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ultrasound concerns

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
I've chosen not to have an ultrasound done for my (1st) baby after much thought and research. My midwife doesn't recommend them routinely so no problem there. I'm having trouble dealing with well-meaning family members and friends who seem to think I'm dancing with the devil not to have a look-see. How do I address their concerns without becoming taken in by their anxiety?

So far, I've said, it's not a necessary procedure, I feel everything is fine, I'm perfectly healthy, my lab tests look great, and even if there was a problem, there's nothing they can do about it now anyway. After all that, I always get stumped on, "But how do you know for sure everything is ok?" My dh is absolutely no help, he is terrified that there is something wrong with the baby and we just don't know it. Probably because his sister has a birth defect (although it is not genetic). Advice, suggestions?
post #2 of 90
That's a hard one. I am an "older" Mom and ultra-sounds were not routinely done for my first 4 pregnancies. No one thought it was "strange" back then not to know what the sex was or the health of the baby. With my last two babies they were available, and being an older Mom it was recommended I have them. I had one for baby number 5, was told she was perfectly "normal". She was born with a genetic condition. So that may give you an idea of what I think of ultra-sounds!
Tell your well meaning friends and relatives that US's are not fool proof, they are really only best when the size of the baby is a concern or the dates seem off. In my opinion it seems that many women today have them done to have a "picture" for their baby book or to see if they can find out the sex of the baby. Very frivilous reasons for doing medical tests!
Good luck!
post #3 of 90
"It's out of my hands - it is in God's hands"
"My mom never had one for me and I am fine!"
"Did your mom/Grandma have one?"
"I have a feeling that this baby is shy and doesn't want it's picture taken just yet - after all, it's naked!"
"Would you want someone taking a picture of you in your birthday suit?"

Or lie, tell them you did and everything is as ok as an US can tell! And that either the baby wasn't in a good position to tell the sex or that you are choosing not to find out, after all, there are so few real surprises in this life, why not keep one that was intended to be kept?

Or just tell every one that it is your body, your baby and you both are in the care of a very good medical professional and if it is deemed necessary, you will do what you need to when the time comes! And that it is none of their business.

Good Luck and God Bless!
post #4 of 90
It's just a tiny white lie, "My doctor doesn't reccomend one for me." Okay, it's really your midwife, but if you have to go toe to toe with people who persist in worshiping at the altar of medical technology invocing their gods goes a long way.
I had one at about twelve weeks so I have a picture of the lima bean. I also let my original clinic use doppler at every checkup. If I had it to do over I wouldn't permit any of it. I could tell Bonnie didn't like the doppler, she would leap to the other side of me every time they started chasing her with it. Keep standing up for your baby. You are doing the right thing. They really learn very little useful from ultrasound and most of it they can learn from less intrusive methods.
post #5 of 90
Well actually the AAP, I think it's them, does not recommend routine ultrasounds. Ultrasounds have never been proven safe, and in lab mice they changed cell growth at a fraction of the power used on human babies. That gives people something to think about. My best reply to well-meaning people: It's none of your business.
post #6 of 90
The American Medical Association does not recommend us's for determining the sex of the child, determing the gestational age of the child, or for any normal pregnancy.

At my first prenatal visit for #3 the Dr. ordered an us to determine gestational age because he said I felt too small. After doing some research I decided no way (It doesn't get more mainstream or allopathic than the AMA). Then I ended up in the ER with severe pain in my back on the right. After ruling out my kidney, an ultrasound was ordered to see if I had an ectopic pregnancy. I asked the technician to make it quick, she got offended and proceeded to try to get the baby (who is in the right place) to move around by using the sound waves. I almost lost my mind. I could care less about a picture of the baby (in which I can't tell what is what anyway) if it might endanger my child.
Anyway, I didn't feel justified in getting the first ultrasound because it was for a frivolous reason. I didn't want to die from an exploded fallopian tube either, so the one I did have made sense to me.
When people ask about future us, I tell them that I am not convinced they are safe.
post #7 of 90
there's not adequate research to show they're safe in the long term; ie. theorised link to hearing damage


possible damage to eggs of a female fetus

But...if you do end up getting one, they can do a "quick" version of it instead of the long tour.
post #8 of 90
I regret I didn't do any research about US's before having one at 19 weeks with my DS. Well, we wanted a "picture" of our baby as (most) everybody else, right? It happens that they saw a cyst on the baby's brain (which we later found in our research that it's perfectly normal) and they made it sound like a perfect match for a genetic problem (Downs or trisomy 18) because of my "old" age (I was 31!) they were about ready to perform an amnio that same afternoon (yikes!) Needless to say we ran away from the hospital and (I) spent the next few days crying. After that "incident" and after doing my research about the subject I decided to forget about it for the baby's sake and have a happy rest of my pregnancy. My DS is now almost 2 1/2 and he is perfectly healthy. If I ever get pregnant again, I will most definitely keep my unborn baby away from hospitals in all respects.
post #9 of 90
If you think it's hard explaining your US refusal as is, try being in one of the major high risk categories: LOL! I'm a type 1 diabetic, and in diabetics, US are done very frequently, but you know what? I don't do an US when I'm preggers unless there is a very specific purpose and intended outcome and unless I am absolutely certain the benefits clearly outweigh any known or unknown risks. Anyway, try explaining that LOL!
post #10 of 90
I find myself in the same position of always needing to explain why we haven't had an u/s and it's very annoying. There are all kinds of things you could say like the only real action you could take from u/s info. would be termination and you're not prepared to do that, etc. but there isn't really any point. It seems that about 99% of women have them these days and to tell any of them that u/s aren't actually safe just makes them defensive and worried. I find it refreshing and reassuring when I get the chance to speak to older women, like grandmas at playgroup, because they didn't have them either and are supportive of my choice.
Ultimately, you know you're doing the best thing for your baby so just stick to it.
post #11 of 90
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the support and encouragement everyone, it is good to hear from like-minded women. I know I'm doing the right thing for my babe but sometimes my family/friends can make me have doubts. I guess this is just the beginning of choosing my own path to AP parenting. My new mantra: I'm the mom so I get final say.
post #12 of 90

I hear you...

my battle was with my MIL about having a midwife instead of a Doctor. I have had a "high risk pregnancy" complete with a miscarried twin and hemorhaging, and finally stopped picking up the phone during the crucial times of this pregnancy, because I had to field questions like "what did you do?", and "don't you want a real doctor to look out for you?".

My DH and I would make up lies to give her like "well actually, we have installed a 24 hour monitor in Cheryl's vagina that will track the growth and developement completely..." . Of course we never told her that, but it sure felt good to laugh when we were already stressed out enough ourselves without having to answer to questions like that!

EDD is now 11/29, so we must have done something right to get this far!

Good luck.
post #13 of 90
Wow I had No idea U/S may not be safe!
post #14 of 90
My husband and I are both chiropractors who come from very "mainstream" families. We plan to do a lot of things differently with our children. At first, we were very vocal about our different choices. Since we were met with battles by well-meaning, but ill-informed people, we have learned to be a bit more quiet. As far as the US is concerned, it has come up. In both of our families, a "research" type answer combined with emotional understanding works best. We have made statements like this: "Well, research shows that there is really not a medical need for US. Often, when they are performed, women are worried unneccesarily by false-positive results. Although I would love a picture of my baby, I am just not ready to risk the anxiety of a picture that is false-positive for Down's or something else. If something changes in my pregnancy, and it seems that there is a medical need, I will not hesitate to have an US." That seems to pacify them. I think that they just need to know that I am not being too "radical" about the whole thing.

post #15 of 90
I agree with the pacifying strategy...in my first pregnancy I just said we weren't going to have one unless there was a medical need and most of the family/friends were cool with that. Esp. the family since most of them remember before U/S. Of course, then it did get complicated at the end and I had a bunch. And this time I had 30+ u/s...but I got a live baby out of it. But with a normal pregnancy, right back to none again.

post #16 of 90
Julie, nothing is definitive about US right now, but if you are interested in the less-common opinion, you might want to do a search on the Mothering site. Mothering recently had an issue with some big articles about US.
post #17 of 90

U/S research and handling comments

The following is some research I've done on ultrasound. Whnever approached about it, I just always say the U/s hasn't been shown to improve outcomes in studies. Usually shuts them up right away.

Weighing the Propaganda against Facts

The use of ultrasound is big business, with lots of marketing. Women have been led to believe their baby’s well-being is ensured by ultrasound scans for early detection of problems. That is not necessarily so, and there are a number of studies which show that early detection can be harmful.

Miscarriage & Preterm Labor
A 1990 Michigan study: 57 women at risk for preterm labor were studied. Half had weekly ultrasounds, half had standard care.
Preterm labor was more than doubled in the ultrasound group – 52% - compared with 25% in the controls. Although the numbers were small the difference was unlikely to emerge by chance.

A 1990 Helsinki study: 9,000 women were studied. 4000 were scanned at 16-20 weeks, 5000 weren’t scanned at all. 20 miscarriages occurred in the scanned group and none in the controls.

A 1993 London study: 2475 women studied. Half had Doppler ultrasound exams of the umbilical and uterine arteries at 19-22 weeks and at 32 weeks. The other half had no Doppler ultrasound. There were 19 perinatal deaths of normal infants in the Doppler group. Only 4 deaths in the no Doppler group.

A 1990 Helsinki study: if an ultrasound technician were pregnant, handling the ultrasound equipment for more than 20 hours a week significantly increased the risk of miscarriage. Also the risk of miscarriage occurring after the tenth week was significantly increased for deep heat therapies given for more than five hours per week and ultrasound more than ten hours per week.

Diagnosing Placenta Previa
The 1st 1990 Helsinki study also revealed: Of the 4000 women scanned at 16-20 weeks, 250 had a placenta previa diagnosis, a potentially life threatening condition for mother and baby . At delivery only 4 of the 250 diagnosed women actually had placenta previa. Interestingly in the unscanned group there were also four women with placenta previa. Sadly 246 women underwent an unnecessary cesarean section and spent their pregnancies worrying about the surgery and possibility of sudden hemorrhage.

Detecting Infant Defects & Growth Retardation
A Norway study: 36 babies with hernias, abdominal wall defects, bladder extrophy, and meningomyelocele were studied. Only 13 of the 36 were detected before birth (36%), even though mothers had an average 5 ultrasound scans.
~3 of the 13 properly diagnosed babies died after birth. Only 1 of the 23 undiagnosed died.
~ All 13 diagnosed were delivered by cesarean. 19 of the 23 undiagnosed had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery.
~ The 13 diagnosed had lower birth weights and 2 weeks shorter gestation. Although the diagnosed received surgery earlier than the undiagnosed, outcomes were the same. Knowing about defects in advance did not benefit these babies. More of them died, were delivered sooner, had lower weights, & longer hospital stay.

A 1998 German study: out of 2378 scanned pregnancies (average 4.7 scans ) , only 58 of the 183 growth retarded babies were diagnosed before birth. 45 infants were wrongly diagnosed as being growth retarded. Only 28 of the 72 severely retarded babies were detected before birth. 74% of the diagnosed babies were delivered by cesarean, while only 30% of the undiagnosed were, with pre-term delivery being more frequent in the cesarean group. Intensive care admission rate was 3 times higher in the diagnosed group.

Emotional Impact
Not bonding with or loving the fetus for fear they may have to part with it.

Abortion, especially devastating if a diagnoses was wrong and the baby was normal and healthy.

Seeing the baby as defected, even if it was born healthy and normal.

Additional Risks
Because ultrasound has been developed rapidly without proper evaluation it is extremely difficult to prove subtle effects. Nonetheless:
A 1984 American study: Compared with a control group children who had not been exposed to ultrasound, aged 7-12, those exposed were more likely to have dyslexia and have been admitted to the hospital in childhood.

A 1993 Calgary study: Compared 72 children with delayed speech of unknown cause with 142 controls who were similar in demographics. The children with speech problems were twice as likely as controls to have been exposed to ultrasound in the womb. Note that the scanners used in the study emitted very low doses of ultrasound – lower than exposures emitted from machines nowadays.

Studies are now underway to examine the effects of scans on I.Q., attention span, organ & ear abnormalities, fertility, & other behaviors.
Adapted by Amy Jones from Ultrasound? Unsound and http://www.midwiferytoday.com/librar...les/ultrasound both by Beverly Lawrence Beech and Jean Robinson

Ultrasound Weighing the Propoganda against the Facts Miscarriage & Preterm Labor : diagnosing placneta previa detecting infant defects & growth retardation emotional impact additional risks
post #18 of 90
This is really disturbing stuff.
I've already turned down the triple screen and the amnio, which already has everyoneI know thinking I am a nut case since I am a 39 year old crone.
I was thinking I'd have the high-res ultrasound, but after reading all this I feel unsure.
Is it safe and ok to have NOTHING at all?
Not even the doppler? Hearing that heartbeat has meant so much to me, but I don't want to do it again if it isn't safe.
Can I just have faith the baby is ok?
AARGH. These are hard decisions.
post #19 of 90

no ultrasound

you need to go with what's at your comfort level. Personally I'm forgoing u/s and doppler and using fetoscope only except during labor i'll use a doppler. If there's no improved outcome, what's the point? And there's no point even discussing it with other people unless they're genuinly curious.

post #20 of 90


First off, of course it is safe and okay to have nothing at all! Millions of babies have been born with no prenatal tests. Your mom probably didn't have you scanned. If you really feel nervous about not having one, then have it. Personally I didn't enjoy having them and found that just getting them done made me anxious. The decision is yours. You are a mom now, so you will be making lots of decisions, but I expect a mature, beautiful fruitful goddess like yourself can handle it.
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