Looking for ultrasound advise. I will be 36 when I deliver our new baby. I am planning to deliver at a birth center with midwives. Today at our checkup they encouraged me to get the 32 week ultrasound to make sure growth is normal. I have skeptical about ultrasounds this late as I have read that they are more likely to be incorrect. Does anyone have experience with how birth center midwives treat those ultrasounds - either good or bad? BTW, they said that if I refuse it, that would not limit their willingness to let me deliver at the birth center.
32 week ultra sound - bunk or not?
When I wasn't sure whether or not to do the AFP testing, we had a nice intelligent conversation that made my decision easy. If you haven't already, i would share your questions and concerns and really get to the bottom of why they encourage it. I am more apt to do less u/s, but if my midwives strongly encourage something, then I would consider it.
I have never heard of a 'routine' 32-week ultrasound. Are you measuring either smaller or larger than your dates? This might be one reason that they would encourage it.
Edited to add: I did have a 32-week u/s with my first pregnancy, but this was because my placenta was marginally low during my 20-w u/s. Luckily, it had corrected itself by 32 weeks!
Edited by hansigurumi - 7/25/12 at 11:12pm
personally, if you don't have an issue that would prompt the ultrasound in the first place, like a low lying placenta, then I'd turn it down. Particularly if it won't affect your planned for birth! Late pregnancy ultrasounds are notorious for being mis-used mainly because they're just too inaccurate with regard to baby size/development.
I'd turn it down unless you are measuring big or small (more than a couple inches) and/or you have other issues. Otherwise, there is not much point! They are not accurate, in my view. I had one at 33 weeks my first pregnancy (pressured by my OB due to GD), and they estimated the baby at 6 pounds! Turns out it was complete bunk. She was born at 39 weeks 5 days, at 7 lbs 13 oz. I had switched to a midwife from my OB by the time I gave birth, and I was so worked up that I wouldn't be able to deliver my "huge" baby naturally. Thank goodness my midwife was awesome and calmed me down :)
Thanks for the thoughts. The reasoning based on what the midwife said is that apparently in older women, placentas are more likely to fail at some point. They wanted to measure growth, not for dating purposes but to make sure that there wasn't an issue of intrauterine growth retardation. So, I am somewhat worried about what micromama describes, them falsely telling me that I have a huge baby and then me having to worry about that for the next 2 months. I really wish I could find some statistics on how often there is a problem of intrauterine growth retardation and at what maternal ages.
I don't have numbers for you, but I'm sure someone could dig some up, but it IS very rare for the placenta to fail. Even in women who go post-dates...meaning over 42 weeks, it's actually very rare for the placenta to show signs of deteriorating. I'll try to look for some numbers, but honestly, that sounds like an odd reasoning for an ultrasound this early! It seems like something most care providers might begin to worry about once you hit 40 weeks and beyond although it's still not much of a concern.
Thanks for all of your thoughts. I am going to skip the ultrasound unless the midwife at the next appointment can point to something specific that would suggest that I have a problem. After thinking about it a lot, I think that it may be just something that they are required to recommend because this particular birth center is affiliated with a larger hospital group.