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Mothering › Groups › May 2014 Due Date Club › Discussions › Ultrasounds


post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I personally don't get Ultrasounds while pregnant. I remember reading while pregnant with my first that the Ultrasounds used today are eight times stronger than those they tested initially. That made me very uncomfortable. I also wasn't worried about any defects or anything. If there was some indication that the babe or I were unhealthy I may have gone for one, depending on the issues.

I came across this article today which I thought interesting.


What are your opinions of Ultrasounds? Are there any other studies you ladies know about?
post #2 of 27

I wasn't able to open your link, It just said "page not found." I would like to read the article if you would care to re-post it.


I don't want any ultrasounds, however, I'm being forced to have one at 18-22wks.  I'm going to see if there's any way around it, but from all of the questions I've asked, the practice I'm going to requires everyone that is having their baby at the birth center (attached to hospital, but separate from L&D), to have an ultrasound.  If I refuse it, I can still go to the practice, but cannot deliver at the birth center.  I've heard that some women have luck delaying it until further in the 3rd trimester...hope I can somehow delay it all together.  This is the only place in my area that will give me a good chance at a natural, intervention free birth.  I'm pleased about everything about this place except the ultrasound issue.

post #3 of 27

I can't read the article either. Would be interested to read some research on this topic.


Ultrasounds always seemed to me like a nice medical record to have.  This time I am going to try and limit it to one, but I do really want that one.  Both because I like having a record for when she/he is older, and because, with my cs scar, it is important that we know the placenta has attached in a good place.  and that my uterine wall is good etc.  despite the low risk of birth defects, if there was anything worrisome I would want to know ahead of time so I could change plans, plan to either head to the hospital right afterwards or at least have the pediatrician set up with the info.  Lastly, if I did have to transfer to a hospital during labor, they would be much happier with a TOLAC if I have u/s records.   


I know we don't know alot about what the potential side effe cts are from over doing it in the us department.  But I do think that one is not going to significantly add risk compared to what it can tell me and how much easier it makes my life in the event there is a problem down the road.  

post #4 of 27

The link didn't work, but I saw in the link that the title is "ultrasound causes brain damage in fetuses".  If stronger ultrasounds caused brain damage, nearly all babies would be born with brain damage.  I'd really like to read the article, because a lot of them have extremely flawed research methods and statistical analysis.  I don't blame people for not wanting to get ultrasounds...I just wouldn't believe an article that makes extreme claims like that.

post #5 of 27

I didn't have any the last two pregnancies, and don't expect any this time, but you never know. I don't get them just to check, but if I thought something unusual was going on, like placenta problems, or twins, I would. 

post #6 of 27

The website that the link leads to is still temporarily unavailable, but I found a summary of the research.  It was conducted on mice, and 5-15min ultrasound exposures were equivalent to the controls (no ultrasound exposure).  The differences between the test and control groups arose with 60min ultrasound exposure duration.  I never heard of anyone getting an ultrasound for an hour.  Does that happen?

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
It was a study about neuron development in mice. Not sure why the link wasn't working. The title was a lot more extreme than the article itself.
post #8 of 27

I was able to open the link by cutting and pasting it into my browser window.  The article reviews a medical journal study/article done in 2006 (maybe 2007?).  It's a fairly well written review, even though I don't agree with the conclusions that the author draws (having also read the peer-reviewed journal article authored by the people who did the study, I think that the review author takes some liberties in her conclusions).  But, although the article is well-written and very accessible reading for a non-scientific audience, the author totally loses her credibility with her crazy attacks on commenters on the site - the comments she has posted below tearing down anyone who makes any remotely questioning or negative comment are really defensive and unprofessional, and seem to totally belie the pleasant, informative tone of the article.  She actually said to one woman who posted a comment that if that woman chose to use ultrasound on her child after reading the article, it's on the woman's conscience if her baby had any brain defects.(!!) 

I disagree with her conclusions about ultrasound being wrong or useless - I think the article (and the author's subsequent comments) really minimize the valuable diagnostic tool that ultrasound can be.  Like most things medical, there are probably risks, and probably pros and cons, and for me, the reasons why I am getting ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy (likely 4 total - dating, nuchal translucency, 20 week anatomy and to check fluid when I am still waiting at 42 weeks :() outweigh any concerns I have - and that is the same number I had for my other children without any noticeable issues.

I think it's worth having a conversation with your doctor if you are concerned, but I would take this author's review with a grain of salt, bearing in mind that when you are getting an ultrasound, the tech is not actually using ultrasound the whole time, and that in this study it took ultrasounds of 60 - 420 minutes of continuous ultrasound on mouse fetuses (not like scanning, taking a picture, pausing to mark the picture, etc) to cause the neuron migration issues that are addressed in the article.

post #9 of 27

This time I'm sticking with the one as much as possible, and it will be under an hour after hearing how so many of you lovely ladies got in and out quickly.  Booya, freedom!  Besides 90 minutes is excessive and I said as much to the nurse at the time.  Without a laundry list of things to get at it should be quicker, I'm hoping for 20 minutes or so but at 30 I am so serioUsLy calling time.  


@eazar most of my ultrasounds from the local hospital were over an hour, and one was 90 minutes.  At the university hospital they were shorter.  I think both babies had three or four, and both seem pretty smart if I do say so myself :) But mice brains are smaller, so I can see the effect being possibly magnified (also the amount of tissue between my baby and the ultrasound wand is bigger than the entire mouse body at this point, so there is that too).  


It looks like there was a study that showed risk from long, repeated exposure (thanks for the tip @manysplinters).  They are definately not useless, though I do agree that we don't really know much about what we see there.  If I went over 42 weeks I would want one to show fluid levels too.  And if baby is breech, same thing, what kind of breech are we talking about?  Or just to know that my placenta is not in a bad spot with my scar (okay, that one is a result of previous medical interventions but it is a valid concern).  Its a tool, and most tools can be damaging if used inappropriately but VERY HELPFUL if used correctly.  


I think the entire homebirth / natural movement would do better to steer clear of this whole us/them mentality.   We non ultrasound and single ultrasound and multi ultrasound mamas need to stick together :)

post #10 of 27

I think the entire homebirth / natural movement would do better to steer clear of this whole us/them mentality.   We non ultrasound and single ultrasound and multi ultrasound mamas need to stick together :)

I agree!  


@fayebond I didn't know ultrasounds could take so long!  What if you have to pee in the middle of it? LOL I guess it depends on the person and what they're looking for.  Good to know! :)

post #11 of 27

the 90 minute on did have several pee breaks ;) I just kinda let the lady work through her list, whereas this time, I'm bringing my own list.  

post #12 of 27
Wow I had no idea an ultrasound could last that long. I've had a few early pregnancy ultrasounds so far and they all took about 1-2 minutes. Find the baby, find the heartbeat, measure the baby, and you're done! The doctor even refused to calculate the heart rate because he wanted to keep the u/s as quick as possible to minimize the risks to my baby. I feel a lot better about these early ultrasounds now that I know they're so much shorter than ultrasounds used in these studies.
post #13 of 27
I just finished my NT at 12 weeks and it took less than 15 minutes, including a pee break, and (beCause I was paying attention this time) like the longest he ever scanned continuously was about 5-6 seconds. Anyway, babe looks good, I have unproffessionally diagnosed myself as low risk based on measurements and squeee! The little weasel has a nice heartbeat and flaps its flippers around. That 15 minutes was worth it for me, hands down. And I actually had to fly over a thousand miles to get that u/s too smile.gif. Gotta love remote living!
post #14 of 27

Wow @manysplinters that's so good to hear!  You must feel so good knowing that everything is going well.  My first appointment is this Friday and I can't wait!  I just want to know if everything is ok so far.  The suspense is killing me!

post #15 of 27

wow, a thousand mile flight?  where do you live?  I thought my 30 minute drive today was kinda alot, whew!  

post #16 of 27
I live up north in canada and that type of screening isn't available there so we get flown to a major city in southern canada to get the screening if we want it and have risk factors. It's pretty crazy when I write down the distance, but - guess it's just a part of where I live and our wacky socialized health care system smile.gif. I am sure it would horrify some folks in the US smile.gif
post #17 of 27

yup, this American would be finding someone else to pay to get it done.  Or maybe the city is way awesome to visit and I'd go along.  But most likely I'd go with HUGE HISSY FIT and paying someone closer.  Because I'm just way spoiled with healthcare options here like that.  Especially since I'd want one close to 42 weeks? flying? yup, I'm already feeling the fit coming on ;)  I do now feel thankful for the ultrasound clinic 45 minutes away though, so so thankful.  We are maybe finding one closer I hope but 45 minutes, suddenly, is on my list of thankful-fors today.


I am impressed by the 2 minute u/s one mama got.  I will ask about that around here, there are 10 or more places for ultrasounds within 2 hours drive and I am now motivated to look around for a better (shorter) option. 

post #18 of 27
Oh it's only for this particular u/s that I would fly down. They do all the others in the place where I live, but the demand isn't great enough for the specific training for the NT scan. And it's a free trip to vancouver, so I get to go see my sister, meet a new nephew, see a best friend from way back, and spend a couple of days away from the fam, so all in all, it's kind of a privilege, and a semi-vacation!
post #19 of 27

I know it seems like an us vs. them thing, but there's really a whole lot of people who fall into a grey area. Plenty of homebirthers choose ultrasounds (and any other given test you can think of, especially non-invasive) to help make the decision on whether a homebirth is a good option for them. I live in a rural area. I plan to have an ultrasound because, if a problem is identified, I'd much rather give birth at a hospital in the nearest big city with a NICU and so on.

post #20 of 27

I guess I fall more into the gray area with this one.  I do think an ultrasound is a useful tool during pregnancy, which does carry some risk.  Personally, I think that if they are used in moderation, the risk is low/insignificant, and they can provide some potentially life saving information.  For instance, I'd want to know about a potential heart defect or placenta in the wrong location before giving birth.

Edited by heldt123 - 10/17/13 at 9:13pm
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