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Considering quick u/s just to look at heart

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

We didn't do u/s w/ my son, and we haven't done any this PG either (29 weeks).  But I am considering a quick u/s to look at the heart.  DH mentioned it when he heard a story on NPR about fixing heart issues found on u/s but has since decided we don't need it.  I am of the camp that it could cause neurological harm/not enough studies on it.  However, we do dopplers at every visit (and my dr seems to leave that thing on there for a good while).  Plus we'll do electronic fetal monitoring during labor.  So it isn't like we aren't do any soundwaves.  Dr is okay w/ me not getting it (thinks I'm a little batty but isn't pushing).  He's also okay w/ a quick scan just to look at the heart (my suggestion).  Is 5 min of a pulsed scan really that much more potentially harmful than all the continuous output of the doppler?

post #2 of 32

Personally I am very much in the middle of the road as far as ultrasounds are concerned,  With my last pregnancy I didn't do any ultrasounds, dopplers or fetal monitoring but this time I have chosen to do doppler before I could find the heartbeat with the fetascope and I plan to have a 20 week u/s. Between this pregnancy and last I have met three people who had babies diagnosed in utero with disorders that were easily treatable because they knew about them in advance including omphalocele and hydrocephalus.  So, while these are very rare I decided it was in my comfort zone to get the ultrasound (scheduled for Jan 6 currently).

 

I think that since you feel you should check the heart then you should go ahead and do it if only for your reassurance. Also, I have heard (on MDC- not from any scientific study) that the amount of waves created through doppler are much more concentrated and therefore 'dangerous' (thought I personally don't beleive they are dangerous) than ultrasound.

 

Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

post #3 of 32

HRJ,

Are you wanting to get a super thorough check with colorflow doppler?

 

The handheld doppler they listen to your baby's heartbeat with is not, like anne frye likes to say (and other regurgitate) , 30X more powerful then ultrasounds (ridiculous nono02.gif )..

 

However, Colorflow doppler is much more powerful then normal ultrasound.  I still wouldnt rule it out if my gut was nagging me about something, but most of the time they can just peek with the regular obstetric US probe and dont need to turn color flow on unless they see something.. then, thank god for colorflow is my opinion.

post #4 of 32

I think if it will elevate a fear, then do it. I am also middle of the road, I don't mind them because of my age, and I felt more comfortable with it, but I do want a limit on it. I have had 3, the 3rd one I thought was my last one, but then the midwife was pushing for 3 more, every other week until the end of my pregnancy. I think that is crazy too much. I do know someone that found issues on an ultrasound that was able to prepare and fix right away, and had a plan when the baby was born.

post #5 of 32

http://www.naturalchildbirth.org/nat...ventions27.htm

[Vol 2 Issue 9 March 3, 2000]:

Do most midwives regularly make use of the Doptone? Also, shouldn't each
woman be made fully aware that the Doptone is ultrasonic? Even though the
exposure periods are usually brief, I heard that 1 min. of Doptone is much
stronger--equal to 30 min of the other full-image type ultrasound. Is this
true?
Anon.
====

[Vol 2 Issue 10 March 10, 2000]:

I work for Nicolet Vascular (formerly Imex Medical). Following are excerpts
from a letter written to another person with the same concerns.
-Diane Rugh

In addition, I would like to point out that the FDA limit for power
intensity emitted by a continuous wave ultrasound for fetal use is 0.094
watts per square centimeter. The FDA power intensity limit for pulsed wave
ultrasound for fetal use is 190 watts per square centimeter. The power
emitted by a Doppler can be 2,000 times less than an imager! Imex 3 MHz
probes emit 0.009 watts per square centimeter, a factor of ten times less
than the FDA limit.


Reprinted from Midwifery Today E-News (Vol 2 Issue 10 March 10, 2000)
To subscribe to the E-News write: enews@midwiferytoday.com
For all other matters contact Midwifery Today:
PO Box 2672-940, Eugene OR 97402
541-344-7438, midwifery@aol.com, Midwifery Today

post #6 of 32

I asked myself this exact same question...there is a thread somewhere in the April DDC I started if you want to look this up. A lot of moms felt the same way, a lot of moms were indefferent, and a lot of moms had very strongly opposing opinions. 

 

In short, I asked myself the question in th first place because my cousin had a baby this summer born with a heart defect - they found it on U/S early on and he had surgery very shortly after birth to begin repairing the defect. 

 

In that situation, I also found out that the number of babies was significantly higher than anything I had previously imagined - numbers that when I thought about it, were reflected in the people I actually know. I asked myself "If I was in my cousins shoes...I wouldn't have had an ultrasound. And I wouldn't have known about the heart defect. And that could have serious ramifications to the health of the baby immediately following birth."

 

So - and this is just the conclusion that I reached for myself, after a lot of reading, thinking, and discussion even with other mamas on this forum...I decided an U/S was right for me in this pregnancy. It wasn't long - about 20 min, and my mind was greatly eased seeing no signs of any heart problems or other potential defects. The risks associated with U/S were less of a priority than the risks of such common defects that could need immediate attention after birth, especially with my plan to give birth either at home or at a birth center. If I were planning a hospital birth, my decision might have been different. 

 

It's clear to me that the decision has to be made on an individual basis - you need to do what is right for you and this child. Your comfort level with various risks, etc. will play the most important factor in each mother's decision. And as long as your decision is well informed, I don't think you or anyone else could ask or expect anything more from you. 

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone.  To answer your question - we weren't thinking of the color one (just regular).  The reason we have not had any is we have a lot of autism in our family, and we had read an article in Midwifery Today about ultrasounds and autism.  Their take was that autism skyrocketed just around the time the FDA increased the limits on the output for ultrasounds.  We have 4 children in our family.  In many ways, I think our risk of autism is worse than a heart defect.  But I'd also hate to have an undetected heart issue too.

post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 

Also, I had read somewhere here on these forums or another forum that 1 min of doppler was equal to 20-30 min of u/s.  I don't know if that is true.  I asked my OB what the difference in mhz was.  He told me (I forget the number).  The ultrasound was higher, but he said it was pulsed instead of continous (doppler is continous).  So maybe there is some truth to that.  He thought it would take 5 min to look at the heart.

post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post

Also, I had read somewhere here on these forums or another forum that 1 min of doppler was equal to 20-30 min of u/s.  I don't know if that is true.  I asked my OB what the difference in mhz was.  He told me (I forget the number).  The ultrasound was higher, but he said it was pulsed instead of continous (doppler is continous).  So maybe there is some truth to that.  He thought it would take 5 min to look at the heart.



That statistic is NOT TRUE.  I get so angry that it's become such a mantra on this board in particular.  Please read the info at my link above.  The May DDC also has several other links I posted clarifying this in a thread called, To Ultrasound or to Not Ultrasound or something like this.  It explains the difference in dopplex, ultrasound and colorflow doppler

 

Logically.. think about this:   9volt battery... something plugged into a wall.

post #10 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaChef View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post

Also, I had read somewhere here on these forums or another forum that 1 min of doppler was equal to 20-30 min of u/s.  I don't know if that is true.  I asked my OB what the difference in mhz was.  He told me (I forget the number).  The ultrasound was higher, but he said it was pulsed instead of continous (doppler is continous).  So maybe there is some truth to that.  He thought it would take 5 min to look at the heart.



That statistic is NOT TRUE.  I get so angry that it's become such a mantra on this board in particular.  Please read the info at my link above.  The May DDC also has several other links I posted clarifying this in a thread called, To Ultrasound or to Not Ultrasound or something like this.  It explains the difference in dopplex, ultrasound and colorflow doppler

 

Logically.. think about this:   9volt battery... something plugged into a wall.

post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 

So it looks like wattage wise, the pulsed u/s is worse than the continous u/s.  I have had 3 breast ultrasounds during the pregnancy.  I wonder if any of those waves were exposed to baby.  i assume that it was far enough away that it didn't matter.  The baby did kick like crazy when they were happening, but I was lying flat on my back too. 

post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaChef View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post

Also, I had read somewhere here on these forums or another forum that 1 min of doppler was equal to 20-30 min of u/s.  I don't know if that is true.  I asked my OB what the difference in mhz was.  He told me (I forget the number).  The ultrasound was higher, but he said it was pulsed instead of continous (doppler is continous).  So maybe there is some truth to that.  He thought it would take 5 min to look at the heart.



That statistic is NOT TRUE.  I get so angry that it's become such a mantra on this board in particular.  Please read the info at my link above.  The May DDC also has several other links I posted clarifying this in a thread called, To Ultrasound or to Not Ultrasound or something like this.  It explains the difference in dopplex, ultrasound and colorflow doppler

 

Logically.. think about this:   9volt battery... something plugged into a wall.



THANK YOU!

i have wondered about this since my last pregnancy. we don't do ultrasound unless medically necessary but i do allow doppler. you are right that it is often repeated on MDC that doppler is worse so i was really questioning my use of doppler. and i'm pretty much a dope when it comes to information about electricity thing-a-majigs. i really needed for somebody to tell it to me straight. (somebody other than my OB who whines at me because "ultrasounds are so fuuuuunnnn!")

post #13 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by HRJ View Post

So it looks like wattage wise, the pulsed u/s is worse than the continous u/s.  I have had 3 breast ultrasounds during the pregnancy.  I wonder if any of those waves were exposed to baby.  i assume that it was far enough away that it didn't matter.  The baby did kick like crazy when they were happening, but I was lying flat on my back too. 



I doubt that any of those reached the baby.  You were around 20 weeks, right? 

 

I bet baby kicked like crazy because you were on your back and you were probably worried if you were anything like me during my breast lump scare the last couple weeks. 

 

((hug))

post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 

Do you know the wattage of EFMs?  I was on one of those a LONG time during my labor (at least 8 hrs of the 30) b/c the cord was wrapped around my son's neck and his heart rate went down to 40 @ one point.

post #15 of 32

Congenital heart defects are the NUMBER 1 birth defect and many babies who have them do not live to see their first birthday.  I know that sounds harsh, but is the reality.  My son was born with one and I have learned a lot since his birth.  He needed open heart surgery at 3 months old.  I WISH I had known before he was born so i could have researched and maybe came to terms with it more.  Finding out when he was 1 day old after a traumatic 36 hour labor/birth was the hardest moment in my life.

post #16 of 32
Thread Starter 


Had you had any ultrasounds?  I just read that the ultrasounds do not discover 40% of heart defects.  Someone in the UK or Canada was given a pamphlet at the time of her u/s saying that it only detected 25% of heart defects.  I have read of a few moms on here that did get ultrasounds and were still surprised by heart defects when baby was born. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post

Congenital heart defects are the NUMBER 1 birth defect and many babies who have them do not live to see their first birthday.  I know that sounds harsh, but is the reality.  My son was born with one and I have learned a lot since his birth.  He needed open heart surgery at 3 months old.  I WISH I had known before he was born so i could have researched and maybe came to terms with it more.  Finding out when he was 1 day old after a traumatic 36 hour labor/birth was the hardest moment in my life.

post #17 of 32

you aren't going to get the best view of the heart on an average ultrasound. We needed to go to a specialist. Unless there are family risk factors or a wierd heart sound through doppler, I'd pass.

post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post

Congenital heart defects are the NUMBER 1 birth defect and many babies who have them do not live to see their first birthday.  I know that sounds harsh, but is the reality.  My son was born with one and I have learned a lot since his birth.  He needed open heart surgery at 3 months old.  I WISH I had known before he was born so i could have researched and maybe came to terms with it more.  Finding out when he was 1 day old after a traumatic 36 hour labor/birth was the hardest moment in my life.


Just a different perspective.  I knew about my baby's TOF and it pretty much ruined my entire pregnancy.  I was sick with fear and grief the entire time :(  I agree that it was nice to know so that she was born in the appropriate place, but the knowing before hand was not helpful at all in helping to prepare me. I know everyone is different though. 

post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 


Did your baby have surgery as soon as he or she was born? 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vbactivist View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by hollytheteacher View Post

Congenital heart defects are the NUMBER 1 birth defect and many babies who have them do not live to see their first birthday.  I know that sounds harsh, but is the reality.  My son was born with one and I have learned a lot since his birth.  He needed open heart surgery at 3 months old.  I WISH I had known before he was born so i could have researched and maybe came to terms with it more.  Finding out when he was 1 day old after a traumatic 36 hour labor/birth was the hardest moment in my life.


Just a different perspective.  I knew about my baby's TOF and it pretty much ruined my entire pregnancy.  I was sick with fear and grief the entire time :(  I agree that it was nice to know so that she was born in the appropriate place, but the knowing before hand was not helpful at all in helping to prepare me. I know everyone is different though. 

post #20 of 32
Thread Starter 


How did you know to go to a specialist?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticmomma View Post

you aren't going to get the best view of the heart on an average ultrasound. We needed to go to a specialist. Unless there are family risk factors or a wierd heart sound through doppler, I'd pass.

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