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Benefits of routine 20wk ultrasound - Page 2

post #21 of 66
Quote:
Although the general use of ultrasound for medical diagnosis is considered safe, ultrasound energy has the potential to produce biological effects. Ultrasound bioeffects may result from scanning for a prolonged period, inappropriate use of color or pulsed Doppler ultrasound without a medical indication, or excessive thermal or mechanical index settings. The AIUM encourages patients to make sure that practitioners using ultrasound have received specific training in fetal imaging to ensure the best possible results.
http://www.aium.org/publications/sta...p?statement=31
post #22 of 66
peace of mind. Out of 9 months of pregnancy the only time I was relaxed were the three weeks after the u/s, when I was told he was perfect and my body felt okay.

Otherwise this has been a very rough ride. I would have the 20 week and skip all the others. I want to know about cleft palate and all the other stuff. I need the reassurance.
post #23 of 66
the reason i decided to do it is that ultrasound sees all four chambers of the heart......and IF sees a problem with the heart, you can make sure a heart doc is on hand at your delivery, which can make the difference between life and death. heart issues are a very common birth defect and a treatable one.

this is the only reason i did it but to me it was a big one.

(the peace of mind and photos were nice bonuses)

the procedure was about 15 minutes long and they sent me on my way with a clean bill of health!

deb
post #24 of 66
I don't mean this in a mean/snarky way, but I totally don't understand feeling that everything is "ok" after having an US. I'm not trying to criticize, I just totally don't relate. I just can't imagine relying on something like that for my peace of mind. Maybe it's just an individual personality thing?

I don't mean this all in a downer, pessimistic way but don't know how else to word it. There are so many problems that can't be detected inutero, that not finding any defects during routine screening wouldn't make me feel convinced that everything was "normal."
I'm at 24 weeks and still haven't heard a heartbeat, but that really hasn't affected my feelings about the baby's health. Becuase I could have heard one with a doppler at 12 weeks or whatever and then still had the baby die 3 days later.
That doesn't mean I go around feeling dread, quite the contrary. Maybe I just process things differently.
post #25 of 66
It helped reasure me when I had foolishly agreed to go through with all the fun routine testing such as the AFP test and it came up positive for Trisomy 18.I kept going back to the images of my baby moving and waving his beautiful hands and other perfect parts and helped me make the decision not to agree to an amnio or anything other than another U/S.I had the pictures to comfort myself(DH was deployed) and look at so that I didn't falter under the Dr's pressures.
I had one done this time because I didn't know I was pregnant for several months and was going to be driving cross country and then flying to HI and needed to know just how far along I might be.I thought I was 12 weeks and the U/S guess was 20 weeks.
post #26 of 66
Alice, yes, I wish I could process it like you. Maybe with my second I will be able to relax. Who knows. I will be doing things completely different if I get pregnant again, less anal. Less conventional medicine.

They are the ones that turned me into a worry freak and I am the loser for letting them affect me. But a surprise pregnancy with the pressure to provide a healthy first grandchild was more than I could bear. My fantasy is to have a representative attend all doctor appts with me, someone unemotionally attached, someone like a lawyer
post #27 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
They are the ones that turned me into a worry freak and I am the loser for letting them affect me.
Good for you for admiting that THEY are the ones who have made you worry (though I don't think you're a loser )

This is exactly why I WON'T have testing like u/s without reason.

Statistically it is much more likely that they will show something that they think I should worry about, that's not really an issue.

-Angela
post #28 of 66
The "peace of mind" reason can go both ways. A lady in my church did not have an US with her first child and had an uneventful birth and a healthy daughter. She did have an US with her second and was told that he had water on his brain and that he was too big and she would need a c-section. Needless to say she had a very bad rest of her pregnancy (she didn't believe in terminating and imagine if she had! She said the thought just chills her bones...) and when her son was born via c-section he turned out to be a whole pound smaller than his older sister had been and there was absolutely nothing wrong with his brain.

That particular mama could have avoided a lot of unnecessary stress and an unecessary c-section had she NOT had a routine US with her son.

Then again, my mom found out that her third baby had a diaphragmatic hernia from a routine US and, though he didn't survive, she was able to have surgery on him in utero and was spared having a full-term still born child. It was still traumatic and didn't change the outcome, but it could have potentially.

So really... "peace of mind" doesn't just argue for having the US. I'm more at peace trusting my body and not seeing something potentially abnormal on a screen that may be nothing at all. Spending the rest of my pregnancy worrying about something that may have been a sonographer's error is not something I want to deal with. I wouldn't terminate a pregnancy regardless of what the US showed and I would fight to have a home birth regardless of what the US showed (due to serious needle and hospital phobias which I could imagine would interfere with the birthing process a bit...). It's just not worth it to me, personally.

I will only be having an US if my midwife recommends one, and she knows that I would do it if she thought it necessary. No routine US for me though.

But that's just me I respect the right for all women to make an informed choice about this and all other issues relating to pregnancy/birth since the comfort level of the mother is so extremely important :

love and peace.
post #29 of 66
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your insights. I asked my MW the same question, and she gave me three reasons to have the US:
1) to locate the placenta
2) to determine if there are any defects that can be treated in utero or for which the baby would need specialized care immediately after birth
3) peace of mind (assuming everything looks good, that is).

I'm still not sure what I'll decide, but you have all given me good food for thought.

Javamama - how do I find out if someone is a registered sonographer? Also, is it appropriate to ask whether the Dr./technician uses the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably acheivable) when setting the machine's frequency, and whether the Dr./tech understands how to read the thermal and mechanical indices? I've read that many docs and techs don't understand these indices (which tell them if the frequency is too high and will cause heating and cavitation effects), or don't know how to adjust the frequency to a safe level. That's what worries me the most.
post #30 of 66
We cross-posted, please read what I wrote about peace of mind because IMO that reason really can go either way.

love and peace.
post #31 of 66
^^ good points. I am pretty nosy, so next kid I am having one purely to find out sex (shoot me, not a good reason I know) but whatever else they say, I will take it with a grain of salt, enjoy my pregnancy and not worry about anything unless my body does something to cause it.
post #32 of 66
I had a routine 20 week u/s with ds. Turns out he had a 2 vessel umbilical cord which increased the risk of him being born with a serious defect by an uncertain percentage (it ranged from 11% to 70% according to the different studies I researched). There went my peace of mind. Thankfully he had no defects. I'm not sure if I'll have one this next time. Right now I'm leaning towards no.
post #33 of 66
I just had surgery to remove the biggest damned ovarian cyst known to man, and we never would've known what it was (or exactly where it was) without an u/s. Because of this, I had my first u/s at 7 weeks, then again at 12. And I'll have one again at 19.
Personally, I love ultrasounds because they let me know that my baby is alive, which was definately a question for me with all the related problems I was having. I think, though, if you're not having an experience like mine, u/s should be your choice. I mean, with mine, they showed me the baby to make me feel better, but it was really like getting an xray for a broken bone. The doctor was looking for something else (and did she ever find it!).
I also found that I really like the u/s tech at our hospital. She's very knowledgable and just plain nice. SHe came to visit me while I was in the hospital. So, I think it's important to have a tech you're comfortable with as well. We asked her a lot of questions about the safety of u/s, and she is totally against people just having them to see the baby, but she felt that mine were medically necessary. SHe is also against people having home dopplers.
Again, I think it should be your choice, but I won't lie to you- it's really, really cool to see your baby moving around in there.
post #34 of 66
well, my reasons are purely anecdotal, but nonetheless:

a good friend from university did not have any u/s. her first child was born with a condition that could have been detected, and they were quite unprepared. baby had to be airlifted to a hospital an hour away from their birth center, nearly died, and had to have many emergency procedures. when she had her second child my friend chose to have u/s to see if baby had the same condition as her sister, and had a much more relaxed pregnancy and delivery knowing #2 is ok. she says she wishes she had known with her first so that they could have delivered in a hospital equipped to deal with the baby's issues without the emergency transport, she could have read up on NICU care, pumping, treatment options, etc. she also has some PPD/PTSD due to the circumstances of #1's birth.

a colleague of my dh's had a totally "normal" first pregnancy, until they saw at the 20 week u/s that her baby had an oemphalaceal. had it not been detected and she had gone ahead with her planned homebirth, baby could have died. instead she had a c/section, baby had surgery to repair, and is now fine. she researched treatment options, was prepared to pump breastmilk while he was in NICU and then went on have a successful bf relationship. she went on to have a succesful hbac with #2 (totally normal).

just seeing the difference in how these two mamas dealt with their deliveries, their baby's conditions, etc. really made me feel like the 20 week u/s is a valuable tool. you don't always have a "feeling" that something isn't right, especially if you haven't been pregnant before. true, sometimes they see things that cause unnecessary worry, but for me i would rather have unnecessary worry than an undiagnosed issue that could cost my baby his or her life. just my two cents.
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by eila View Post
Thanks everyone for your insights. I asked my MW the same question, and she gave me three reasons to have the US:
1) to locate the placenta
2) to determine if there are any defects that can be treated in utero or for which the baby would need specialized care immediately after birth
3) peace of mind (assuming everything looks good, that is).
Just some thoughts on these "reasons"

1. Placenta location at 20 weeks is totally meaningless. Totally.

2. There are currently no defects being treated normally in-utero. There are a few research studies, but nothing routine.

Just thoughts

-Angela
post #36 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rico'sAlice View Post
I don't mean this in a mean/snarky way, but I totally don't understand feeling that everything is "ok" after having an US. I'm not trying to criticize, I just totally don't relate. I just can't imagine relying on something like that for my peace of mind. Maybe it's just an individual personality thing?
Well, I understand your point. And maybe it is a silly to look at that and breathe a sigh of relief, but if I get relief from hearing that my baby has properly proportioned organs and beautiful bones, then at least I'm not wasting energy worrying otherwise, you know? It is totally an individual personality thing - and it's definitely something that my personality appreciates
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by tofutti View Post
the reason i decided to do it is that ultrasound sees all four chambers of the heart......and IF sees a problem with the heart, you can make sure a heart doc is on hand at your delivery, which can make the difference between life and death. heart issues are a very common birth defect and a treatable one.
That's actually a pretty big IF. Not all heart issues are detectable on routine u/s. Some are a matter of life and death. Some are not--my ds's was not immediately problematic. But he was pretty sick by the time we figured out it was a heart defect, although that was largely the fault of the UA violation of a family dr we had.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rico'sAlice View Post
I don't mean this all in a downer, pessimistic way but don't know how else to word it. There are so many problems that can't be detected inutero, that not finding any defects during routine screening wouldn't make me feel convinced that everything was "normal." .
I was also coming back to post something similar. I think there's a great risk of false security with a "perfect" u/s. But it's situations like the ones in sophiekat's post that keep me vacillating on the usefulness of routine u/s.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
2. There are currently no defects being treated normally in-utero. There are a few research studies, but nothing routine.
-Angela
i have been doing my own research as i decide whether to do a routine ultrasound. i have decided not to do one, however, i did find a few instances where in utero treatment was quite successful. the one i remember off the top of my head was block bladder, where 2% of infants survived a few decades ago and now with u/s guided prenatal sugery as many as 80% survive. the idea of prenatal surgery fills me with dread, and i know there are surgeries that were preformed prenatally that are no longer performed for ethical reasons, but i think that saying there are no defects being treated is misleading (and incorrect). there are defects being treated; unfortuantely, many of them deal with much larger and extensive health issues. survival at birth, it seems in the research (albeit layman's research) i've done, is just the first hurdle for many of these babes. and that's just the first part of the reason anyway. sopiecat's post deals well with some supportive reasons for specailized care immediately following birth.
i guess i also think suspected problematic placental placement is a huge reason to have and ultrasound as well. i love reading spiritual midwifery as much as the next homebirther, but when i get to the midwifery part about popping a hole in the placenta to birth the baby through, well, i breathe a little sigh of relief that c-sections, even though far overused, have come so far.

sophiecat - amazing stories. i personally think anecdotal evidence carries its own weight. i wonder how many paradigm shifts, birthing, scientific, political, started with anecdotal evidence.
post #39 of 66
i can't think of any "benefits" of the 20 weeks U/S, other than the peace of mind and preparation aspect.

we don't do any other testing or U/S during pregnancy, but i do go for the 20 week one. for me, it's to make sure that the baby is anatomically correct. mostly so that if they are not, i can prepare for birth if something is off.

mostly, i want to see if the baby has spina bifida, or a heart defect, or anencephaly ( no brain), or missing limbs, or has an omphacele ( gut outside of the skin) or cleft palate....... i would want to know those things before i delivered so that i could be better prepared. some require surgery right after birth, it would be nice to know if i had to deal with that. some, like anencelphay, means the baby would die shortly after birth. i would like to prepare myself for that, to know that the baby i carried for 9 mo would only be in my arms for a very short period of time.............................................. ..

but i do believe it's a very personal decision and not everyone needs that "comfort" factor
post #40 of 66
In one of the pregnancy books I have read that one minute of doppler is equal to 30 minutes of ultrasound! I guess if I was going to choose I would go with the ultra sound.
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