Sphinxy-- they use vaginal U/S until the baby is high enough over the pubic bone to see it through the belly. Early on, they are too tiny and too low to be seen from that far away. Not sure what the cut-off date is though. A Doppler is another type of ultrasound machine, but not usually refered to that way so as to prevent confusion. It bounces sound off of blood cells to determine blood flow. It's used prenatally mainly to detect heartbeat.
Ultrasounds are bad??! - Page 2
I've never heard of an U/S causing heart problems. But there is some evidence that the increased use of U/S (which includes Doppler) may be linked to the increase in autism. I agree with this:
My thoughts are that they are a useful tool but overused. There is the potential for them to cause harm although no definitive evidence either way at this stage. The accuracy of findings is also quite variable.
When deciding whether to have an ultrasound or not I considered these questions:
Why is the USS being proposed?
How reliable is USS for this purpose?
Is there any other way to get this information?
What will we do with this information once we have it?
IMO, those are excellent questions to ask when deciding on the use of ANY test/evaluation/etc. (or even when deciding - for general purposes, I mean, not for birthing - whether to go to the doctor/hospital).
Everything turned out fine...went 4 weeks past scan due date, 2 weeks past my own edd; no brain problems, and pp resolved before labor, as it often does. (Of course it required another late pregnancy scan to determine this...) So the 20 wk scan did nothing beneficial and caused me lots of stress. After that I vowed no more routine ultrasounds. I think they have their place when there are questions or concerns, but for a normal pregnancy they absolutely cause more misleading results and the good old intervention cascade then they do good. For example, if I still had pp close to delivery I would likely have had bleeding, at which point us would truly be indicated. Would not have aborted disabled fetus at 20 weeks anyway, and the diagnosis turned out wrong! The edd being koved up was ridiculous since I was confident about dates and weight is notoriously inaccurate via us at that point.
The routine use of us in this country is probably bc is easy, profitable, and percieved as benign. I believe it is way overused! All interventions should be only as indicated. I feel that the fact that most obs present them as a must instead of an option and that insurance companies pay for them with no reason given is a disservice to women. I do admit on later pregnancies I was so dying to know the gender I was tempted but very glad that we stuck w no scans. I do believe with my last the scan would have given false dates again and the pressure to induce would have been intense.
A mama in my previous DDC had her baby's major omphacele diagnosed during the anatomy scan. Had she been unaware and proceeded with a vaginal birth, it would have been fatal for her baby. Maybe the scan is unnecessary the majority of the time but it can make a huge difference to some babies.
I havent read everyone's posts, but wanted to say that having an ultrasound, or multiple, have not been shown to improve birth outcome. If there is a reason to have an US, a legitimate concern, I would have one, but an ultrasound rarely gives any truely meaningful info. If a birth defect is found, it cant be dealt with til after birth anyway. I've read that results of US's are often uncertain and false positives show up and moms are told their baby may have a certain condition, and all it causes is the mom to have lots of stress in her pregnancy, but no useful info was obtained. The reason why doc's started ordering US's for every pregnant woman was a combo of consumer demand- every woman wanting one, and for liability reasons. If something went wrong with the pregnancy or birth, the doc wanted to be able to say they covered every base and took every precaution, to avoid lawsuits. Much the same reasons for many birth pratices today such as the electronic fetal monitor.
ALso, the long term effects of having an ultrasound or multiple are not known. There have been no studies proving their safety. No one knows if it increases risk of cancer, or hearing loss, etc, especially at an older age. No studies have been done, and I doubt any will be done, because what would modern maternity care do if they all of a sudden denied every woman her US unless there was some sort of actual concern? Women would be pissed!!
I've also heard stuff about the sound waves disrupting the amniotic fluid, and the electromagnetic field interfering with development and causing DNA to break and mutate and stuff. I dont even remember where I read about that. But, above all, to me, it is just entirely unnatural, and I believe that the less technology that is involved in a pregnancy and birth, the better and healthier! :)
Needless to say I turn down the dopplar and ultrasound :) I had them with my last 2 babies (well the US with my last, I still refused the dopplar), but this was before I knew much about it. My US's just costed me a bunch of money, and the only useful thing they told us was the sex. The estimated due date was way off on both. I've had friends who've been wrongly diagnosed with their baby having a cleft palate, missing organs, severely underweight/malnourished, placenta previa, a missing skull, Downs syndrom (the U/S tech actually told her her baby had Downs from looking at the monitor and was going to be disabled, which I dont think the tech's are even supposed to do!) and a 2 vessel cord. So they all ended up being extremely stressed and having lots of additional ultrasounds and nonstress tests, blood tests and amnio's done to try to determine the health of the baby. Some went to specialists in different cities, etc, for NO REASON, just because the U/S was wrong. And of course they can be wrong about the sex of baby too :) I also had a friend who was correctly diagnosed with a 2 vessel cord and she freaked out about it for the rest of her pregnancy, had about 20 additional ultrasounds and a ton of tests done because of it, was a stressed out wreck the whole rest of the pregnancy, and ended up with a healthy perfectly normal baby who's now 1 and ahead in every area of development!
I am pregnant with #6. I think PP have listed some very good questions to ask before consenting to routine US. US can be a very helpful tool, but I don't think it should be routine for every pregnancy. I had 2 with #1, as I went a very mainstream route with OB and hospital birth. With #2, I had one very early US, as I thought I was having a miscarriage. After several days of spotting/bleeding my MW thought an US would help determine if there was anything retained. As it turned out, it was random spotting/bleeding, and DD1 was perfectly fine, her little heart was beating away happily. I have not had any US with the rest of my babies.
I do not think US is the ONE cause of anything major damage to unborn babies, but in a world where there are so many toxins and pollutants, it seems prudent to limit exposure where we can. If it isn't necessary, the wise course seems to be to skip it, especially since for most mothers, outcomes are not improved. Again, like PP, I think if you really must have one, I think it should be the later one, and for diagnostic purposes only.
I do not think US is the ONE cause of anything major damage to unborn babies, but in a world where there are so many toxins and pollutants, it seems prudent to limit exposure where we can. If it isn't necessary, the wise course seems to be to skip it, especially since for most mothers, outcomes are not improved.