Is anyone else questioning/refusing ultrasound? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been reading this book, which raises a number of questions about the safety of ultrasound...

Is anyone else feeling a bit uncomfortable with the idea? Planning to refuse it? Read anything else good about it?

The thing that his closest to home for me was a study done in my city, where over a six year period (ending sometime around or before 1999, though, so maybe things have changed since then), among 30,000+ babies, ultrasound technicians gave parents incorrect information in a third of cases. Which just has me thinking, "What's the point?"

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#2 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 12:18 PM
 
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I haven't heard anything to indicate that it is unsafe (though I have not read the book you noted). I have heard that they (FDA?) recommend keeping them to a minimum. I personally do not understand the new trend to use them early in a pg to date it especially when the mom knows exactly when her last period was. I have personal experience with friends and family whose u/s said that their baby weighed this or that and the baby/ies weighed even a pound more or less than what they were told (and given as a reason to induce/do c-section). I plan to have one around wk 18 as I did with ds. I don't think you are wrong to question it, but I think it can help sometimes. For instance, my mom had minimal pre-natal care and no u/s with one of my little sisters and when she tried to birth at home unassisted was not able to push her out (This was number 5 and third at home so it should have been easy). My sister was face up and my mom ended up having to go to the hospital. A mid-wife perhaps would have discovered this, but an u/s definitely would. Just a thought.
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#3 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 12:44 PM
 
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I make it a point to refuse any tests except those for which there is a valid medical need.

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#4 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 01:44 PM
 
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Questioning? Yes. I plan to question everything. But I've accepted an early scan for dates; my midwife convinced me that if not necessary, it's at least very useful because of the discontinuity in care I'll be getting. And a quick scan for size/dates should be of minimal impact to my embryo.
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#5 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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I refuse pretty much everything as far as tests and such go in pregnancy but there are a few i do now.I had no PKU or ulstrasound done with my first babe and she was born with cerebral palsy.I wish i would have had those done now because it could've helped prepare me more.I have had only those tests down since.I have one U/S at 18 weeks and let them check the babe out and i do the PKU also now.It helps me for reassurance.Everything else i say no to like the GD unless i were to exhibit symtoms although i do agree to the GBS strep culture because i think it is important to find out if you at least have it so you can try and get rid of it before the babe comes which i did with my last birth.I was positive for #2 & 3 and negative for #4 because i started treating myself at 32 weeks.
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#6 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 03:03 PM
 
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I've opted against it. People are really weird about it I've noticed.

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#7 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 04:18 PM
 
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I don't understand how anyone can say anything is 100% safe. Not even Tylenol is 100% safe. It boggles the mind.

Anyway...
I had a UP with my last pregnancy, and am very glad for it.
And this will be the same.

With my first I had an ultrasound because I was paranoid over cleft lip (stupid!), but I refused doppler, GBS test, diabetes test, vaccines, screens, newborn procedures and everything else.
My midwife taught me how to manage my own prenatal care, and she just helped give me support and confidence.

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#8 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 04:58 PM
 
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I am definitely refusing ultrasound this pregnancy. I had qualms with it during my first and pushed them aside. I had TWO because the first revealed "possible problems" like a messed up heart, nonexistent stomach, and low weight. NONE of which were actual problems, so it caused me WAY more stress than was even remotely necessary.

I haven't read as much as I think I should, though I do have some sites I need to look into more carefully. However, the main reason I had issues with ultrasound the first time around (and are still valid qualms now) was because I was just thinking about the technology. So, it's basically sonar, though tempered and not so strong. Well, my DH was NAVY on a ship with a VERY strong sonar... and the ships were under some sort of investigation because during/right after some practice times there were lots of whales beaching themselves. Anyway... the people in charge of the problem whales said that they beached themselves because of the sonar messing with their positioning systems (biological and internal to the whales). Well, that just made me think that what the sonar does in the water of the ocean is somewhat like what an ultrasound does in the amniotic fluid of the uterus. And we DON'T really know how those waves affect and effect the cells of an incompletely developed human. I think it's likely that the earlier ultrasounds could/do cause more damage because the cells are that much more fragile and unprotected and stuff... anyway... this is not substanciated by research as yet. It's just my mind wandering through the knowledge it does have and possibly making leaps because of intuition? So, it's "Gospel of Tori," but still something to consider and think about.

I, like other PPers, refuse pretty much all tests. The only thing I don't mind, really, is testing for anemia because that's something I can actually help without harming my babe.

JMHO, though.

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#9 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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Hi,
I dont know what I'll do.
I have read a few articles noting that ultrasounds may be linked to speech delays, dyslexia, and a few other potential problems.
One such article can be found at
http://www.mercola.com/2003/feb/19/u...und_scans2.htm
I am scheduled for several (monthly, then bi-weekly, then weekly) ultrasounds because I am carrying twins, and I am very worried. I didn't realize that I could refuse them. It sounded like all twin pregnancies required them. Has anyone had a different experience regarding ultrasounds with twins?
Thanks,
Deborah
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#10 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 05:25 PM
 
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While I have no personal experience, I know lots of people with twins who refuse ultrasounds. I have known several who have gone through twin pregnancies unassisted, or midwife-assisted but opted out of ALL Testing.
They are not necessary because you have twins; you can refuse everything and anything you want to.

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#11 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 09:13 PM
 
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With my previous pregnancy we did finally have one done to prove we were not carrying twins. my fundal height was consistently measuring significantly larger than expected and our MD had us freaked. Despite my reservations we had one done, which eliminated that concern. I promptly went out an found myself a midwife who handled the rest our our pregnancy with much more tact and patience.

My other concern about us technology is the fact that using doppler to hear the heartbeat is also a form of ultra sound.... which i didn't even realize at first. Imagine my Doctor's surprise when I insisted that she drag out an old fashioned fetoscope instead of using the doppler... it meant I didn't get to hear my baby's heart beat again untill the third trimester but i decided I had lots of other ways to reasure myself of my baby's health and I didn't need to hear the heart beat.

There doesn't seem to be conclusive evidence that it is harmful, but it seems to me the medical industry is taking a lot for granted and over using it as a tool. I agree that there are situations where it has saved lives, but most pregnancies do not require the use of it. Just my two cents.

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#12 of 28 Old 03-06-2006, 09:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deborahne
Hi,
I dont know what I'll do.
I have read a few articles noting that ultrasounds may be linked to speech delays, dyslexia, and a few other potential problems.
One such article can be found at
http://www.mercola.com/2003/feb/19/u...und_scans2.htm
I am scheduled for several (monthly, then bi-weekly, then weekly) ultrasounds because I am carrying twins, and I am very worried. I didn't realize that I could refuse them. It sounded like all twin pregnancies required them. Has anyone had a different experience regarding ultrasounds with twins?
Thanks,
Deborah
SURE, they say they are required and your doc may have a beef with you if you refuse... but there's this info pamphlet that every hospital/doc is supposed to give patients and their right to healthcare their way. At least, I thought they were required to give it. Maybe that's only in VA? Anyway... you have the RIGHT to have them treat you as you see fit! Not only must you always take into consideration what they tell you, but what you believe and feel is right and best for your babes!

Because I don't believe in ultrasound, I am happy to share this sad story. A woman with whom I worked has twins. A boy and a girl. She had many ultrasounds while pregnant, but they mostly seemed to focus on the girl (she was most visible) and the little girl has lots of developmental problems. She is special needs! Not that they are directly cause and effect for sure, but they COULD be.

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#13 of 28 Old 03-07-2006, 11:22 AM
 
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I had one US with dd and refused most other testing, this time I won't have an US and will refuse almost everything as well.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#14 of 28 Old 03-07-2006, 11:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deborahne
Hi,
I dont know what I'll do.
I have read a few articles noting that ultrasounds may be linked to speech delays, dyslexia, and a few other potential problems.
One such article can be found at
http://www.mercola.com/2003/feb/19/u...und_scans2.htm
I am scheduled for several (monthly, then bi-weekly, then weekly) ultrasounds because I am carrying twins, and I am very worried. I didn't realize that I could refuse them. It sounded like all twin pregnancies required them. Has anyone had a different experience regarding ultrasounds with twins?
Thanks,
Deborah
Hi Deborah,

I am pro-ultrasound and think they can be very helpful. My twin pregnacy was detected early 2nd doc visit because, I had access to an unltrasound. The preg. was considered high-risk and I was refered to a specialist. Like you I could have got an ultrasound every week it seemed but, I opted out of most. It became clear to me that I had healthy babies and that some things were not necessary. It is important to ? things but, also be confident in your decissions.

I gave birth to 8 pound girls at 40 weeks and all was well.
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#15 of 28 Old 03-07-2006, 12:03 PM
 
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Yes, no u/s for us unless there is some real medical indication for it... like very small for dates baby, placental bleeding, etc.

There is way too much not known about u/s. The task forces have found many possible problems with it- cavitation, heating of the cells, etc, and have recommended that it be used ONLY with medical indication. Of course, we ignore this on the whole.

In addition, my baby HATED it the first time (and the doppler which is a worse culprit IMO since it is continous u/s) and always moved away. (Had u/s at 6 weeks for spotting then at 42 weeks routinely till they induced me)

Furthermore, we limit testing in general. Even if high frequency sound waves were safe for a fetus, there is just not info that I need to know from a routine u/s. I don't want it for dating. In fact, I don't want care providers to know my dates at all since they will induce me like everyone else if they do. And I don't want them to change my EDD during my pregnancy which they use u/s for all the time. And I don't need to be told my baby is BIG or SMALL cause even IF IT IS, it is the right size for me, and the likelihood is that the u/s is off 3 pounds either way anyway and now I've had an induction or c/s for a large baby which I never had to begin with... or at the very best I am scared my entire pregnancy that either something is wrong with the baby or that my "pelvis might not be able to handle the size of the baby since I don't have big hips." Grrr. And oh no, it isn't practicing breathing as it should at 42 weeks, and by the way the head circumference is larger in comparison to the femur length and therefore it might have some brain problem. Oh, and btw, let's keep doing u/s to see if the placenta has moved up since the early one at 12 weeks showed a possible previa.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

That being said, I would do it if there was true medical indication like I stated above.

And to see the sex of the baby? When we don't know the risks of sound waves for the fetus? No.

And to get a photo for the album? When we have no idea if u/s will turn out to be like thalidimide (sorry no clue how to spell) or xray? No.

And to see if I still have a baby with a beating heart? My body will tell me with time...

My .02. Kinda ranty, but I just HATE routine u/s and that soooo many women are lead like cattle to the machines these days without even thinking or asking questions, or finding out what the information that they are finding is useful for.

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#16 of 28 Old 03-07-2006, 12:20 PM
 
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With my last four us had really come into style.I was relly surprised though with my last how it was being used to date a pregnacy.Since i was way over 40 I was automaticlly considered high risk.The pressure for testing was so heavy I simply left the practice and found a hb mw.
I did agree to us to confirm a breech ( he turned on his own),and to rule out twins,and a previa ( I was just in labor LOL and had him an hour later,3 weeks early!)
I'd agree to it if my intuition was telling me something was up.It is however not a technology that was EVER designed for routine use.I'm really quite appalled that the medical establishment has taken this route,but in a climate of defensively based practice ,what else could we expect?
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#17 of 28 Old 03-07-2006, 01:00 PM
 
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I've done a lot of research here. The reason is that DH is totally against and suspicious of ultrasound. I'm for ultrasound in extreme moderation. I did lots of web searches, read articles, and questioned various doctors and midwives when I had the chance. There is a ton of stuff I could go into, but here are the main points:
1) it is a big waste of insurance money when patients get them every visit or repeatedly. There is very little that the U/S can do when used so often, and it is wasteful. In the first trimester they are good for dating purposes. They can detect heart abnormalities and predict, to some extent, if the pregnancy is viable or not sometime during the first trimester. In the second trimester they can help in detecting other abnormalities - but not all of them.
In countries like France, where health care is subsidized by the government, there is a big controversy over them. The average French woman receives at least 6 U/S during pregnancy - each at a huge cost to the government. My best friend, who lives in southern France, told me that her ob-gyn did one at EVERY visit during her pregnancy. I was horrified.

2) the gimicky 3D and 4D U/S that sell baby images in pretty pictures you can take home for $200 or more are not regulated. The US government issued a warning against exposing the fetuses to high levels of radiation like this.

3) it is hard to find conclusive evidence of damage by U/S because of the variations in each. Machines have different power levels and require different lengths of time to expose the baby in order to get a good picture. These are not standardized or regulated. You can imagine that the stronger machines and the longer exposure might be more harmful, but since each of us were exposed at different levels it is hard to be conclusive. In the 70's the machines heated up a lot more and were on the mother much longer - and yet I turned out okay. They have been used for so long that we can conclude they are not terribly harmful (or we would have seen evidence by now). My midwife's conclusion is that U/S is safe in moderation. I will only get one at 20-22 weeks unless I require another for an unforeseen reason. In all my reading, I did not find anything that totally convinced me that U/S was ultimately harmful once or twice during pregnancy, but I did see a need for more discretion and moderation in using it. I would question someone that allowed U/S more than twice during their pregnancy (unless it was for a specific reason). I'm also grateful that we have this technology - even though it was the U/S that showed me that my last pregnancy had no heartbeat

That is kind of off the top of my head, so I'm sure I missed a point or two. I don't have time to dig up my old sources, but that's what I remeber. I did a lot of thinking on this before coming to my decision, and I'm glad to see so many people doing the same thing.

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#18 of 28 Old 03-07-2006, 02:49 PM
 
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I plan on getting one around 20 weeks to find out the sex...but that should be it.

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#19 of 28 Old 03-08-2006, 02:51 AM
 
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We didn't get one with my second and I never felt like I was missing anything. Happy to go without this time, too
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#20 of 28 Old 03-09-2006, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing all your thoughts, ladies. I am still really torn about the whole thing... especially about whether to attempt to hear the heartbeat via doppler at my first MW visit at the end of the month. Part of me really really really wants to hear whatever is in there, in a way to convince myself that there *is* something in there, but there's also the unknown risk/possibility of heating up those vulnerable developing cells.

I am glad I'm not the only suspicious one out there! Among the mainstream ladies I know, there's no thought given to refusing or even questioning doppler/ultrasound, which makes me feel like a bit of a freak sometimes.

Expat mama to my 7-year-old Halloween boy and my cheeky preschooler, who came before the midwife in January 2010... Gestating a new bean, debuting spring 2014!
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#21 of 28 Old 03-09-2006, 09:53 AM
 
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I don't plan to refuse them, as I've got some medically necessary reasons to have more than one or two (incompetent cervix, multiple miscarriages and I'm hyperthyroid on meds) but I am hoping to keep them to a minimum. I'm not satisfied with the safety of them, either, so I will question why they'll need to be ordered.
I've heard of DR's here in the US that do an u/s on each visit. I always thought that to be rather excessive. When pregnant with ds, I had probably one monthly past 20 weeks due to the incompetent cervix and other problems that came up, and I thought that was pretty excessive, too.
I don't use u/s to find out the sex of the baby, and it pains me to see how many mommas go for repeated u/s JUST to find out the sex when baby is uncooperative at the visits.
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#22 of 28 Old 03-09-2006, 02:30 PM
 
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I'm not having one unless there's an extremely strong reason for it. I've never felt comfortable with ultrasound and I don't want to risk them seeing something that they "think" is a problem, have me worry about it, and then have it turn out to be nothing. There's nothing that they would find that would make me change anything.

I've had horrible cramping off and on (much better now though) since around implantation and have had a few people really pressuring me to have an ultrasound but I've held out and am glad that I did.
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#23 of 28 Old 03-10-2006, 03:30 PM
 
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Thank you for your reply.
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#24 of 28 Old 03-10-2006, 03:33 PM
 
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Thanks again for your thoughtful replies.
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#25 of 28 Old 03-11-2006, 11:10 PM
 
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I had 2 u/s with Space Man... they said with the first, that he wasn't as far along as they thought, and couldn't see everything with the kidneys (IIRC) yet, so they had me do another a few weeks later. Things were fine. I had one with Cat King, mw encouraged me to do it for dating, since I had wonky cycles when he was conceived (still nursing Space Man). By the time I was pg with Cuddlemonster, I decided that it wasn't worth the potential risk, even to have one, if there was no apparent reason (to me) to have one. I felt good, I measured a bit behind but I'm short so that wasn't a worry... we did do doppler for heart, like a pp said I didn't realize how similar it was to u/s. This time, I will ask for fetoscope.

I think it was easy for me to say no to u/s for a reason that has been touched on here... I don't really feel connected to it. My body's changes are much more real to me than a black and white blob on a computer screen. The u/s tech always turned the screen to me like he/she was expecting me to burst into tears or suddenly shine with joy at "seeing" my baby! But it was more of a non-event for me. Yup, that's my baby. It's in me all the time, I know it's there... yup, still there. Same with the heartbeat. The Dr or MW would look at me expectantly... "Oh! There's the baby's heartbeat!" Yup, there it is. Still inside me, like always.

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#26 of 28 Old 03-12-2006, 01:43 PM
 
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Crunchymama, my midwife didn't use doppler. A doctor did, but the midwife at the birthcenter used this wooden thing that looked like a little horn or something. It was cone-shaped, and she could put one end on my tummy and hear the heart. Of course, it is harder to hear - so it takes a trained midwife. By the end of the second trimester even DH could hear with that thing - and it was safe. Perhaps you could use that if it helps.

Mandi - Doula/Childbirth Educator, Loving my DH, DS, DD, DD, missing my three (last m/c 4/2010)
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#27 of 28 Old 03-12-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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It's called a fetoscope.

You can buy metal ones that you can even use at home for $25 or under. No ultrasound waves and no risk. I have one.

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#28 of 28 Old 03-12-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertrandsgirl
A doctor did, but the midwife at the birthcenter used this wooden thing that looked like a little horn or something. It was cone-shaped, and she could put one end on my tummy and hear the heart.
It's a pinard horn . I have one but I've never been able to hear it (I have some hearing loss in one of my ears). My instrument of choice is the fetal scope because I can feel the baby's heartbeat, I love it.
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