baby has a Problem, no scare quotes. And knowing ahead of time may have saved her life, both because it changed the location and method of birth, and also because we were able to prepare and decide a course of treatment that has a much better survival rate. It also saved my sanity, as I can't imagine having only found out about her omphalocele after birth, and having to process that and make all the decisions and change our whole perspective in such a short amount of time.
But didn't you want to have the ultrasound? The idea that EVERYone, even those who don't want to have one, should have one is very extreme. My brother had anencephaly and died at his premature birth. My mother declined the scan and said afterwards she was grateful for the time she'd had being unworried and joyful. As a direct result of his condition and her unwillingness to have an ultrasound when pregnant with me she was brow-beaten to terminate me at every antenatal appointment she had until it was no longer a legal option. I am perfectly healthy. Sometimes women have valid reasons for not wanting procedures, and that needs to be honoured, u/s is only a diagnostic tool, not a treatment. I think it is fine that you had a u/s, and wonderful that you feel it had a positive impact on the outcomes for your DD, but is that really a reason for those who don't want an ultrasound to have one?
post #51 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
But didn't you want to have the ultrasound? The idea that EVERYone, even those who don't want to have one, should have one is very extreme. My brother had anencephaly and died at his premature birth. My mother declined the scan and said afterwards she was grateful for the time she'd had being unworried and joyful. As a direct result of his condition and her unwillingness to have an ultrasound when pregnant with me she was brow-beaten to terminate me at every antenatal appointment she had until it was no longer a legal option. I am perfectly healthy. Sometimes women have valid reasons for not wanting procedures, and that needs to be honoured, u/s is only a diagnostic tool, not a treatment. I think it is fine that you had a u/s, and wonderful that you feel it had a positive impact on the outcomes for your DD, but is that really a reason for those who don't want an ultrasound to have one?
When did this discussion become about tying women down and forcing ultrasounds upon them?
post #52 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
When did this discussion become about tying women down and forcing ultrasounds upon them?
Kitten said

Quote:
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
and corasmama said

Quote:
My baby doesn't have a "problem", my baby has a Problem, no scare quotes. And knowing ahead of time may have saved her life, both because it changed the location and method of birth, and also because we were able to prepare and decide a course of treatment that has a much better survival rate. It also saved my sanity, as I can't imagine having only found out about her omphalocele after birth, and having to process that and make all the decisions and change our whole perspective in such a short amount of time.
in response, which seems, to me (i could obviously be wrong) to say that women SHOULD have ultrasounds because they had such an important impact on her pregnancy and the health of her baby.
post #53 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
Kitten said



and corasmama said



in response, which seems, to me (i could obviously be wrong) to say that women SHOULD have ultrasounds because they had such an important impact on her pregnancy and the health of her baby.
Honestly, I don't see how it could be read that way at all.
post #54 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
Honestly, I don't see how it could be read that way at all.
I don't either. I see two arguments over the course of this thread.

1. Does ultrasound do any harm?
2. Does ultrasound have any benefit?

Following along it would seem the answer to both is yes. Both the risk and benefit may be small (or unlikely) but they still exist. As long as someone is informed of both of those possible outcomes then no one should be going around telling other people what to do.
post #55 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by WifeofAnt View Post
I don't either. I see two arguments over the course of this thread.

1. Does ultrasound do any harm?
2. Does ultrasound have any benefit?

Following along it would seem the answer to both is yes. Both the risk and benefit may be small (or unlikely) but they still exist. As long as someone is informed of both of those possible outcomes then no one should be going around telling other people what to do.
post #56 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by WifeofAnt View Post
I don't either.
I think the discussion became about feeling forced into an ultrasound when the OP brought it up!

From the OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by foreignerforlife View Post
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?
I could be wrong but I was reading that as if she were feeling a bit pressured into having a SECOND un-indicated ultrasound in less than 10 weeks! Many women don't even see their care provider until 12 weeks so I would consider this use of ultrasound to be unnecessary and likely even outside of the recommendations of at least the American medical model (OP is in DE, right?).


++++

I, myself, have a few personal ultrasound stories that influence my feelings on the matter. The most significant one is that I have a CHD, which I imagine would have showed up on an ultrasound inutero. I also have 4 kidneys and a kidney defect. All of these things were found when I was a kid and none of them require any medical attention. That came to mind when reading a study on CHD - the number that clear up within weeks after birth or never need any attention are quite large. Because of those things, the potential for a very unnecessarily stressful pregnancy or termination seems very real to me.

The other story is of a friend of a friend and it parallels a story of another mother that I was very close with at the time. The friend of a friend's baby was diagnosed with severe problems inutero. (this was in DE, actually, FFL) The parents were given the option to terminate and declined. They decided to go ahead and give birth at home and the baby died shortly after being held by the parents and siblings. They made the incredibly complicated and heroic (imo) choice of having their baby at home knowing it would die over a hospital birth that could have prolonged a poor quality of life for a very short time. This story is possibly the most heartbreakingly powerful story I've heard because it clashes with so many of my ideas about interventions. It is also a choice I don't think could make but one that I admire.

At the same time that I heard this story, I had a friend who was in the middle of sueing a German hospital for not diagnosing severe birth defects in her son. She had a traditional pregnancy with all the testing and nothing had been detected. Her child was born in the hospital and underwent life-saving operations several times/year until he died at age 13. She went though the complicated process of loving her son at the same time feeling great regret that she did not know about his defects that would have likely led her to terminate and really resenting and feeling guilty over the whole situation.

I'm not trying to draw any conclusions with these examples other than to say that ultrasound and testing is COMPLICATED.

I think that when we talk about the risk of foregoing testing and possibly missing an opportunity to get our kids much needed medical care -- we get sensitive. When I hear that someone knows a child who would have died if they did not have ultrasound...I start to feel scared and I'll admit that the act of sharing that makes me feel like that person thinks that is the right choice (because they do...and rightfully so!). The opposite is true as well, I think. When you feel as though ultrasound is/was the right choice, it's hard to read that perhaps it wasn't for others or that it may be dangerous...cause autism - scary thought no matter how far fetched, right?

When you're coming to this discussion from one point of view, the "other" person's links, studies, stories and etc. may feel like they're "telling you what to do" but I really don't feel like anyone (on either side) is doing that. I think many of us are just trying to work out the complicated choices "out loud". This is what I'm doing so I can at least speak for that. I still haven't made up my mind about the 20 week scan.

Does that make sense by way of a peace offering?

++++

Re the 20 weeks can. Is there really anything significant they can find out with just that scan? Or is it like, if they find something, you need more and more testing? If you're not going to terminate and would likely not consent to lots more scans and tests, is there any point to a 20 week scan for that family?
post #57 of 70
I wanted to ask how many of us have read the RADIUS study and if anyone has been able to find the Helsinki study?

Foreginerforlife: you may want to read the RADIUS study for yourself...though it's kind of dense and if you've already fired your doctor, maybe there's no point!! But Germany is mentioned in the study, fyi.
post #58 of 70
FWIW, there are conditions for which my husband and I would terminate for. Not to mention that some diagnoses would probably affect birth plans and the hospital we birthed at. I also like to be prepared, if my child is going to need specialized care, I want to be educated, I don't want to be making decisions in the midst of a life-changing event.

So for me, the u/s, at 20 weeks is more than worth it. Is there a chance that we would be under unnecessary stress? Absolutely, but it's a chance we'd be willing to take.

Someone I know had a very normal, seemingly low-risk pregnancy. She was young, active, and healthy. And her 20 week ultrasound showed catastrophic hydranencephaly, with a fully functional brain stem, but both hemispheres of the baby's brain were completely missing, replaced by fluid. She was told it was too late to terminate (lied to by the doctor), and signed a DNR prior to the baby's birth although she was told it was unlikely the baby would survive anyway. At birth, the baby was born alive, but immediately had problems with heart rate, respiration, and controlling body temp, but with the aid of a NG tube, was holding her own, and the mom withdrew the DNR. She died after 18 months, but I know the mom doesn't regret the decisions she made.
post #59 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I think it's false to say that movement is normal when having a u/s - there is no way of measuring how a baby moves WITHOUT an ultrasound, so how can we possibly know if it's "normal" patterns of movement?
Well, like I said...some babies move like crazy and some just sit there and barely move at all. I'm assuming that the majority of the babies scanned are normal. So there seems to be a wide range of reactions (or lack thereof) to an ultrasound session.

And if there is no way to discern how a baby moves without an ultrasound, then anecdotal stories from the mother can't really be taken as evidence, either. At best, they're highly subjective.

I really feel that with all the information available today, that people should be educating themselves on their own medical care as much as possible. I'm not saying that the medical community has no responsibility to inform patients; just that the medical community is notorious for giving half-assed information and people need to be aware of that and advocate for themselves. I see nothing wrong with declining ultrasound tests. I just hope that those who decline, if faced with problems after the birth, don't play the game of blaming their doctors.
post #60 of 70
Another interesting article:

Routine Ultrasound Screening for CHD:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...00505-0076.pdf
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