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Ultrasounds

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 

So, I plan to have one ultrasound done at about 20 weeks and, if all goes well, that will be it. I know some people have more and some people have less (which would be none). I'm curious as to why you, personally, choose the number of ultrasounds that you do?

 

I'll answer my own question...

 

I like to have one ultrasound because if there is something clear and/or seriously wrong with the baby, I want to know about it. Since I am planning a home birth, I especially want to know if there might be an obvious issue that would require extra care of the baby... like a heart or intestinal issue needing surgery. I also worry about where the placenta is and feel better knowing there's no reason to be concerned about that. Beyond those concerns, I do have concern about the risks of ultrasound and therefore avoid any further ultrasounds. I have consented to a BPP, which does involve an ultrasound, at 42 weeks with previous pregnancies.

 

I am always, however, eager to hear how others make such choices since I know that there may be things to consider that I have not thought of or that have come to light since I was last pregnant 5 years ago.

post #2 of 44

I'm wanting to avoid an early dating ultrasound, because I was charting and feel very sure about my date, and I'm afraid that if the ultrasound technician thinks it's a few days further along that the technician's date will trump my own.  Which would be a problem if I went 42 weeks.  That is exactly what happened last time, and while it all worked out, I want to avoid that.  I intend to be more firm with my doctor this time.

 

So I am planning on having one ultrasound for the same reasons you list, Yeeska.  Question: is 20 weeks the best time?  I had to have a follow up last time because my placenta was low-lying, and of course it moved up and was fine, but wouldn't a later US avoid that?  Or is there a reason to have it earlier?  I really don't know - I'm wanting other's info on this.

post #3 of 44
i will have 3 because insurance pays for three. i'll also book a 4d session so the kids can see the baby too. the dating ultrasound actually put my due date two days after the one i figured, so that is good. i will however refuse an ultrasound in very late pregnancy just because i'm worried about the xbaby is too big" speech.
post #4 of 44

hey - I was last pregnant 5 years ago too!

 

Neat!  I don't know anyone with that particular age gap IRL.

 

I decided to opt out of anything the midwife said was optional and that she didn't push.  I kinda would have liked to add the maternal serum testing - but was afraid of the false positives freaking us out and afraid of risking out of midwifery care.

 

I think if I was asked today, I would have agreed to it.  You can choose what you want to do with the information - also - I have a Doctor I could trust now if I risked out.  I didn't have that when I was offered the test.
 

 

post #5 of 44

in my case right now, I have already had three U/S- at 5.4 weeks, at 7 weeks and at 9 weeks, due to continuous bleeding and spotting, which I could tell was making my Doctor and MW nervous. I will have another one at 13 weeks (in a few days) which is the NT, and I think they repeat it at 20 weeks or around then. so 5 all together- more than I would have liked in a perfect world, but very necessary ones for my mental state these past two months.

 

During my previous pregnancy, 7 years ago, I had one U/S at 20 weeks, for placenta-placement checking, because of my previous C/S. That was it. so quite a difference........

 

with my first pregnancy, 11 years ago, that took place in Germany, I had a routine U/S at EVERY visit. That's how they did it there and then (not sure about these days German practices). I didn't know anything about it, and so didn't oppose it at all, naturally, as it was very cool to see my baby so frequently.......

 

mymaya.

post #6 of 44
I have had 3 do far, which was more than I have ever had and more than I planned on. One at 6 weeks for bleeding, 8 weeks to do a HB check and to check the small hemorrhage we saw at 6 weeks, and one at 10 weeks for persistent cramping. I am seeing an OB and a HB midwife.

I am on the edge about the 20 week, I don't think I need it. My OB also recommends a later one at 35ish weeks for placenta placement. Since we can already see that my placenta is low I may skip the 20 week and do the 35 week one only for placenta check.


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post #7 of 44
In my first two pregnancies I had two each. One at 20 weeks and one at post-dates to see how things were. (I had hospital births with both). With dd3 I had zero ultrasounds even with OB care and a hospital birth. Mostly, the Dr was kind of distracted throughout and I never clicked with him and he didn't care too much. With dd4 I had a midwife and again chose no ultrasounds. With this #5 I'm again planning on no ultrasounds.

I've had cousins benefit from them (two had Down's Syndrome children with other medical issues that needed surgery after birth) and more anecdotal stories with friends' experiences as well.

At this point I don't feel one is necessary, but if I ever get that intuitive feeling I need one, I won't hesitate to get one.
post #8 of 44
mymaya...you still get an ultrasound at every visit in germany. my friends in germany tell me about it all the time.
post #9 of 44

I had an ultrasound at 10 dpo, the day I had a positive test, because that was the day we were supposed to start fertility treatments! Since I have no idea, at all, what harm could have come to the embryo's cells that early from the ultrasound, I'm really cautious of getting any more. In the country I live in we get one scheduled ultrasound which we are allowed to opt out of, so I am cancelling that appointment, and I will only get one if my midwife determines it is medically necessary. I'm a scientist, and I love collecting data, so on one hand I would love to have the information from an ultrasound. On the other hand, I'm a tremendous worrier, and it's better for me to trust the pregnancy and fetus are doing well and healthy. So if everything continues to progress healthfully, I prefer to let things be and not risk the ultrasound. I have simply been unable to find enough reliable information about the risks/benefits of ultrasound to feel like I can make an informed choice. The medical literature is strongly in the "after many years of consistent use, we see no harmful effects". But I don't trust those studies were done properly and impartially. At the same time, the benefits of ultrasound when there is a problem with the fetus's heart or so on are HUGE. To summarize, I've chosen to not get another ultrasound, but I feel like there are really good reasons for me to change my mind.    

post #10 of 44

I avoid the early scan because I am ALWAYS sure of dates.  Last time, my LMP and my ovulation didn't match up according to their "charts."  I consented to an early dating u/s and it put me at 6 days past the day I *KNEW* I should be due.  I later felt pressured into "hurrying things along" and consented to a membrane sweep.  I had no complications from messing with nature, but would have rather had dd2 come at her own time. (Now I just lie about my LMP so that it measures up to their little wheel.  Traditional OBs and some MWs seem shocked when a woman knows her body enough to know when she ovulated!)

 

I will get a 20 week ultrasound to check on things such as birth defects that would be best dealt with early.  I don't want anything messing with my planned homebirth, but would like to know about any defects that would make birthing in a hospital the smarter choice.  Also, I am very much wanting to check on placenta.  Generally, just make sure that all is as ok as can be known.  Finding out the baby's sex (if we decide to do that...don't know if we will) does not come into play in the reason why I want one done.  (Though if we decide we want to know,) it could be an added bonus.

 

If we find something not so good that requires a second ultrasound (like not ideal placental placement), I would consent to a second scan later in pregnancy and do everything in my power to "make it quick!"

 

Brambleberry- I think they choose 20 weeks because it is easier to get more accurate measurements of baby at that time and most problems can be detected that early.  By later (like 35 weeks), things are a little more cramped, so measurements are a little less accurate (which may lead to an overlook of a "problem" or maybe even a "false positive").  Though if the only worry is placental placement, waiting until later would decrease the amount of exposure to u/s.

post #11 of 44

I don't hesitate to get an early ultrasound if I am unsure of dates. My last menstrual period was in 2010 as we caught the first post partum egg this time around. It was hilarious to see the look on the nurse's face at the OB office every time she would ask me for my last period date.

 

I also get the 20 week anatomy scan. There are certain heart conditions that can be picked up during this scan and the baby's life could possible be saved with surgery after birth if the conditions are known ahead of time. I am also on a large dose of anti thyroid medication that could possibly effect the baby's thyroid/growth so I will probably end up with a couple more ultrasounds in the 3rd trimester.

 

 

post #12 of 44

I've only ever had one u/s per pregnancy - around 20ish weeks. Barring unforeseen complications, I'll go that route again.

post #13 of 44

I have had one so far at 7.5 weeks, just to confirm because I had a miscarriage last June.  I am having another tomorrow (first trimester screening) and I plan on having another at 20 weeks as a follow up and to find out the sex of the baby.  With my DD I had more ultrasounds than I would have liked.  I think I had a 12 week, 20 week, 32 week that I remember but I had even more than that because apparently they were worried because I was carrying to small.  Turns out my DD was perfectly healthy, I just cary small just like my maternal grandmother!  Lesson learned and I will draw the line after the 20 week ultrasound.  I am also having a homebirth this time, so I this my midwife will be a little more hands-off especially since she knows my history.

post #14 of 44

Barring complications, I'll be having the 20 week anatomy scan and that's it. I'm not entirely convinced of the safety of really early ultrasounds (although if I was having spotting or other complications I'd totally think the very minimal risk was worth it) and I'm 100% sure of my dates so I don't feel any need for a dating ultrasound. I also have no qualms about fudging my LMP date to line up with when I know I ovulated if I have to!

 

My reasoning for getting the 20 week US is essentially to check for any conditions that might be incompatible with our planned homebirth. I don't really worry about placenta position at 20 weeks because the placenta can move so much after that and any competant care provider should be able to tell if the placenta is low lying or not. If that does appear to be an issue I'd probably consent to an US around 35 weeks to check position.

 

Having said that, I take the whole thing with a grain of salt because my DD had a SUA (2 vessel cord) with velomentious insertion and a 2nd, seperate lobe of the placenta joined by tissue complete with arteries and veins to the main lobe, all things that could potentially have caused problems (especially if that tissue had stretched across the cervix) and were not caught at our 20 week US.

post #15 of 44

It's such a personal decision.  Trust your own gut.

 

With #1, I had one at 11.5 for NT.  All was ok with the babe, but they saw a giant cyst.  I declined the second one based on my gut and midwife's agreement.  We had a great home birth.

 

With this babe, I will have one only at 11.5 for NT unless my gut tells me differently.  We plan on a 2nd home birth.

 

Overall, I'm concerned with subjecting myself or the baby to any unnecessary radiation, invasive procedures or any not absolutely necessary medical procedures.

 

In my opinion, nothing can guarantee you a great, healthy, safe homebirth.

 

Marnie

post #16 of 44
ack..dd woke me up at 330 am and now it's 530 and there's no way back to sleep. have to get up in an hour anyway. ds is turning five today. my babyboy is FIVE!!!!! where has the time gone. my 8lbs14oz chunker turned into this athletic, funny, loving natureboy....aahhh. i wanna go smooch him right now smile.gif.
post #17 of 44

Carlin, just curious, what did they say about the existence of a second lobe?  I had a 20w us and one or two later on for PTL and they never found it but when I delivered the placenta my MW was completely fascinated with it.  She suggested I send it for pathology but I didn't see the point in spending the $. 

 

As for the OP, I had 4 early US because I was under care of an RE for multiple MC.  Definitely not what I intended, but I didn't intend to be scared out of my mind about losing a PG either.  I'll talk to my MW today, but likely will just get the 20w anatomy scan, IMO it's important to check for anything that would require medical management after a birth; if it's required, I'd rather give birth in a hospital that have to transfer, I think.

 

What's the advantage of the 12-week one?  Is the primary reason the NT?


Edited by Carson - 3/1/12 at 5:44am
post #18 of 44

I have already had hundreds (it feels like! ha!) and will end up with thousands. But thats OK. I will have weekly cervical length checks because if they see any funneling or shortening then it means things. Then every two weeks for growth because they don't want one to start dropping behind a lot in weight gain. 

 

Its such a personal choice, you just have to do what feels right. 

post #19 of 44

I had one at 7 weeks because of some spotting, and I'll have another at 20 weeks. I don't think I'll have any other ultrasounds, including doppler, because I'm not totally convinced that ultrasounds are safe for developing brains. (Here is a summary of studies on ultrasound.) Apparently doppler is 20 times more powerful than imaging ultrasounds, which kind of blows my mind!

 

That said, nothing is set in stone and if I feel the need for more ultrasounds I will weigh the pros and cons as I see them at that time. I reserve the right to change my mind!

post #20 of 44

Carson, they didn't really say much, just that it was one of the weirdest placentas they'd seen,lol. They did go a little white when they first saw it because if any of those arteries or veins between the two lobes had stretched across the cervix things could have turned out very, very badly.

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