I hope to have no scans done this pregnancy, our sixth, and we had none with our fifth either. I also refuse the doppler and request only a fetoscope be used. My midwife is fine with this arrangement, but I imagine an OBGYN might be resistant since they are often more attached to technology to give them information. It is always your body, your baby and your choice though, since after all, you are the consumer and they are being paid to work for you! Personally, the more I read about ultrasound waves, the less I want them beaming onto my babies. I had routine ultrasound done once on my first baby sometime mid-pregnancy and then with my next three babies, two done, one in the first trimester and one mid-pregnancy. Now it seems that they are being used more frequently.
The concern I have is that the technology has not been thoroughly studied to test the safety of doing these scans on developing babies. Also alarming to me is that the machines are not regulated for calibration or output either. One machine could be significantly stronger than another. This includes doppler technology. It reminds me of when x-ray was used widely for pregnancy and with much excitement about seeing into the womb, but this was done without testing the technology thoroughly first. When it was shown as harmful, it took decades for its use to fully fade.
Even my mother-in-law had one done in 1982 to check for position (This could have been done with hands!) when my husband and his twin sister were on their way to being born early! Ultimately, it was an easy vaginal birth before doctors lost the art of assisting twin deliveries and the babies thrived, but my sister-in-law had cancer before the age of 30. My mother-in-law feels so much guilt. She wishes she had not felt intimidated by her doctor and had refused the x-ray. She knew the danger, but felt like she had no choice since it was ordered by her doctor. Going against a doctor's order is not always an easy thing. Now doing an x-ray on pregnant women would be unthinkable.
I'm hopeful that ultrasound would be proven safe if many large scale studies were done, but the few and only controlled studies that have been done show it to be potentially harmful, especially done more than a couple times. It appears that it may increase preterm labor, IUGR and many other things. I am including two links from good sources that provide thoughtful information. The authors are MD's. Reading them helped me feel more informed and empowered.
"A summary of the safety of ultrasound in human studies, published in May 2002 in the prestigious US journal Epidemiology concluded
…there may be a relation between prenatal ultrasound exposure and adverse outcome. Some of the reported effects include growth restriction, ..."