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-   -   Ultrasounds this early (http://www.mothering.com/forum/17585-february-2015-due-date-club/1427170-ultrasounds-early.html)

happyday8598 06-28-2014 07:01 AM

Ultrasounds this early
 
I've noticed a lot of women who have had their first appointments already, and have already had an ultrasound.
My last baby was 13 years ago... I had an ultrasound with him probably at the halfway point...
Is it now "standard" procedure to have an early ultrasound?

I had always been cautioned about having "too" many, if any at all... are they safer now a days?

alivewithyou 06-28-2014 07:18 AM

I am having one today (and obviously I am very super early) because my fertility specialist wants to confirm that the baby isn't ectopic or anything before sending me on to a regular OB/GYN. My regular doctor was going to make me wait until 10 weeks but because of my anxiety and previous miscarriage they are going to see me just shy of 8 weeks.

I am not convinced one way or the other on ultrasounds.. personally. I think that my anxiety is much more dangerous.

murrelet 06-28-2014 08:32 AM

Here, you rarely get an early ultrasound unless you unsure of your dates. If you're over 35 you can get the Nuchal Translucency scan. I think it's between 10-14 weeks? Otherwise you're usually just offered the 20 week anatomy scan.

jodieanneanton 06-28-2014 09:31 AM

In my area, it is pretty common to have an early "dating scan" and a 20 week "anatomy scan." Some Drs. here offer more than that as routine.

After reading quite a few articles on u/s technology, I have decided that I am not personally comfortable with the risks. So, I will be forgoing u/s technology (including doppler) during this pregnancy unless a medical indication arises. I wish that u/s was offered with a little more caution and consideration of the possible risks and the fact that routine use is not recommended by ACOG because it does not improve outcomes. I understand the first trimester anxiety after multiple losses. I was there.... I am there. During my last full-term pregnancy, I had 3 u/s. Two because of bleeding and 1 anatomy scan. Personally, I found that they offered only temporary (a few hours to a couple days) relief of anxiety. Of course, everyone has to make the decision that is best for them and consider their own risk/benefit ratio. I harbor no judgement of women who choose u/s during pregnancy. We all have to do what is right for us with the information we have.

Valerie11 06-28-2014 11:29 AM

I also read about the risks during my last pregnancy and although we did the early dating vaginal ultrasound, I told the lady who was doing it to just get in there and get out as fast as possible. She looked at me like I was crazy when I told her about the risks. But then, just last year I was having some pain in my shoulder and the doctor (PCP) used an ultrasound on the tissue, said it would break down the muscle so it would heal better. I have to wonder how it breaks down muscle but does not break down a fetus.

At my OB, they do the first visit at 8 weeks, so next week, and then the vaginal US for dating purposes between 10-11. I will probably do the same thing as last time. "Get in there and get out really fast please. No, I'm not crazy."

TeeThatsMe 06-28-2014 11:46 AM

During my first pregnancy in 2008, I wanted to begin with midwifery care right away, but my husband had many concerns to work through, so our first several appointments were at an OB's office that I chose because they'd been consistently reviewed as some of the best in Berkeley. Our very first appointment around 6 weeks was, I thought, to confirm the pregnancy, so I was expecting some bloodwork. Imagine my surprise and discomfort when the NP prepped me for a routine transvaginal ultrasound!

I wish I'd simply refused. We went through with it, the NP frowned at the screen, and told me that the fetal pole she saw was not developed enough for my dates, and told us to expect a miscarriage. She was not at all interested that my cycles were very long and irregular, and simply kept counseling us to prepare for the "likelihood" that the pregnancy was not viable.

She was wrong (because hello, she didn't listen to the patient!!), and our healthy son was born after a totally unremarkable pregnancy. So, after that totally needless experience, I opted to skip the dating ultrasound for my second pregnancy... which, naturally, led to a bunch of second-guessing and concern because I wasn't at all sure of my dates that time around!

So, this time, we did opt for a dating ultrasound, just to be totally sure we were where we thought we were. Now that we've done that, though, we don't plan for any more until the 20-week anatomy scan, and then--assuming smooth sailing--we're done.

murrelet 06-28-2014 12:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Valerie11 (Post 17737970)
I also read about the risks during my last pregnancy and although we did the early dating vaginal ultrasound, I told the lady who was doing it to just get in there and get out as fast as possible. She looked at me like I was crazy when I told her about the risks. But then, just last year I was having some pain in my shoulder and the doctor (PCP) used an ultrasound on the tissue, said it would break down the muscle so it would heal better. I have to wonder how it breaks down muscle but does not break down a fetus.

At my OB, they do the first visit at 8 weeks, so next week, and then the vaginal US for dating purposes between 10-11. I will probably do the same thing as last time. "Get in there and get out really fast please. No, I'm not crazy."

It's my understanding the the two kinds of devices, although both are ultrasound, use different frequencies with different effects. This website explains the differences. There is no way that any kind of device that breaks down tissue (scar tissue when used for physiotherapy) could be considered safe for pregnant women. The devices are different :)

http://corydonphysiotherapy.com/ultrasound

Valerie11 06-28-2014 01:53 PM

Thanks for the link to that, Murrelet. It's just another one of those things I forget I wanted to search for by the time I get to my computer. Even now just reading it I had to mediate a fight between two kids, but then I read it. I'm not sure if lower power and frequency equals no harm at all, I'm just not sure.

But I have had nausea this time worse than any of my other pregnancies and wanting to get an U/S this time to find out if we're having twins. I'm really hoping not, I would be worried about sanity and milk production, but I can't discount the possibility. My husband's father was a twin and I have other twins in my family. Not that they run in families, but it just shows that it is possible.

luckiest 06-28-2014 02:01 PM

Anecdotally, I just feel like they can create more anxiety than they relieve because they are so unreliable. So often women are told something *might* be wrong and need further tests, and then everything is fine. Plus, as mentioned, routine ultrasounds haven't been shown to improve outcomes. There are certainly times when I think they're warranted, but as a routine part of a healthy pregnancy I don't think they're necessary, especially the several that seem to the norm.

I'm sure of my dates, so no reason to do anything for that. History of miscarriages, so we are monitoring hcg and progesterone, but not doing any scans. I'm not over 35, so no need to do the nuchal transparency scan. If everything is progressing fine and I'm feeling well, I'll probably decline the 20 week scan as well.

cowchick530 06-28-2014 02:04 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Hi ladies.. I recently had a very early ultrasound. I found out that I am pregnant on June 3rd. I started bleeding that day and did for 13 days. On the 7th day I went to the ER. They did blood work and a transvaginal ultrasound. I was 5w6d and was able to see my little peanut and the little tiny heart flickering away. It was amazing relief. I personally like the option of u/s. They can be reassuring.. But they aren't for everyone. It just depends on your personal case or feelings.. For me I was able to be a little less stressed out. Anyways. This is our second. I have n amazing 5 year old son. And so far this pregnancy is so very different. So maybe we will have a little girl this time.. Hmmmm

cagnew 06-28-2014 03:24 PM

With my first pregnancy they did one at 12 weeks and one at 20 weeks. My next two pregnancies ended in miscarriage, so I asked for an early ultrasound with the fourth pregnancy to confirm that everything was fine. They automatically did dating ultrasounds with the next two pregnancies, although I knew my dates. I think they did the 12 week scan too, which I could do without.

I had a lot of u/s with the last pregnancy for various reasons. It actually made me a little nervous.

This time I don't know my dates for sure so they want a dating ultrasound. I think I will opt out of the 12 week one though.

dentonmidwife 06-29-2014 06:17 AM

I too have concerns about ultrasound and Doppler use. I will be opting out of both this pregnancy unless it becomes medically necessary. I and other midwives have seen a growing trend in early dating ultrasounds followed be miscarriage. While correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, I prefer not to do it.
There is also a Facebook group called Doppler Danger that has articles and studies on the effects of ultrasound if anyone is interested.

alivewithyou 06-29-2014 08:39 AM

I wonder if earlier ultrasounds are done more often with patients who already know there is something wrong with the pregnancy? Just an idea..

I am planning to do more research but I am having trouble finding any actual scientific studies that show it is dangerous. Anyone want to point me in the right direction?

murrelet 06-29-2014 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alivewithyou (Post 17739674)
I wonder if earlier ultrasounds are done more often with patients who already know there is something wrong with the pregnancy? Just an idea..

I am planning to do more research but I am having trouble finding any actual scientific studies that show it is dangerous. Anyone want to point me in the right direction?

This is a bit snarky, but it gives links to the studies that have been done thus far: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/...nds-dangerous/

The consensus as far as I can tell is that it is safe, but more ultrasounds do not necessarily improve outcomes. There is a correlation between having lots of late ultrasounds and birth defects and perinatal morbidity, but it seems like the arrow of causation goes from problem to ultrasound rather than the other way. That is, that the more problems you're having with a pregnancy, the more ultrasounds you're likely to get making it seem like lots of ultrasounds = problems. There are some studies with mice and rats showing some ill effects, but they used different frequencies and durations of sound. Not the same that are used for prenatal screening and diagnostics so they are not comparable. So the upshot is, use ultrasounds sparingly as they don't change the outcome, and there is almost never any thing that you can do that is risk free. There are probably lots of other riskier things that you'll do in pregnancy though (like drive a car!).

This is the conclusion from the linked blog post:

"There is no reason to fear prenatal ultrasounds that are ordered by science-based medical professionals and performed by qualified technicians, but it seems prudent to exercise caution and not do them for frivolous reasons."

alivewithyou 06-29-2014 10:14 AM

@murrelet : thanks! I had already read that one but I wanted to see if there was one that actually had studies that proved a link which I have yet to find. I know that you can find any opinion on the internet, but I am much more of a scientific facts kind of girl and I like to see the numbers and how the studies were set up that actually prove a link.

I definitely don't want to harm my baby, but the ultrasound I had yesterday was very comforting after my first miscarriage. We are also having one next week as well for a heartbeat check. I know that it doesn't change the outcome but the anxiety relief is huge for me at this point.

I think i'll avoid the 3D ultrasound though as there really hasn't been any studies done on those. I am hoping after these initial few ultrasounds that they will be much more spread out.

jodieanneanton 06-29-2014 12:34 PM

@alivewithyou and others,

I totally understand your need for anxiety relief, I have been there. I have had 2 miscarriages (at 6 weeks and 12.5 weeks). The pregnancy following that, I was an emotional wreck. I had 3 u/s. Two were early and were for suspected m/c. (I bled bright red blood every 3-4 weeks until 24 weeks.) I personally found only fleeting comfort in seeing things on the screen, lasting for a few hours to a few days. I am glad that you were able to feel some relief with your u/s last week.

You see, this discussion is sooo interesting to me. I am a science and facts kind of girl, too. And this part of me is what has led me to decline u/s and doppler use this time around. I cannot find reliable studies that prove u/s SAFE for use. They really aren't out there. Once I realized this, I could no longer consent to one without explicit medical reason. Hence, my change of heart regarding u/s use for me. X-rays during pregnancy were "generally regarded as safe" for over 75 years! It wasn't until time passed and studies were finally done that we realized the danger we were exposing fetuses to routinely at that time.

I am fascinated by this discussion and love learning new things. I would also love more links to articles and studies if anyone has more to share on either side of the "argument."

happyday8598 06-29-2014 01:35 PM

I, too, am fascinated by this topic, and by the choices people make regarding it (not particularly biased one way or the other... just a healthy sense of curiosity, and self reflection for myself regarding if we will or will not take a peek with this tiny one).
A part of me says, "everybody does it. I had a mid way check in with both my boys, and they've had no health problems their entire life." Another part of me wonders... "who would they have been had they not been exposed to the doppler and the ultrasound machine?"

Another part of me wonders if my miscarriage last time was due to asking the doctor to check for a heartbeat at 7 weeks (too early to hear, really)... but then again, I wonder about every choice I made and didn't make during that pregnancy. I'm trying to resolve myself to the theory that that miscarriage was a primer for my uterus to have a strong healthy pregnancy this time.

I'm leaning toward no intervention with this one... today. My curiosity may get the best of me next week, and that may change... But it will be a strictly selfish choice I make, based on my wants and not wants (if I found out that something was developmentally wrong with this child, I probably wouldn't continue with the pregnancy).

So much to consider. So much to trust.

Valerie11 06-29-2014 03:15 PM

I think it's an easier choice not to do the 3D ultrasounds than the routine ones. I remember reading about how those were dangerous (or at least not completely safe) back when I was pregnant with my first child who is now 12.

I recently had a cousin posting on Facebook about how she was going to get a 3D ultrasound, then a status update that they couldn't get a clear shot of the baby because he kept moving away from the U/S and would try again in a week. I was thinking, "Maybe the baby could feel it and was trying to get away.". I hadn't said anything about the first one, but a second one? I figured I had to say something, so I told her that maybe she shouldn't do it because it's not safe and she said something about trusting her doctor more than an 'organic freak' like me. She was very young, and I think she just saw it as me calling her a bad mom, but really I was calling any doctor or practitioner who would do two within a week to her a bad person.

bren94 06-29-2014 05:20 PM

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@Valerie11 people can be really sensitive and defensive about things like that. I think it's crazy to have TWO 3D ultrasounds, especially since they're almost entirely for your own amusement. I've always thought they make the babies look really creepy anyway. Just wait a few weeks and see your baby in person, my goodness!

wingedheart01 06-29-2014 06:42 PM

I have questions about the early ultrasounds as well... I have only had 20 week (and a 41 week) u/s in my previous two pregnancies. This one, I would like to be sure of the dating before we announce to everyone, but then I wonder how much of a difference it really makes if we go ahead with the 20 week and can do dating then, rather than both. I am not sure how important it is in my context to have an accurate date - I have a very public job and a whole community of people will be announced to, so that it seems simpler to be more sure of the dates. And yet, life is life and we all want more control (me especially!) than we can really have. If the dates move up a month, so what?

I also turned 35 in April so this is the first pregnancy to have any of the additional options offered. I plan to refuse any "extras". But that's easier to do when I have had completely healthy, "normal" babies in the last 4 years.


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