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Mothering › Groups › June 2013 Due Date Club › Discussions › Anyone concerned about ultrasounds?

Anyone concerned about ultrasounds?

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

I'm surprised to hear about so many ultrasounds. Especially early ones. Don't take this wrong...I'm not judging. I just know the more any procedure is discussed, the more it is accepted as normal. And one thing I really like about these Mothering boards is hearing alternative thoughts. I think the effects of ultrasound are not completely known. Do you know that they are not even approved by the FDA for pregnancy? (Not that I really respect what the FDA thinks normally.) Just wondering what you guys think about ultrasounds. Is anyone else concerned about doing ultrasounds?


In my first 2 pregnancies I didn't plan any ultrasounds. (But I ended up having one at 6 weeks because I had so much bleeding and wanted to know if the baby was still there. Thank God he was. Placental abruption.) In my third, I consented to only one US to locate the placenta (with 2 prior c-sections at that time) because it was one of the only things my midwife asked and it seemed to be a reasonable request. And nobody else would take me as a VBA2C. Same with my 4th...one US to locate placenta with 3 prior C/S. I imagine I'll have just one this pregnancy also for the same reason. We'll make it super quick though.

post #2 of 60
I'm not super educated about ultrasounds.. I only ever get the one ultrasound around 19-20 weeks and that's it. Just to make sure there's 10 fingers and 10 toes kinda thing.

I was thinking about doing a 3d ultrasound this time around. But now that I've heard this, I'm second guessing. What's your take on 3d ultrasounds? Worse?
post #3 of 60

I felt that way the first time around and avoided them. However, I was measuring big and in the third trimester my MW ordered one. Based on that, they changed my dates a whole month, moving my due date from June 25 to late May. They were wrong, but the result was that I had to have antenatal testing for 5 weeks (2 US a week to check fluid, all fine) while we waited for me to go into labor and then I got pressured into inducing (with acupuncture, but it was effective)... I had a 36 hour labor with horrendous trauma and tearing, and she was not a minute over due. I didn't get my birth center birth I wanted, which was my goal when I consented to induction, otherwise they would have high-risked me to the hospital. 


Not to mention that it cost thousands of dollars, I had to have dozens of late US that could have been prevented by having one in the first trimester, or maybe one in the second, or even both. AND we had to pay the birth center and the hospital when I transferred, costing more money!


So, I am going to be doing the US that my practitioner recommends. There are other things I will do differently... I won't go to a birth center or practice where I see several different midwives, because there was a lack of continuity of care. I think the MW that ordered the 3rd trimester US would have noticed I was measuring big after the first trimester, and then the dating would have been more accurate.


I know this is a special circumstance and I will not likely opt for early US unless medically indicated... I will certainly not do "vanity US" or doppler at home...


There's my story!

post #4 of 60
From my reading, I don't think ultrasound is any more invasive than Doppler, which people here seem to have far fewer problems with for some reason. I am not entirely thrilled with it as a routine procedure, but the ability to see what is going on can be very useful in some situations.

Regarding my specific circumstances, we will almost certainly have two ultrasounds over the course of this pregnancy. We got pregnant via IVF which increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy by a lot; as such, a six week scan to make sure that everything is where it is supposed to be is necessary. Also, my husband's family has a hereditary (repairable) heart defect that we will have scanned for sometime before the birth so that if we need the NICU team or the surgical team on hand at birth, we have it.
post #5 of 60

I got pregnant with fertility treatments and standard protocol is to have an ultrasound at 6 or 7 weeks.   Like Laura-Belle said, it is important to know that the embryo is in the right place because I may have a slightly higher risk.  I also have a higher risk of multiples, so I would like to know how many are in there as it effects my choice of midwife or OB and birth plan.  After that, we will have to decide what to do.  I will do the 20-week U/S just to make sure everything's ok and such.  After that, I don't see much reason to get one unless there is a health issue.  At that point, trying to guess the size of the baby is not very accurate, and it can lead to further intervention that may not be necessary.  I have heard there is more radiation from a doppler than and U/S, but I'm not sure if that is strictly true.

post #6 of 60

There is zero radiation with an ultrasound.  Or doppler (which uses ultrasound to work).  Ultrasound is directed sound waves that bounce off structures to give you an idea of their shape.  Think of echolocation like a bat.  Doppler lets you look at the blood vessels.  


I can't wait until my ultrasounds!  

post #7 of 60

Forgive me.  I mispoke.  Ultrasounds do not contain x-ray radiation, but sound waves radiate in that they are a form of energy that spreads out from a central source.  Perhaps the difference is that the sound waves are more concentrated from a doppler than an ultrasound machine.  Ultrasound does create heat.  I have used it to treat tendonitis.  Maybe the heat that is generated is one reason some choose to avoid them. 


I've had so many ultrasounds in the last year, I figure a few more can't hurt.

post #8 of 60
I really do love ultrasounds! Just seeing your little babe moving around in there is very special! That's why I wanted to do the 3d ultrasound this time around.

I've never actually heard that there was anything bad about ultrasounds either. I guess I will do my own research and decide from that!

But I really want to do the 3d ultrasound mainly to be more sure of the gender of the baby!
post #9 of 60
I'll get one around 20 weeks or so to check lil bit out smile.gif Maybe a doppler or two, maybe not. Thinking of buying a fetoscope though. It would be fun and I'd have it in my cache already for future use.
post #10 of 60

I had 2 ultrasounds with my first son, 3 with my second. Both boys are amazingly healthy, beautiful and very intelligent. That's my experience.


I had a miscarriage last time around and can NOT wait to see my baby, hear it's heartbeat this time. My anxiety and stress level as I wait to know cannot possibly be healthier than having an ultrasound to confirm.


I used to be so big on 'trust the process', 'everything is how it's meant to be'....and then I lost a very wanted baby. I prepared for that pregnancy for years, did everything SPOT ON correctly - and lost it.


So now, I'm having an ultrasound the minute they'll give me one - because I need to know there's a healthy bean in there, growing as it should - then, I can rest easy and celebrate this new life. Until then, I'm scared. Until you've had a devestating loss, that may be difficult to understand - and perhaps not everyone who's had a loss will feel similarly. But again, that's my story...and I consider myself very well educated on these topics, so I don't allow the rumble and chatter of other's opinions to play a part in my decision making. I urge other mamas to make decisions that are right for them and their families....sure, do your research first....but ultimately, do what's right in your heart.

post #11 of 60

Last pregnancy, my midwife strongly recommended at least one u/s (around 20 weeks) to make sure there was nothing really obviously wrong. I did it and all was well. That was all I did. It turns out my cord was a little bit uncentered on my placenta and it might have contributed to hemorrhage. The midwife said if we'd had a late ultrasound, she could have prepared a little bit more. So I'm hoping to do two, one at 20 weeks and one late in pregnancy.


I don't think u/s is so terrible, but I try to stay on the cautious side. Unfortunately, we live in an environment of all kinds of environmental waves we can't avoid and don't know the long term effects of, and I don't think u/s is the worst of them. I think more than the sound waves, the problem with ultrasound is when things like measurements made by u/s are taken as fact, c-sections and other big decisions are made based on them, yet they are not all that accurate.

post #12 of 60
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for the conversation. 


I avoid doppler too.  It may take longer to hear the heartbeat, but it can certainly be done with a stethoscope. 

post #13 of 60

I won't have a routine ultrasound this time.  Didn't last time, either.  Had one at 43 weeks as a legitimate diagnostic tool.  If there is a true medical indication for one, I will likely do it.  Otherwise, no.

post #14 of 60

We waited for the fetoscope last time, too.  Didn't hear our son's heartbeat until 24 weeks.  No regrets.

post #15 of 60

My mother is actually a medical imaging physicist (she handles all the hospital's ultrasounds, CTs, MRIs, x-ray units, etc.) and calculates fetal doses of radiation for patients.  She seems to think ultrasounds are quite safe.  I don't mind getting one at 12 or 18 weeks, but it would feel intrusive constantly getting them throughout the pregnancy.  I think I had one at 19 weeks or thereabouts last time? Last pregnancy I even had an x-ray done of my pelvis at 38 weeks!  That hopefully won't be happening again.  hide.gif  All the medical students and staff were gathering around to take a look as I think that would be quite the uncommon occurrence. 


At one point did you have the u/s to locate the placenta with your VBAC?

post #16 of 60

As super duper natural and trusting of birth and my body as I am, I still get the 20 wk ultrasound myself each pregnancy. With my first child, she was born in a hospital and we all assumed she was healthy. It turned out that she had a major birth defect - jejunal atresia- part of her small intestine just ended. No one knew and so I breastfed her. Her gut exploded, and she vomited and asphyxiated. She required CPR and immediate emergency surgery. If I'd had her at home she wouldn't have survived. She was in & out of hospitals for a long time, but is just fine now. :)


So that is the summary as to why I personally will always get an u/s. Because I don't want any scary shocks at my homebirths. I want to know that the baby's heart & other organs are all looking right before he or she gets here. That way, if they're not looking right, I can adjust my birth plans accordingly.

post #17 of 60

I will have a 20 week u/s. And I agree, from everything I have looked into the topic that medically regulated u/s is very safe. 


My preference is for the fetoscope. But I wont squirm for the occasional use of the doppler during labor, since I know it can be far easier than forcing my mw to perform contortions to use the fetoscope, depending on my position. 


I do worry about the private u/s clinics, including the 3d and 4d ones. They do not have to be accredited - so no assurance their machines are kept up to snuff. Plus some of those u/s can last an hour or more to get the perfect views - that is a long time, IMHO, for the babe to be subjected to ultrasonic waves. 

post #18 of 60

I agree with you. I am going to get one, just to check and make sure all is well around 16-20 weeks. That is going to be the only one though since they have not been approved for pregnancy, as you mentioned. 

post #19 of 60

I am very much a trust the process but at the same time for me to do that I will get probably 2 u/s including one tomorrow. Not looking forward to the drinking 32 ounces however since anything in the morning makes me want to vomit. (yay, but I never do.)


I heard that a concern with u/s is the "sound" it makes for the baby. ? not sure and will see if I can find my source on that. Regardless, we decided for our family it is the right choice. :-) 

post #20 of 60

Not sure if anyone has seen this...

It pretty much sums up the reasons we don't do routine, prenatal ultrasound.



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