Ultrasound - yes or no? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 37 Old 08-10-2011, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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With my last pregnancy I didn't have any, but this time I can't make up my mind. On the one hand, an anatomy scan before a HB would be nice, and I've been feeling rather apathetic about my whole pregnancy so far so seeing the baby and knowing the gender might help with that. On the other hand.....I just don't want to. No particular reason, although I suspect it has a lot to do with just dealing with the medical establishment in general. I do believe there is a slight risk, but honestly don't think one scan, especially at 25ish weeks, is the end of the world. My MW really doesn't care either way, but we don't have a completely solid due date, and I've been measuring a little small, so I thought maybe I should. Not that dating is terribly accurate at this point, anyway. My insurance will cover it 100%, though. I just made an appointment for Friday afternoon, but I'm still not sure I want to go.

 

Anyone else who hasn't had an ultrasound yet/doesn't plan to have one? Am I completely nuts here? I just really don't want to go. Like toddler, arms crossed, stomping my feet, don't want to. But for some reason I made the appointment...


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#2 of 37 Old 08-10-2011, 03:37 PM
 
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Pregnancy 1 - had 2 ultrasounds, 1 early and then 1 where we found out her gender

 

Pregnancy 2 - had 1 ultrasound where we found out her gender

 

Pregnancy 3 - no ultrasound

 

Pregnancy 4 - no ultrasound until labor when he had to be turned - we did not find out the gender until he was born

 

Pregnancy 5 - several ultrasounds including at the high-risk OB

 

Pregnancy 6 (this one) - I am very high risk and have had 6 or so ultrasounds so far - though I am not seeing the high-risk OB this time for various reasons.

 

It is fun to shop for baby clothes ahead of time, but it was also very exciting not finding out the gender until the baby was born.  All things being equal, I would opt NOT to have an ultrasound.  Though I have enjoyed getting to see this little one and the reassurance that she is doing well, I always feel bad subjecting her to the ultrasound. 

 

 


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#3 of 37 Old 08-10-2011, 05:12 PM
 
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I'd get it if for no other reason than seeing them on the screen!  Even if you don't find out the sex, it gives the whole pregnancy a different feel having seen their sweet little face and movements, also the reassurance of things being on track.  But, of course, if you really are feeling that stubborn about it (and you are not high risk) then don't get it.  ::shrugs::  In the long run, it probably doesn't matter.    Hang in there!

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#4 of 37 Old 08-10-2011, 06:08 PM
 
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I could have written your post, OP!  I feel exactly the same about it. I just don't want to. Some of it is mild concern over the effects on the baby, and some of it is not wanting to go and deal with the place that would do it.  I'm having a UC and have been doing my own prenatal care though, so my insurance doesn't even know I'm pregnant.

 

I have never found out the sex. In 4 pregnancies, I've had only 1 ultrasound (with the first, at 20 weeks, for dating- because I had only just found out I was pregnant).  I thought I might like to know with this one, but it turns out... I didn't want to know badly enough to actually go and do it.  If my husband felt strongly about finding out, I would go, but otherwise... meh.  I'll meet this baby and find out then if it's a boy or girl just like I did the others.


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#5 of 37 Old 08-10-2011, 06:20 PM
 
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I got 2 last time (20 week standard, and one at the end as part of a biophysical profile that wrongly diagnosed my son with IUGR...). Did not find out gender.

 

Not planning on getting an ultrasound this time. We don't have insurance, don't want to find out the gender, and I think there are some risks or unknowns to getting one, not to mention a lot of false positives where something looks wrong or suspicious and then after a ton more testing ($$$ we don't have) or waiting it turns out to be fine.


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#6 of 37 Old 08-10-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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This is my first pregnancy and I had one ultrasound at 20 weeks just for the heck of it. Hubby wanted to find out the gender and I was really having difficulty with apathy up to that point too, so I ended up really having a great time seeing the baby and connecting with her in that way. I'm 100% happy we found out the gender ahead of time and were able to have that reassurance that she looks perfectly healthy and my placenta and such are ideally positioned. However, we ended up having another ultrasound a few weeks after that because the doctor wasn't able to get one scan of her heart that he wanted during the first U/S because she wouldn't move into the right position... so we just went along with it. We ended up getting some priceless 3D photos at that time out of the blue, but I kind of regret having gotten more than one ultrasound. It wasn't necessary if you ask me. The doctor wasn't even concerned that anything would be wrong with her heart. I didn't realize at the time that ultrasounds had such an effect on the baby until I read this poster in my chiropractor's office and I wanted to cry. Maybe I'm just paranoid now, but I don't want to subject my current or future babies to any more than one U/S in utero now that I know it stresses out the baby. greensad.gif I'm still all for that one anatomy ultrasound, though! smile.gif I honestly couldn't have felt this connected to the baby if we hadn't done it. I've had such a difficult time during pregnancy, I'd be out of my MIND if I didn't have that little pick-me-up.

 

Do whatever feels right for you!!! You're not nuts at all. Don't do anything you're not comfortable with or feel is unnecessary. It's your baby, your body, your pregnancy!


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#7 of 37 Old 08-11-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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Meesh- that was me too.  I was going to go as natural as possible this pregnancy and forgo the u/s.  But my apathy and general depressed mood about the pregnancy was not good so I decided to get one early on to see if I could get my head in the game better and deal with the m/s better.  It sort of helped, but looking back I could have done without it- only time improved my mood.  Then we debated and debated about the anatomy scan.  We knew we didn't want to find out the gender so really it was to see if everything was healthy and get some pictures.  If I'm perfectly honest with myself, though, it was more for the pictures.  I was feeling badly that dd an ds both have u/s pics of them but then poor number three won't.  I just don't want to go into this leaving #3 out of things.  I know that I can't do everything the same with #3 as I have with the first two, but I can strive to make some things the same.  Anyway, I am glad that we got the pictures, but the experience was not great.  We had to take both the kids with us and dh had to hold a crying ds the whole time and dd kept doing things she should have been doing.  It was largely annoying and made dh mad b/c he finally had to leave the room with ds when he wouldn't calm down.  I didn't enjoy the process even a fraction of the amount I enjoyed dd's u/s. 

 

So my feeling on the matter is, go with your gut and if you think it won't really be worth it then don't go, you're probably right.


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#8 of 37 Old 08-11-2011, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's pretty much how I feel, too, Jaimee. We have no US pics with DS, so I'd feel weird if both of the other two had them (I had the anatomy scan with DD). And I know there's no way DS will sit through it. DD maybe; she really wants to know the gender. So does DH, which is pretty much the only reason I've even considered it. I don't want to know the gender, but I strong-armed my way on that last time, so I thought maybe I'd give in and find out. And it would be easier to be able to buy some clothes, etc.

 

I'm still considering cancelling the appointment, honestly. We'll see.


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#9 of 37 Old 08-12-2011, 10:29 AM
 
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I didn't have any ultrasounds with DS, and I never wanted any.  I was never worried that there was anything "wrong" with him, and it was wonderful finding out his sex at birth.

 

This time I felt differently.  I had to/ chose to have 3 early ultrasounds (5, 8, and 12 weeks) because of a huge ovarian cyst that was giving me trouble early on.  I strongly felt that the danger that a 10cm cyst posed to my baby was a lot greater than ultrasound exposure.  

 

Then I decided to have the 20-week ultrasound for a few reasons.  First, I decided that an anatomy scan would be a good idea.  Second, up until then, I was having a really hard time with the reality of my pregnancy not sinking in.  I got pregnant so fast that I didn't really believe I was going to have a baby.  Not that I was worried something was going to go wrong, just that I couldn't picture myself holding my baby.  I didn't know if having another ultrasound would help, but I thought it might.  Third, I had a dream where I found out I was having another boy and I was upset.  This dream made me feel really guilty because I didn't think I should have a preference.  DH and I both thought it would be good to find out the sex so I would have time to get used to the idea if it was a boy and if I was really upset about it.

 

As it turns out, having the ultrasound and finding out the sex did help immensely in making the pregnancy real for me (starting to feel regular movement helped a lot too, though, I think).  I'm glad I got it. :)

 

But I say go with your gut.  If you strongly feel that you don't want this ultrasound, don't get it, and don't let anyone pressure you into it.  I'm a big believer in following what your body and your instincts tell you about a situation.

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#10 of 37 Old 08-12-2011, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I decided to  go through with it. It's a boy! My DD burst into tears when she found out, lol. She seems to have gotten over it fairly quickly, but I am glad we found out now so she has some time to adjust to the idea of another brother. Poor thing really, really wanted a sister.

 

Baby looked good, measured bigger than I expected (great, I get to pop out another 9 lb-er), but did not appreciate the ultrasound very much. And there was an awkward moment where the US tech told me a horror story about a homebirth mom in our community who ended up contracting Strep A and losing all her limbs. (I've met her; she was colonized with Strep A, didn't know it, giving birth gave it a way in; would've happened no matter where she gave birth.) Other than that, and the fact that the kids screamed in the lobby with DH most of the time, lol, it wasn't too bad.


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#11 of 37 Old 08-12-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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Hmmm... thats a good question. I think if you didnt have one before with you last, why spend the money on co pays and all that jazz. If I had never had one I might not get it. I have a 3d today, which i didnt have with any other pregnancy, I was very disappointed with the quality of it. I dont feel that I would be missing anything.

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#12 of 37 Old 08-12-2011, 08:40 PM
 
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I wouldn't get one unless I felt strongly that I should for some reason.  I am against unnecessary testing -- not worth the stress on the baby and the parents, as a pp said, a misdiagnosis could result in a worry-filled pregnancy -- which isn't healthy for any of you.

 

That said, if you think it will help you connect with your baby/pregnancy and enjoy it more, then I think that's reason enough to go for it.

 

Both of my pregnancies I planned home births, had no ultrasounds, and went into labor at 35 weeks.  With my first I allowed them to do an ultrasound when I arrived at the hospital in labor (I didn't want to know the gender, though).  With my second I refused the ultrasound.

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#13 of 37 Old 08-12-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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My two cents...  Yes for the following reasons:

 

1.  I am planning a birth center birth, and I feel reassured knowing that the baby passed the anatomy scan with flying colors.  Placenta nice and high, cord looks good, no obvious heart or other birth defects, etc. 

2. After a difficult pregnancy (no complications, just lots of unpleasant symptoms) and a prior loss, I really allowed myself to get excited about this baby after the ultrasound.  It was magical to see her swimming around in there, and it really helped me and my husband start the bonding process.  Somehow more so than the ultrasound I had in my easy first pregnancy.

 

Everyone is different, of course.  And it helped that the birth center arranges for a traveling tech to come to their office once a week so I didn't have to mess with going somewhere else.

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#14 of 37 Old 08-13-2011, 08:40 PM
 
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Congrats on your baby boy!  Your poor dd, though... I know that's how my dd will be, too, if we end up having another boy.


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#15 of 37 Old 08-13-2011, 09:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meesh933 View Post

So I decided to  go through with it. It's a boy! My DD burst into tears when she found out, lol. She seems to have gotten over it fairly quickly, but I am glad we found out now so she has some time to adjust to the idea of another brother. Poor thing really, really wanted a sister.

 

Baby looked good, measured bigger than I expected (great, I get to pop out another 9 lb-er), but did not appreciate the ultrasound very much. And there was an awkward moment where the US tech told me a horror story about a homebirth mom in our community who ended up contracting Strep A and losing all her limbs. (I've met her; she was colonized with Strep A, didn't know it, giving birth gave it a way in; would've happened no matter where she gave birth.) Other than that, and the fact that the kids screamed in the lobby with DH most of the time, lol, it wasn't too bad.


Sorry, I somehow missed this when I posted earlier.  I'm glad you got some clarity about the size, etc.  Sorry the tech was so unprofessional!  Geesh!

 

My dd only wanted girls too, but she totally adores her little brother.  She's 4.5 and he's almost 2 and they play so nicely much of the time.  There are few things as amazing and wonderful as sibling love.

 

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#16 of 37 Old 08-14-2011, 05:53 AM
 
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Hey, your post made the featured threads on the Mothering homepage! 


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#17 of 37 Old 08-14-2011, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Cool! I didn't even see that!


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#18 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 04:41 AM
 
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What did the poster in your chiropractor's office say? I wasn't really able to find any reliable statement on risks last pregnancy, although I didn't find terribly many reassurances they were safe, either. My OB kept promising he'd show me some research on how innocuous they were, but never came through.

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#19 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 05:47 AM
 
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I had two ultrasounds with the first pregnancy, I didn't know anything about them and never researched them. I'm avoiding all ultrasounds this time around, I wrote about the reasons why here. We're not finding out the gender and we're comfortable with that. For me personally when the baby started kicking at all times of day like crazy, any hint of apathy went away. I measure small with all pregnancies, but I'm 5'2" and 100 lbs - it's silly for them to say I should be bigger!

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#20 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 06:24 AM
 
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Quote:
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I had two ultrasounds with the first pregnancy, I didn't know anything about them and never researched them. I'm avoiding all ultrasounds this time around, I wrote about the reasons why here. We're not finding out the gender and we're comfortable with that. For me personally when the baby started kicking at all times of day like crazy, any hint of apathy went away. I measure small with all pregnancies, but I'm 5'2" and 100 lbs - it's silly for them to say I should be bigger!



Wow, thanks for compiling all that research!

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#21 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 07:04 AM
 
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Sorry AnaB, I agree that we should be very careful in what we except as OK just because the doc says so. BUT with do respect I also think that some of these forums do more harm in promoting scare tactics. I clicked on all the links in your text that you linked to the studies you show overlap so at first when I saw all the links and thought oh my but most of them link to the same articles. All with quotes taken out of context and posted on different web sites. Most of the studies are from the mid 90'ies and if we where literally frying our kids brains for the past 15 years you would think there would have been more concluding studies done or even better evidence of that fact. My first child had around 15 ultrasounds (do to my wife measuring small and low fluid in the first month) he came out on the dd at 7lb14oz and is a very bright right handed child, he has 95 percentile growth rate and he started walking early. My Second had a routine 4-5 ultrasounds and came out 10lb2oz very bright right handed baby, walked early and both are in the best of health at 2&4.

 

What caught my attention about the studies was that the animals where given between 15min and 4hours! of ultrasound and the one study stated that usual ultrasound in the hospital last an hour. That is simply not true. I was at all of my children's ultra sounds and the longest lasted 3 minutes. The 3 minutes where interrupted and the wand moves around and exposes different parts of the baby for limited time. My wife is an ER doctor and uses ultrasound in anything from some chest pains to abdominal pains, these studies take under 2min. and give very precise imaging for diagnosing very serious problems. My point being that yes if you hold an ultrasound wand to your head everyday for a couple of hours while you watch TV then it will have a bad effect.

 

Imaging of any kind should be limited and the same goes for ultrasound but 2-3 ultrasounds of 3 minutes based on the articles you posted I doubt very much will hurt a baby.

 

We didn't want to know the gender but it was very evident in both cases and even a novice like me could see it. It was nice to see the heart beat and some features it made it all real especially with the first one.

 

Niels

 

 

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#22 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 07:21 AM
 
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Imaging of any kind should be limited and the same goes for ultrasound but 2-3 ultrasounds of 3 minutes based on the articles you posted I doubt very much will hurt a baby.

 


The problem is we don't know this.  I don't see any basis for faulting people who choose to be conservative about ultrasound use.  I had perfectly healthy babies with no ultrasound, so my anecdotal evidence points to them being an unnecessary test in most cases.  I think it is absurd for the medical community to routinely perform 4-5 ultrasounds on each fetus because "we think they aren't harmful" even if they have no reason to believe the ultrasound is medically necessary.

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#23 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 08:40 AM
 
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Quote:
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 My first child had around 15 ultrasounds (do to my wife measuring small and low fluid in the first month) he came out on the dd at 7lb14oz and is a very bright right handed child, he has 95 percentile growth rate and he started walking early. My Second had a routine 4-5 ultrasounds and came out 10lb2oz very bright right handed baby, walked early and both are in the best of health at 2&4.

 

 

 

This just made me chuckle because my DS didn't have any ultrasounds, he is left-handed, and he walked at 16 months, lol.

 

What's the deal with the right-handedness anyway?  Do people really prefer that their children be right-handed?  Why does anyone care about this?  DH and I are both left-handed.  Despite the minor inconvenience of bumping elbows at a tight dinner table and getting ink on my hand when I write, I don't mind it at all.
 

 

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#24 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 08:43 AM
 
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Maybe it might help with the apathy component.  Get you to connect with the baby more.  And perhaps get some comfort around baby's size if you're measuring small.  I think one US at this stage wouldn't be a problem.  With my first, we had monthly US due to my high risk.  With DD2, we only got 2, one early and one at 8 mos, and the second one was only because we requested it (I pulled the age card to get it covered).  I loved seeing my daughters in my tummy.  Even though I was feeling connected, it was a bit harder with the second one because DD1 was so time consuming sometimes it was hard to realize I was pg.  So I'd say go for it and enjoy the view.

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#25 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 09:16 AM
 
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The anti-U/S poster in my chiropractor's office said something scary about the high level of sound waves and relating it to the sound of glass breaking, which is also stated on that webpage one of the members on this thread noted. It made me want to cry to think that we could've been exposing our baby to something so uncomfortable, likened to something "excruciating" in how it was described. Fetus' have sad and uncomfortable looking facial expressions on ultrasounds in general because of their wrinkly underdeveloped features, so when I looked back at our 3D U/S photos, I was even more saddened just because I was paranoid she looked "pained" from the sound waves. I would've rather not had that idea planted in my head, especially since the theory is speculative rather than confirmed. I still err on the side of caution and wouldn't have any ultrasounds performed on my babies before the 20-week anatomy scan unless medically necessary, regardless of how safe or dangerous U/S are said to be earlier on. During the crucial 1st trimester developmental stage, I am too nervous to do anything that could disrupt my babies' development. But past that, I'm not going to be too hard on myself for having had 2 U/S, one at 20 and the other at 23 weeks. To each his/her own! I say whatever a person is comfortable with, go for it.


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#26 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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I had way too many last time.  I had some bleeding early on (6 wks) it was my first pregnancy and I was so nervous.  I was also with an Ob/Gyn at this time so of course they did an u/s.  I had a subchorionic hematoma and they wanted to keep doing u/s every few weeks to make sure it was ok.  Then I also had the 20 wk scan and then I switched to a midwife and didn't have any more.  

 

This pregnancy, I don't want to find out the gender and am using a midwife again so the only u/s I would have would be the 20 wk anatomy.  I'm concerned about the risks to the baby. Although I would love to do it for my piece of mind, and knowing my baby was healthy.  Another reason is IF the baby is a boy, I will catch some flack for not circumcising him and I know people will be asking me about it if they know I'm having a boy.  So I figure it would just be easier to not know until the baby is born.  I'm pretty sure I've got my DH to understand that there is no way in HELL I'm circumcising any child of mine, but still I just don't feel like going through the stress of even talking about it and I know once he sees/holds the baby he would never want to harm it.


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#27 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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How about cancelling the appointment and seeing how you feel after a couple of days?  If you're relieved and not focusing on it, great, skip it.  It doesn't sound like you have a particularly compelling need for one medically.  If you're still thinking about it a lot and worrying after cancelling it, then maybe you'd feel better actually having it done.

 

W/ my first pregnancy (twins) I had what seemed like a million ultrasounds, starting at the beginning of our 2nd trimester when we discovered the twin pregnancy.  I didn't really know any better; that was what my medical providers said I should do, so that's what I did.  W/ my DD2 (HBAC) I did have one at about 21 weeks to check the placenta placement and uterine scar, sort of recommended by my midwife but she wasn't insistent either way.  I didn't feel like it was too much of a risk at that point in the pregnancy.   I did refuse earlier ultrasounds when we were doing concurrent care (we wanted the option of transferring to a hospital that "allowed" VBACS just in case so needed to be established as patients).  They wanted to do an ultrasound the first time I went in, because (it seemed) I was there and so was the equipment.  Um, no thanks.  The assistant just couldn't believe that we didn't want to see the baby!


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#28 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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It is one of the studies on ultrasounds that links brain damage to being left handed. It is only 9% likely for 2 parents that are right handed to have a left handed child. Apparently the number of left handed children with right handed parents is higher among ones that get US and then they linked that to the US giving the child some sort of mild brain damage that caused the left handed.

 

Normal left handed is supposed to be because there are a greater amount of nerve conections between the brain haves and the IQ of left handed is statisticely higher than us right handed folks. I think Einstein was left handed and he was supposed to have the most connections of brains studied.

 

 

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#29 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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I opted for no ultrasound for both of my pregnancies.  With my first daughter, my husband and I had a long conversation with our midwife about ultrasounds and other genetic tests (see my further thoughts at http://thekoalabearwriter.blogspot.com/2007/09/genetic-testing.html).  We decided that we didn't want to know the sex of our child before he/she was born (and lots of people said it was more exciting to find out when the baby is born).  If there were any issues during my pregnancy, we were okay with having an ultrasound to find out more, but didn't feel that the ultrasound in itself was necessary (see more at http://thekoalabearwriter.blogspot.com/2008/02/why-technology.html).  With my second daughter, I explained this to my doctor (we had moved so had a new prenatal caregiver) and she had no problems with our choice to not have the ultrasound.  She couldn't give me any reasons to have the ultrasound.

 

I have done a LOT of research into this issue, both in pregnancy/birth books and online.  I appreciate all the information on the Mothering website about ultrasounds.  At the same time, it's been VERY hard to find information, as there are hardly any studies done about the safety of ultrasounds during pregnancy.  That is one of my concerns.  It seems to me that ultrasounds were simply implemented for use in pregnancy without much testing being done.  Doctors have simply assumed that ultrasounds are safe.  That raises red flags for me.

 

A friend of mine has had big debates with me over this issue, as she is hardcore pro-ultrasound.  Her doctor told her that two babies had died in ultrasound from a heart defect that could have been detected with prenatal ultrasound and then treated.  Basically, if the women had had the ultrasounds, then the babies would have lived.  However, I asked both a midwife (with over twenty years of experience) and a doctor (who had specialized for a while in prenatal care) for a reason to have an ultrasound, and neither of them gave me a reason beyond determining the sex and "making sure everything is okay" -- but they also said that just regular appointments could determine that everything was okay.  I had normal, routine pregnancies both times, no complications at all.

 

I do think this is a choice that every woman should think about and make for herself.  Don't just do it because every other woman is doing it (or because it seems like that) or because your doctor assumes that you'll do it.  Read the information presented here.  Research (Henci Goer's book is a great resource: http://www.hencigoer.com/).  For me, getting used to the way my baby moved inside me -- her unique way of kicking and rolling -- was enough to form a connection between us.  For another woman, the ultrasound picture may help.  Make the choice yours, not someone else's.  :)


Bonnie aka The Koala Bear Writer (mom of Sunshine, 3, and Lilibet, 1)
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#30 of 37 Old 08-16-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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That's interesting, Niels. Both of my parents are left handed, and they produced three right handed children, lol. I've always wondered about how that genetically worked. They are in their late 50's/early 60's, so I can guarantee their parents didn't get ultrasounds, haha. They sure do have exceptional IQ's, though!


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