I've gone through my last two pregnancies without ultrasounds, other than a (literally) 1 minute swipe to check for twins. And that ended rather badly: the tech wouldn't stop the "exam" after finding out there was just one baby, and ignored my requests, so I had to just get up walk out while she was still working on me! She was pretty pissed.
I'm not a fan of them, and even less a fan of doppler and EFM... which expose baby to MUCH more.
The first time I was pregnant we used doppler a few times to listen at my midwife's office, and it was very clear that my daughter not only heard the thing, but was afraid of it. She shook and scrambled and did her best to get away from it as fast as possible! It even raised her heartrate pretty significantly; it was clear she was distressed. As soon as we took it away, she was fine... After the third time it happened in appointments we changed our minds about using doppler, and were all over the fetoscope after that!
Our midwife was really wonderful and agreed that it was definitely best to avoid ultrasound. From that point on we've been pretty against the casual usage of it, particularly in situations where it is not truly needed.
The big level II ultrasounds aren't my thing either. We're pro-choice but would not personally choose abortion, and despite what the media leads you to believe they're not giving out in-uteruo surgeries that often -- so I really have no real reason to undergo that exam, or any of the other genetic screenings. We don't get the GBS swab either, because it's not the risk you're led to believe, and the chances of being falsely treated with abx are pretty high.
I'm not saying ultrasound/doppler doesn't have its place... I just think they're badly overused and should not be advertised as fun and games (3d baby, anyone?) without full informed consent. I think if more women knew the potential risks, they wouldn't be lining up by the hundreds for hour long 3D sessions for a few pictures they'll only look at a few times.
THIS ALL SAID... I'm totally freaking this time around due to lack of pregnancy symptoms. I'm usually the person saying to be patient, it doesn't make a difference (which is true), and I've never had this hard a time before! It's weird.
: I've talked myself down from going to a clinic and requesting an ultrasound, but I think I may ask my midwife for a quick heartbeat check with the doppler at my first appointment.