or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › I'm Pregnant › ultrasound concerns
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

ultrasound concerns - Page 3

post #41 of 90
I have been doing a lot of web surfin these last few weeks about u/s and found the study that's being refered to. It was published in the journal Epidemiology. The title is Sinistrality - a Side-effect of Prenatal Sonography: A Comparative Study of Young Men. I wasn't able to view it directly because you need to subscribe, but they have an abstract about it that gives some details. The website is www.epidem.com/

The reason I've been so concerned about u/s is that I've just found out that one minute of doppler use exposes your baby to an amount equal to 35 minutes of u/s. For me, I am against having an ultrasound done, yet we tried the doppler on my first prenatal visit just to hear the heartbeat. I ended up having the equivilent to 1hour and 45 minutes of u/s! I knew it had some risk attached, but I never imagined how much. I urge you to think twice next time they start gelling up your belly.
post #42 of 90
: yikes! I had no idea that doppler use was dangerous. I have to admit though, that I always wondered alittle about it since I HAD heard that u/s is dangerous. I wondered how the doppler could be much different. I am 24 weeks pregnant and have had the doppler used on me five times already! How can I find out more about the dangers of the use of dopplers ~ ishta, do you remember where you found your information? I'm wondering just how much damage has been done already by 5 uses! Why would a midwife who does not do u/s turn around and freely use doppler?? I had a feeling that I should be researching more aggressively!
post #43 of 90
I had posted this in Alt and Comp Medicine bause I didn't want to freak anyone out in htis forum.
I know how sensitive pregnant mommas to be are and I figured that guilt wasn't going to help any, but as it is here I will repost the link that was in the BBC online:
post #44 of 90
mel- I first found out about it through the "I am sending my babybeat back" thread in this forum. There's a link there to gentlebirth.org that has a little info. It was hard for me to find much more over the web, it seems like it's kept pretty hush hush. I asked my midwife about it during my last visit and she confirmed the 1 min=35 min thing.
I would also love to know more about it if anyone can find anything. To my knowledge there have been no studies on the effect of dopplers.
I think I'll start a seperate thread to see if anyone else has more info.
post #45 of 90

doppler vs. u/s

I'm currently 17 weeks pg w/my second child, and today I had a check up with my ob-gyn; we listened to the baby's heartbeat...which I thought was a non-invasive procedure (hm!)

I'm confused: what's the difference between ultrasound and doppler? Is u/s when you see the image on the screen, and doppler when you just hear sound? Or ???

I only JUST heard today that u/s is *not* a good thing, and that in fact even the designer of u/s said it was not to be used for pregnancy but for other medical purposes (this info, per my chiropractor). So far, I've had one intravaginal u/s, one belly-top u/s, and one [what I guess is] doppler to listen to the heartbeat. I'm scheduled for a Level II Ultrasound in a couple of weeks because I'm "long in the tooth" (39 yrs old), but there's no history of genetic probs in our families. So that would equal 4 such procedures within the first half of the pregnancy.

So, who knows or can point me in the right direction: how much more invasive is a Level II u/s than a regular u/s (if it is more invasive at all) and what kind of damage potentials are we talking about with u/s and/or doppler?

BTW, I had many u/s with my 1st baby, who is now 20 mos old, and there are no (apparent) ill effects that we can tell...but then again, perhaps angels were working overtime for us throughout that pregnancy!

Thanks for any leads / info.
post #46 of 90
I was looking for ultrasound info on the HipMama.com boards, and someone posted this link which offers some good info and other links:

Hope this is helpful.

-We must be the change we wish to see.
post #47 of 90
I can see this issue from both sides. When I was pregnant with my first 6 years ago, I worked in labor in delivery. We were right next to the U/S department & my friend in U/S scanned me several times, just for fun. During one such scan, he kept going back to the heart. He saw something was "off" but wouldn't tell me what it was. He suggested I schedule an official U/S asap. Turns out my son had several life-threatening heart anomalies. If they hadn't been detected by U/S he might have died or suffered severe brain damage before they figured out what was wrong with him after birth. On the other hand, I've always wondered if all those "fun" U/S could have caused the mutation resulting in the heart defects.

With my 2nd son, I had one U/S at 25 weeks to screen for a heart defect. That was it. I avoided U/S like the plage BUT I had to know he was ok before I could birth at the birthing center. He had a beautiful, peaceful birth in stark contrast to the birth of his older brother. (For those who don't know, my 5 y.o. has been through 3 major surgeries & I nearly lost him after the last one, but he is doing really great right now. The light of our lives.)

I am expecting our third baby (15 weeks) & planning a home birth. I am planning to have an U/S again at 25 weeks to screen for heart defects or spinal anomolies (since I don't believe in using the AFP screening). I am comfortable with this compromise. U/S can be used appropriately or it can be misused & over used. I think cautious use is very wise.

Oh, I am also avoiding doppler use. My midwife uses a feta scope. You have to wait a few more weeks before you can hear anything but, you avoid the potential unnecessary risks.
post #48 of 90

Epidemiology article

I am a scientist and can get the article in full, if anyone is interested. It will be too long to post here, but I can send it to anyone who's interested. Or mail it... whatever. Let me know if you're interested and I'll forward it along.

post #49 of 90
I also read about a/the ultrasound study in the Swedish newspapers here and realized then the probable cause of my first son's lefthandedness!! Because of a miscarriage in the 12th week with my first pregnancy I agreed to be part of a university study about the effects of caffiene and more on pregnancy. Mostly this involved hair samples, cord-blood samples, and questionnaires on diet and health history. No big deal. But it also involved two extra ultrasounds. I didn't really know of any dangers at the time and being so worried after the first miscarriage, I was only happy to have the extra u/s. So now my son is four and very definitely lefthanded, which has always struck us as odd as no one else in our family is. So there you go. Interestingly though, the reports on this study in the Swedish news just said that extra ultrasounds tended to make boys lefthanded and there was no mention of brain-damage. Still, scary to think it can do even that!
post #50 of 90
I would be very interested in reading the study in its entirety, Erin.
Thank you.
post #51 of 90
I had posted a question about this under the mammography thread. WOW - I am amazed, but maybe not so amazed : ( that it is true. Well, my first baby I lost due to a major defect - amniotic banding, that was discovered by an OB/GYN/Geneticist (friend's husband) doing one of those just-for-fun ultrasounds. So baby #2 I got a couple ultrasounds to make sure. He's 11 now and perfectly OK, above average intelligence, right-handed, etc. LOL. Baby #3 a decade younger, me a decade older, refused amniocentesis, but agreed to high-level ultrasound, had to go back for a second because the dates/AFP were messed up...baby is also seeming to be of above-average intelligence, ahead developmentally, even-tempered, and is um, left-handed. Course, I work in statistics, also am ambidextrous so go figure.

But...seeing someone started a thread about this, I did a little searching and enclose the following...seems safety of ultrasound and doppler is not really a given. I'm thinking my next baby I will refuse all testing, what's the point if it's not safe...not like I would terminate my pregnancy (though with baby #1 it was good to know not to try to stop a natural miscarriage at 5 months along, and to know what to expect). I only had the one ultrasound so I know that's not what caused the defects, BTW.

Quote to follow, I'm sure there are other articles...but this is from a reputable journal. When they refer to thermal...what they mean is that if the operator stops moving the imaging probe for about 30 seconds, it can heat the bone up and cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Oh that is gross - like microwaving your fetus practically. Oh my! Ultrasounds are not something for just anybody to play around with. I feel better that my doctor sent me to a high-risk pregnancy center where they at least had technicians who were properly trained...but I have heard in other countries, these machines are used by who-knows-who to determine sex of baby. Maybe a lot of misuse by untrained people. Poor babies.

1: J Matern Fetal Med 2001 Apr;10(2):75-84

Guidelines and recommendations for safe use of Doppler ultrasound in perinatal

Barnett SB, Maulik D; International Perinatal Doppler Society.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Lindfield, NSW,
Australia. stan.barnett@tip.csiro.au

Technological development has led to significant improvements in
ultrasonographic capabilities in recent years, and this has been accompanied by
increases in acoustic output. Meanwhile, there is a developing trend to use
ultrasound at early stages of pregnancy when the developing embryo is known to
be highly sensitive to damage by physical agents. The advent of pulsed spectral
Doppler and color flow imaging has revolutionized perinatal applications.
Doppler ultrasound has become widely accepted as a valuable diagnostic tool in
obstetric medicine, where it has particular benefits for high-risk pregnancies.
The benefits of Doppler screening are less well established. United States Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations now provide an option whereby
equipment that provides a form of output display can be used to apply
substantially higher acoustic output to the embryo or fetus than equipment
approved for use under application-specific intensity limits. The Output Display
Standard recently adopted by the FDA, in the USA, encourages self-regulation of
acoustic exposure by the ultrasound user, on the basis of assumed knowledge of
the implications of biophysical interactions. When modern sophisticated
equipment is used at maximum operating settings for Doppler examinations, the
acoustic outputs are sufficient to produce obvious biological effects, e.g.
significant temperature increase in tissue or visible motion of particles due to
radiation pressure streaming effects. The risk of inducing thermal effects is
greater in the second and third trimesters, when fetal bone is intercepted by
the ultrasound beam and significant temperature increase can occur in the fetal
brain. Non-thermal bioeffects may be more significant in early gestation, when
the relatively loosely tethered embryonic tissues are exposed to an ultrasound
beam in a liquid path. The likelihood of producing cavitation-type non-thermal
effects is enhanced by the presence in the sound-field of gas-encapsulated
echo-contrast media. To ensure the continued safe use of ultrasound in
obstetrics, it is important that international ultrasound organizations, such as
the International Perinatal Doppler Society, issue advice to members to allow
sensible assessment of risk: benefit and the practical implementation of the
ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle.

Publication Types:
Practice Guideline

PMID: 11392597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
post #52 of 90
And here is a link to more info that confirms the previous postings in this thread:


post #53 of 90
jjquilter, can I get a copy of the article too?


Thanks in advance

post #54 of 90

Article requests

All right -- after a fairly thorough search of the medical literature, here is what I found:

Searched: Medline 1966 to present

1. The epidemiology article is all about how it is suspected that ultrasound leads to greater incidence of left-handedness among boys. The study was done as a follow up on children around about 10 years ago. I did not consider this relevant to anyone's concerns about u/s being particularly harmful.

2. Most of the other literature I found pertains to how u/s is used to predict fetal abnormalities and what effect this has on the outcome of pregnancies. A few of the articles were sociological ones about what percentage of abnormal fetuses are diagnosed as such and whether a mis-diagnosis causes and increase in rates of abortion. All in all, most of the studies concluded that u/s did more good than harm because it is a good tool for predicting fetal abnormalities, which allows medical people to plan and intervene if necessary.

3. The few references I found to u/s being harmful were inconclusive. One of the pieces of info that I DID find was that the u/s intensity that is used today is much lower than that used ten years ago. So if it was the case the u/s caused problems in children about ten years of age now, the incidence should be lower in babes born today.

As for me, I had my midwives use the fetoscope (like a stethoscope) on me instead of a doppler after I started doing research. Then last Friday night I spent 4 hours hooked up to a doppler to make sure that I wasn't in premature labour. Now, I've just given up. I'm scheduled to have a visual u/s next week because I'm 3 weeks too big for my date. If I make it that long, that is.

Sorry for the disappointing results -- if I find anything of more interest I'll post it.
post #55 of 90
Try Pubmed...that's where I found my articles...moreover, they are recent. Did you have a chance to look them over?

I searched on +'ultrasound' +"prenatal" +"safety"

And various combinations thereof. I only posted the two that were of any relevance to the discussion.

post #56 of 90

ultrasound concerns

i have some questions/concerns regarding the safety of ultrasounds, and since it was brought up in another thread, i thought i'd start one soley about this.

i've been diagnosed with a potentially incompetent cervix. i had my dd via c-section, and during the procedure, the surgeon cut my cervix. it now appears shorter than normal and has scar tissue at the top. my midwife & ob decided to send me to a specialist to determine what exactly it meant. so far, it has been determined that yes, the cervix does not appear normal, but there has been no dilation or effacement, and i've had no pre term delivery symptoms. (though apparently there can be no symptoms at all when ci is involved..but i've also had no bloody show at all, which is a common sign with c.i. cases) however, my doctor wants to keep a close eye on me, and is having me come back every two weeks for an ultrasound on my cervix. so far, i've had 3 cervical ultrasounds, as well as 4 ultrasounds for my baby specifically. so far, the baby looks very healthy, but i've noticed that every time an ultrasound is done, he (or she..) gets very squirmy and moves away from the source of intrusion.

i'm wondering-is having so many ultrasounds done safe for my baby? what exactly are the risks involved? i absolutely do NOT want to put my baby in any danger from the ultrasounds, but i also don't want to lose him/her or have him/her too early due to c.i. so i feel as though i have to continue having this many ultrasounds as a precaution.

does anyone have any advice or know where i can get some good info on this? thanks!
post #57 of 90
I certainly hope I haven't made you nervous by posting about ultrasound. Part of the whole thing is that no one really knows the risks. There hasn't been much study at all considering they are in such wide usage. Mothering did I set of articles on the subject just after my daughter was born, in sept of 2000. You could probably find the magazine at a library and read those articles.

The biggest issue to me is routine ultrasound. There may be some risk, small as it is, and I don't hear docs discussing it with anyone... thay act like it is as harmless as getting your picture taken. And it probably isn't.

In a situtation like yours it is all about risk vs gain. The risk is probably very small and the gain could be considerable. You have a reason for the exams so it makes more sense, in my opinion.

Oh, and I also noticed that my daughter really didn't like the use of the doptone to hear her heartbeat. She would flee from it all over the place while the nurse chased her around my belly. That didn't seem right to me, so I asked more questions. DH and I decided at about 6 months... no more ultrasound, no more doptone, nothing! Then DD stayed breech past 37 weeks and we decided to have an external version... full series ultrasound, continuous fetal monitoring for a couple of hours, the whole nine yards! But at that point we felt the gain of avoiding a section was greater than the potential risk.

Best of luck with your pregnancy!
post #58 of 90
A ultrasound works by soundwaves, not any type of radiation and its perfectly safe. The gel and transducer will not cause any harm , and there have been several studies performed to prove that fact. They were found to be perfectly harmless to both the mother and the child. As each one is harmless then, I doubt if just having a few extra would be cause of alarm. I could be wrong, but in all my research I've always only seen "harmless" proven.

I've had two U/S so far and both times the baby practically "smiled" for the camera. The only time she really got po'd was when the technician made the transducer "jump up and down" on my belly, in the hopes it would make the baby move. Well, she didn't move, stayed sitting on my bladder and put her hands over her hears! So this obviously wasn't from the transducer or the soundwaves (they are inaudible), but just merely from having my belly bounced on.

I've never seen her "run away" or try and squirm from the view. If anything she performs for it and enjoys getting looked at. I'm sure every u/s will go differently for every person because we all have to realize that the babies temperament has already begun while in the womb. And he/she will react differently at different times. It really isn't anything from the U/S itself that makes the child squirm, its just the fact that the transducer is "pressing" down slightly and making her maybe move when she was happy right where she is. Babies will have their cranky days, their actives days and their sleepy days in the womb, and sometimes they just don't want to be bothered!

Also, I think the mothers reaction has a lot to do with how the baby is reacting. If the mother feels nervous, or worried or slightly irritated, the child gets the idea and acts accordingly. Often by having an increased heartbeat themselves and getting squirmy and irritable.

But thats just my two cents on the topic. I don't think there is any real harm in getting them done, except for one they are done and the results aren't full explained to a momma and then she gets upset and thinks something is wrong with her baby when there is actually no need for concern! The lack of explaination from the technician/obs really pisses me off sometimes.

Good puck!
post #59 of 90
I would be very interested to see a study that proves ultrasound is perfectly safe as the only ones I have ever seen were either inconclusive or showed some potential for harm. Of course ultrasound is not radiation. It is physically tangible pulses of sound. Ultrasound can be and has been used as a weapon. At high levels it can stun healthy adults into unconciousness. The ultrasound used on pregnant women is not only undertested but every couple of years a new machine comes out that is 'higher resolution' which really just means more ultrasound when the levels already in use have not been proven safe.
post #60 of 90
Quote edited due to copyright issues

The higher resolution comes with a higher resolution monitor. It is like your own computer, high resolution, the higher the resolution, the better your monitor, your colors...etc, etc. But it has no affect on your CPU. They function seperately, and combined create a good system.

The thermal question is this: the babies skull, and bones can be heated with prolonged use of a U/S. But even this has not been proven to cause injury.

U/S have been in use for 25 years or so. If they were TRULY damaging to the fetus they wouldn't be in use anymore, I think. They ban drugs and poor equipement all the time. I refuse to believe if the damage was permanent and serious and directly caused by the use of U/S they wouldn't be trying to come up with better systems all the time, and instead would just discontinue the use of any and all machines.

But I cannot prove they are completely harmless, no more than someone else can prove that they are harmful. The fact remains, every baby born where I live in the past 25 years were given U/S exposure at least twice during their time in the womb. Life expectancy as risen, infant mortality has gone down, as have infant defects, miscarriage, birth complications.

I'm not trying to get on anyone's nerves I'm just stating my opinion and everyone has a right to their own without having to be right about their opinion. I may not be right about mine, I may not be wrong.

IMO, I think the benefits of a couple routine U/S during a pregnancy FAR outweigh any small risks that there could be. I think unneeded stress and worry of wondering how your fetus is doing, could be more harmful to their emotional well-being than getting a u/s performed a few times during pregnancy. Plus, some miscarriages, infant defects, and risks during childbirth can be pre-determined and changed for the benefit of the child and mother. I just think that going the whole pregnancy without at least 1 u/s to make sure the baby is developing is too worrisome on the parents.

Perhaps one every two weeks is too much. Especially if they are going to continue throughout the entire pregnancy. I recognize in myself that just before a u/s I'd get anxious and nervous. But once I saw my baby and everything was said to be normal, I walked away happy in the knowledge my baby was developing physically normal. And I seriously doubt that will change because of the couple u/s I've had. If the doctor wants to continue u/s for every two months until you deliver, I'd sit him down and have a talk with him. Perhaps u/s during once visit, and a physical during the next. Something so that the u/s don't become too overbearing and put more stress on you.

Anyways, this is again my two cents, and my last two cents on this topic as I'm not into arguing my point to try and make myself right, especially as I know in this case, there is no positive right or wrong.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: I'm Pregnant
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › I'm Pregnant › ultrasound concerns