ultrasound discussion thread - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wandering if any one would be interested in discussing the pros/cons of ultrasound in a nonjudgemental way of course

I will have another level 2 ultrasound at around 23 weeks unless further researching tips the scales toword not doing one. My sister was born with several birth defects including a closed neural tube defect and two brain tumors that were not discovered untill she was 8 or nine months old(she is now sixteen and for the most part normal but its been a LONG road). SO in any case I am at increased risk of having a child with a neural tube defect. I would not terminate based on any of the findings but there would likely be the oppurtunity to begin treatment in utero.

so why are you having or not having an ultra sound?

what are your thoughts on the reseach?

Has any one seen research that talks about only having an ultra sound after 20 weeks?

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#2 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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Im having one in two weeks to date and check for twins. I have no idea why, but I just have the feeling its twins...so does my mom, dh, etc. even my three year old when asked if she wanted a brother or sister said "both" and when sil said, "your mommy has a baby in her tummy" said "no, she has two". It does run in both families and the odds increase at my age. Ive only had this feeling once before, and we started out with twins, but one was reabsorbed.

I have really struggled with this now that I know there might be some risks. My last child had three (the first two had one each) and he seems fairly normal!

Trying to decided on the ultrascree thing or not. (where they do a combo of bloodwork and two ultrasounds in the second trimester to screen for certain problems without the risk of amnio).

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#3 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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i have not had any u/s with any of my children, there was never a need, and i am not at risk for anything, so i simply didn't have one, i was not even offered one with my first 2 children, my 3rd they said well insurance covers one if you want one and i simply said no thanks.

I think that sometimes the need to make sure baby is ok for moms peace of mind and or if there is some indication in the pregnancy, then the need for one out weighs the risks.

I think its the routine every visit or every other visit for no reason that is wrong and should be avoided, i think one or maybe 2 to make sure baby is ok if your at risk for something then you should be fine


a little Joke in my family , my mom had 3 boys then me i am the only one she had a u/s with she jokes and says it made my penis fall off lol but thats all in fun and they are glad to have me..i think lol

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#4 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 07:46 PM
 
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I'm not sure how many u/s I will have but it will probably be a few at least because I am diabetic. They like to check fluid levels in the 3rd trimester, as well as some other things. If I wasn't high risk I wouldn't have any. We don't want to find out the gender.
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#5 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 08:43 PM
 
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I will not be having an ultrasound, for several reasons.

For one thing, I have found both in personal experiences and in listening to other mamas that docs tend to take ultrasound info and make more of it than it is. For example, "The ultrasound shows the baby is ten pounds so I have to have a C-section." Well, ultrasounds show weight give or take two pounds, and I've seen more than one woman be sectioned or induced for a supposedly huge baby only to discover the baby was itty bitty. False positives through ultrasounds also lead to unnecessary intervention and add to the mama's stress. Sometimes these false positives add to further intervention that put the mama and baby at risk, such as amniocentesis.

Another reason is general principle. Billing at $300 plus a pop, I feel like it adds to an already bloated medical/insurance system.

I saw this awesome special on National Geographic Channel that showed the baby trying to get away from the sonogram, not because of the pressing, but because the high-pitched sound was bothering it. This, coupled with new studies that show ultrasounds affect brain development in the brains of mice, disturbs me greatly.
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn1670

Ultrasound waves affect living tissue, both by raising body temperature and by creating "cavatation, " or small pockets of gas that expand then collapse.


This is a great article from Mothering:
Quote:
Studies on humans exposed to ultrasound have shown possible adverse effects, including premature ovulation,26 preterm labor or miscarriage,27, 28 low birthweight,29 poorer condition at birth,30, 31 dyslexia,32 delayed speech development,33 and less right-handedness,34, 35 a factor which in some circumstances can be a marker of damage to the developing brain. In addition, one Australian study showed that babies exposed to five or more ultrasounds were 30 percent more likely to develop intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)--a condition that ultrasound is often used to detect.36
http://www.mothering.com/articles/pr...und-risks.html

I think there is a place for medically indicated ultrasound. But I think it's overused and misused. I think every mother should know and understand the risks, and instead OBs and midwives perpetuate this myth that it's a completely harmless procedure without risks.

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#6 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 10:12 PM
 
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I will have one to see the heartbeat at my next app't. -- chalk this one up to maternal peace of mind. Also, to confirm baby is a singleton.

I will have one as a part of the nuccal translucency test around week 14 (in lieu of an amnio or CVS) as I am "advanced maternal age" but wish to avoid the invasive tests (and I know I have a choice about ALL tests -- I choose this one).

And a level II to check all major structures, organs, etc. (and we want to know the sex).

With my first pregnancy, I only had one (the level II) but I did the nuccal with my second pregnancy and will do it again. There are certain defects that we would want to know about in advance (doesn't mean we would terminate the pregnancy -- it means we would want to prepare in advance).
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#7 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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I will be having at least 2 u/s. I will have one next week for dates and to check for twins. (this is my fifth preg.) and one at 20 weeks for measurments/sex. I have 4 children and had many u/s with them due to heart medication I had to take during pregnancy. All my children are healthy. I think that 2 u/s are safe and I know my doctor does not overuse.
i would not terminate if anything was wrong, but i would like to prepare my family and my other children if that were the case. Many things clef palate, spinal cord problems can be found on u/s due to their high sensitivity and I would not want my children or my family to be in shock. I would like to prepare. I understand there are risks but I personnaly believe the benefits out weigh them. (in my situation)
I hope everyone has a happy and healthy pregnancy!
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#8 of 25 Old 09-01-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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[QUOTE=ktmelody] Many things clef palate, spinal cord problems can be found on u/s due to their high sensitivity and I would not want my children or my family to be in shock. I would like to prepare. I understand there are risks but I personnaly believe the benefits out weigh them. (in my situation)
QUOTE]

This is how I think too. Someone once said to me: "I can't understand why anyone would ever screen for Down Syndrome if they weren't going to terminate for that condition."

For us, there is a whole host of good reasons to find out that do NOT involve ending the pregnancy. There are wonderful programs and schools, for instance, for special-needs kids. Many have waiting lists. I would want to investigate them as far in advance as possible. Also, I'd want to educate myself about the condition/disability so I would know what to expect and how to best parent a special-needs child. Also, I'd want to prepare myself emotionally and prepare my other children for what to expect.

This is just us, of course, but I sometimes bristle when people (no one here -- I am just speaking generally) suggest that testing=non-acceptance of your child or the desire to terminate the pregnancy if baby isn't chromosomally perfect. It can also mean a desire to prepare and adapt before the birth.
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#9 of 25 Old 09-02-2006, 01:59 AM
 
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I will have one u/s, a level II at around 20-22 weeks. I am having it to look for structural problems. My sister had spina bifida, and my niece has Down syndrome as well as spina bifida. I am also almost 40. Since I am having my baby at home, I am looking for gross structural defects (spinal cord, head, heart defect) to make an informed decision. If a baby has an obvious spina bifida, heart defect, etc., it may change my plans.
We will not be finding out the sex.
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#10 of 25 Old 09-02-2006, 02:08 AM
 
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I found these links to be pretty informative, although the info they offer isn't totally conclusive. What I gained from reading articles like these is that while there is "evidence that a proportion of neurons destined for the cerebral cortex had failed to migrate to the appropriate position and were stuck in the lower layers of the brain" in some of the fetal mice who were exposed to ultrasound, there hasn't been any evidence discovered regarding the postnatal BEHAVIOR of the mice that were exposed to ultrasound in utero.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that there was no behavioral damage done. Dr. Pasko Rakic, chairman of the neurobiology department at Yale University School of Medicine, admitted that these findings need to be confimed by looking to see if the same thing happens to larger fetal animals.

WebMD: "Ultrasound Affects Fetal Brain in Mice"
MedPage Today: "Ultrasound Affects Development of Murine Brains"
The Washington Times: "Ultrasound can damage mice; still OK for humans"
Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, Vol 10, Issue 2: "Prenatal and postnatal consequences in the brain and behavior of rats exposed to ultrasound in utero"
Journal of Epidemiology December 2001: "Ultrasound Scans Linked to Brain Damage in Babies"

It's a lot to chew on, but based on these articles, I (basically) agree with what most of the mommas here have been saying: That ultrasounds should be few and only done out of medical necessity because the risks are widely unknown....although we all have our own ideas about what "medical necessity" means.

After reading the findings, I don't understand the use of ultrasounds specifically as keepsake photos or just to determine the sex of the baby....seems like it's a frivolity posing unneeded risk to the baby, even though we don't exactly know what those risks are yet. with all that said, DH and I are not going to have any ultrasound imaging done (unless an unforeseen problem would arise that would warrant us knowing details in advance so we can plan our place of birth accordingly), but we will probably continue to allow the midwife to use (what we assume is) a doppler to hear the heartbeat at our appointments.

**ETA**
Someone just informed me in another thread that doppler ultrasounds that detect the heartbeat produce an even stronger frequency than imaging ultrasounds. I'm all mixed up now, because I think hearing the heartbeat is so reassuring, but I'm nervous about all of that exposure to ultrasound. I'm probably just being a little paranoid. Another option would be to tough it out and wait until 18-20 weeks to hear the heartbeat via a fetal stethoscope. Hhhmmmm......
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#11 of 25 Old 09-02-2006, 04:00 AM
 
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I may change my mind, but I will likely have one at the 18-22 week point for peace of mind. I would never terminate my pregnancy based on the results but there are conditions that an ultrasound might detect that might change my birth plans or help me prepare for my child's future. I agree that ultrasounds are overused, particularly in the first trimester, and are likely not without adverse effects, whether they are blatently obvious or not. But since ultrasounds are generally considered safe, having one at 18-22 weeks seems at least reasonable to consider.

My biggest concern is the point annettemarie raised - that there would be a false alarm that would negatively effect my birth plan because of overconcerned technicians.

Me (37) ~ DH (39) ~ DS (3) ~ TTC #2 since 4/10
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#12 of 25 Old 09-19-2006, 09:28 PM
 
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Went to my 2nd prenatal appointment today (I'm 10 weeks) .....I really wanted to try to hear the heartbeat, but DH and I also wanted to run our reservations about doppler ultrasound past my midwife first.

I was glad I did. I told her that I've been looking at articles and studies on the possible effects of ultrasonic waves on fetuses (although there is no totally concrete evidence yet to PROVE that babies' brains are adversly affected by it....just mice....but that's still enough to concern me), and she said that she has been reading up on the same thing. She and her apprentices have decided that they would try to limit clients' exposure to the doppler device, or at least voice their concern and let the momma decide for herself. She seemed relieved that I am more than willing to wait until I hit 16-20 weeks to be able to hear the heartbeat via fetoscope.

They will, however, use the doppler to monitor baby's heart rate during labor, since it is much easier to get a reading w/ the doppler in any strange labor position vs. having the momma lie down flat on her back to accurately use the fetoscope. That is completely fine with me. I feel relieved that she didn't think I was being overly paranoid.
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#13 of 25 Old 09-19-2006, 10:52 PM
 
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Hi!

I'm just peeping in from the the March DDC and I can't decide whether or not to do a 20 week ultrasound either.

Other than checking for twins (which I think can be suspected in most cases by a good midwife without an ultrasound), I had also thought that knowing if my baby had a defect, etc could help us prepare. But a doctor once told me that in his experience, that was not really feasible. Down syndrome, as well as heart or liver conditions often can't be detected for sure by ultrasound. He said that there wasn't really anything to prepare before the birth, most things can wait (finding a special school, etc.).

And as far as preparing mentally, I have heard that finding out a baby has a physical limitation is sometimes easier to accept when you have that beautiful baby in your arms and are madly in love with him/her. It's similar to finding out the baby's sex. Couples who find out before birth often seem to take more time to adjust to the idea (when it's diifferent from what they had hoped) then those who find out only at the birth, because it's much easier to accept our baby's difference (or sex) when we can feel, hold and see him/her.

I also feel that there is no valid reason to do an ultrasound if there is no medical indication of a problem, since there are risks (of harm to the baby and of useless and dangerous medical intervention).

Are there others who have gone ultrasound-free all the way from concepion to birth???
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#14 of 25 Old 09-19-2006, 11:06 PM
 
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double post
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#15 of 25 Old 09-19-2006, 11:12 PM
 
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I did not have u/s with my first 5 babies. My oldest is 21, and routine u/s was just not used as much then. After baby #4, our family medical history changed. I skipped the u/s for number 5, but had one for #'s 6, 7, and 8, because of my age.
My reason is not to prepare, exactly, and I know many things don't show up on u/s. What I am looking for are gross structural abnormalities. If there is a gross spina bifida, I will change my birthing plans.
Back in the day, lol, my doctor didn't use a doppler. He always used a fetoscope only. I never heard the heartbeat unless he let me listen with his scope.
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#16 of 25 Old 09-19-2006, 11:16 PM
 
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Haven't read all the posts...but this made me want to cry.

"In addition, one Australian study showed that babies exposed to five or more ultrasounds were 30 percent more likely to develop intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)--a condition that ultrasound is often used to detect.36 "

I was diagnosed with IUGR with my first baby. I was told he was small with the first "routine" u/s. Then he was on track, but was already labeled as small so they wanted to monitor. I had probably 6-8 u/s to watch his growth. I was eventually induced after the level 3 u/s said he hadn't gained weight in a month. They told me I'd be lucky if he was 4 pounds.

8 hours later (after an excruciating, torturous labor for both of us!), he weighed in at 5'15. Gee, I wonder why.

Oh God, I really just feel like crying now. I always justified how his birth went because he was at risk and we were lucky he was okay. This really just makes me very upset. And to be honest, I don't know why I didn't realize this sooner - I had two and I had two, but I never put them together to make four. I feel awful. Because of the way his birth went, it affected my second and third births. I can't believe this. I feel sick.
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#17 of 25 Old 09-19-2006, 11:21 PM
 
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I am having one at about 20 weeks just so there are no surprises at birth that could have been seem on u/s. Some physical deformities would cause me to change my birth plans.
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#18 of 25 Old 09-20-2006, 01:32 AM
 
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((Hugs)) to MonkeyPrincess!
You didn't know, and I blame the medical establishment for making many tests and procedures seem absolutely necessary....and worse than that, totally harmless....when, sometimes they are niether. Uuurrghh. It's not your fault.
Again, many many HUGS to you. Gosh, I have felt so paranoid lately...especially when talking to my very mainstream sister who had 3 super medical births. I feel like she thinks I'm crazy for being so scared of "The Man" or "Big Brother" or whatever.....but I am just worried that "routine" tests, exams, shots, etc can turn out to be dangerous and no one would know it because there is so much MONEY tied up into all of it. Wouldn't want the hospitals and docs to lose any of the precious money they make on pregnant women and all the unnecessary procedures they force on us. : Now I really sound like a freaky conspiracy theorist. :
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#19 of 25 Old 09-20-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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Thank you!
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#20 of 25 Old 09-20-2006, 01:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess View Post
Oh God, I really just feel like crying now. I always justified how his birth went because he was at risk and we were lucky he was okay. This really just makes me very upset. And to be honest, I don't know why I didn't realize this sooner - I had two and I had two, but I never put them together to make four. I feel awful. Because of the way his birth went, it affected my second and third births. I can't believe this. I feel sick.

Had you had the knowledge THEN that the two things may be related then you MIGHT have something to cry about. But you didn't. You can't beat yourself up over something that you didn't know about. That's like spanking a toddler who puts thier hand on a hot stove. They didn't KNOW it was hot and didn't understand the dangers, so why punish them for it! We all do what we think is best, given the information that we have at the time of the decision. Sometimes we make choices that we wouldn't necessarily make once we have more information, but that does not make our first decision wrong, nor does it make us guilty of anything!

Mom to Kayleigh (05/07) Jacob (05/09) and Ned decluttering 615/2010
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#21 of 25 Old 09-20-2006, 01:59 PM
 
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#22 of 25 Old 09-20-2006, 06:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MonkeyPrincess View Post
Haven't read all the posts...but this made me want to cry.

"In addition, one Australian study showed that babies exposed to five or more ultrasounds were 30 percent more likely to develop intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)--a condition that ultrasound is often used to detect.36 "

I was diagnosed with IUGR with my first baby. I was told he was small with the first "routine" u/s. Then he was on track, but was already labeled as small so they wanted to monitor. I had probably 6-8 u/s to watch his growth. I was eventually induced after the level 3 u/s said he hadn't gained weight in a month. They told me I'd be lucky if he was 4 pounds.

8 hours later (after an excruciating, torturous labor for both of us!), he weighed in at 5'15. Gee, I wonder why.

Oh God, I really just feel like crying now. I always justified how his birth went because he was at risk and we were lucky he was okay. This really just makes me very upset. And to be honest, I don't know why I didn't realize this sooner - I had two and I had two, but I never put them together to make four. I feel awful. Because of the way his birth went, it affected my second and third births. I can't believe this. I feel sick.
You know one thing I wonder about that statistic is how many of the IUGR babies were already diagnosed as such before they had the 5+ u/s scans. Take your situation for example. Your baby was already small at the first u/s. He could very well have had the same progression without the extra scans. Statistical information can usually be molded to make whatever point you want to make. You would really need to examine the actual study to know the real answer, if there even is one. So please don't be too hard on yourself about it. Yes, there's a chance the extra scans had something to do with it, but there's also a chance that they didn't. And in any event, you were only doing what you thought was best for your babe at that time.

Back to lurking and learning.
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#23 of 25 Old 09-21-2006, 02:49 PM
 
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Heres my two cents. U/s is just now being studied on babies in utero. Sure there are good points to it, but with my studies, I have found that they are now finding problems with scans. We dont know what effect it will have on our children, because of lack of research. Yes I have a lot of abnormalities in my family, also my husbands. But how do I know that a scan might not cause something? I would feel really bad if I knew something was questable even borderline unsafe, and my once just fine child now has a problem. Besides u/s only catch 35% of abnormalities, just like how blood testing produces alot wrong results.

Mainly I feel woman need to trust their instincts. If they feel something is wrong, they need to look at their options. 99% of the time our babies will not have any abnormalities. We need to trust that is our selves that we can grow a healthy child. For millions of years we have survived with out "modern tecnology." Edcuation is key as with anything. It is all still about choice.

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#24 of 25 Old 09-21-2006, 05:13 PM
 
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I am having an ultrasound next Friday to get a baseline for my cervix, I will be 12 weeks. I had a LEEP and a cold cone biopsy surgery this spring and summer and should really have waited a little longer to get pregnant, but that's in the past, I *AM* pregnant now and it happened before my cervix could fully recover, it's already shorter than it should be and this ultrasound and future ones in this pregnancy will be to monitor the length and integrity of my cervix.

I had some ultrasounds with my dd who is 3 now and she did not have any growth problems, she is left handed but so is my dh and ALL of his sibs, so I don't really attribute that to the u/s in her pregnancy.

I would really like to know if I am having a girl or boy this time around too, since it is most likely my last pregnancy and I am a planner by nature and like to know things.

In my last pregnancy which ended in a late miscarriage at 17 weeks, I had no ultrasounds and no doppler. My midwife used the fetoscope only. And that pregnancy ended badly. I wish I had known that the baby was not developing. I might have known that if I'd had an ultrasound.
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#25 of 25 Old 09-21-2006, 05:48 PM
 
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Mainly I feel woman need to trust their instincts.

So true! But the problem is women today are taught to ignore, question and deny their instincts. They are taught to fear their bodies and made to believe doctors need to "save" their babies from their bodies. :

Sorry, I really do agree with you but I am a Childbirth Educator at a local hospital and what I hear from these moms is just unbelievable. And very sad. Not saying mommas on here think that way, just most moms - very, very mainstream moms - that I come in contact with.
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