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I know some people choose not to use ultrasound at all, no matter where their choice of birth. I want a homebirth next time but I just have a feeling that I would be much more comfortable if a routine ultrasound around 20 weeks showed everything was developing normally. My first worry is placenta previa. My second would be some kind of congenital problem with the baby. My niece for example was going to be born in a homebirth, with no ultrasound, but when my SIL was about 35 weeks her midwife got suspicious that something was up. SIL's fundal height had jumped dramatically from one week to the next and the midwife wanted to know what was going on. It turned out my niece had heart defects and other issues, and the sudden increase in uterine size was due to a jump in amniotic fluid, which happens a lot (although not always) with the kind of condition my niece has. SIL changed to a high-risk OB and delivered DN in a hospital, where she had to be immediately resuscitated and needed quite a lot of care. If she had been born at home they might not have been able to save her--at the least, it certainly would have been very traumatic and upsetting for everyone. What if the amniotic fluid hadn't caused a problem that could be noted externally? I think if I knew in advance that something were medically wrong with my baby, I would definitely want to be in a hospital environment for the birth. So I feel like the prudent thing would be to have an ultrasound to rule that out. I know not everyone agrees with that risk assessment, though, and I do worry about the safety of ultrasound, so I'm wondering how other mamas weigh the risks and come to a decision.
 

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it's a very personal decision, and a good one to think about.<br><br>
IMO, I believe the biggest risk to u/s is seeing something that is normal, but is thought of as a "problem" by the tech/MD interpreting the screen. the thing is, most congenital malformations will NOT be picked up by routine u/s, unless we're talking about organs outside of the body, etc.<br><br>
some people feel like if there was something "wrong" with their baby, they'd want a peaceful, caring birth and then transport (most things that come up, like heart issues, for example, can be transported after the birth once they appear), rather than be in a hospital with the fear that goes along with that from staff.<br><br>
it really is a very personal choice. I suppose my first question is what do you believe could be picked up? what sort of issues would make you want to birth in the hospital? issues like placenta previa can often be detected prior to labor (as the mother's cervix starts to dilate and thin at the end of pregnancy, bleeding is present). increased amniotic fluid can be detected by a midwife (especially the huge increase that is present with kidney issues, for example).<br><br>
I suppose it's more a matter of looking at what u/s can tell you and what it cannot. it's a VERY limited technology, with people believing that it is more accurate and more revealing than it really is.
 

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Dunno if this website will help you or not but it has a lot of info on ultrasounds and what it can and can't tell you etc. Like Pam said, it's a personal decision. For us we will have an ultrasound done at 20 weeks. Mainly to try and determine sex, my dh really, really wants to know what we're going to have and this is my gift to him since he's been so onboard with this whole thing from the start.<br><br><a href="http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/Prenatal%20Testing/prenataltest-ultrasoundsafety.htm" target="_blank">http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/P...oundsafety.htm</a>
 

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i have been having conversations with my dh re: u/s's and their safety. i have had 6 or 7 this time and really dont want to have any more. can anyone point me to any research re: the safety of u/s?<br>
thanks<br>
Rach
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jeanine123</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><a href="http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/Prenatal%20Testing/prenataltest-ultrasoundsafety.htm" target="_blank">http://www.plus-size-pregnancy.org/P...oundsafety.htm</a></div>
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Wow, thanks for that link! Lots of good information! I had no idea that the doppler checks of the heartbeat at each prenatal visit could add up to greater exposure than the "visible" kind of ultrasound typically done in the 2nd trimester. I think I'm leaning towards still wanting *just one peek* to find out the gender but declining the doppler. I didn't have any continuous EFM with my son's birth, but in between pushing contractions the midwife would check his heartbeat with the doppler. It was just for a few seconds each time tho? But I was pushing for four hours! :LOL<br><br>
pamamidwife, I did not know that about placenta previa. Thanks! As for what I would be looking for, I don't really know. I don't know all the things that could go wrong. My niece, for example, has a condition called CHARGE syndrome which 99% of people have never heard of. That site jeanine linked to was very helpful in explaining what sort of things can and can't be diagnosed from u/s, and what the concerns are with its use on a routine basis.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>alegna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have yet to find ANY study that shows that u/s makes any birth safer.<br><br>
-Angela</div>
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ok, fair enough I don't know about any studies that support it but what about personal knowledge of folks who've found out in LABOUR that their babies have suddenly gone breech. yes, this happened to my sil's sister not ten months ago.<br><br>
While I'm all for home birth, I do think that an ultra sound at the end if there is a concern about positioning of a baby could possibly help. Not actually make it safer but make everyone better informed about what they're facing, a possible breech delivery or not etc.
 

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Personally, with homebirthing I choose to get an u/s. First and foremost for the baby's sake. I have had a couple of friends who had u/s and discovered a hole in the baby's heart, Downs Syndrome, or the intestines on the outside(don't remember the name of this). We would continue on with the pregnancy no matter what was discovered, but in cases like the above, I would choose for a hospital where there was a good NICU available.<br>
Other concerns would be placenta, or baby's position. My midwives don't do breech deliveries, so if it was questionable, I would get an u/s.<br><br>
It is a personaly choice and I really don't think there is any right or wrong answer.
 

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I had an ultrasound when I was post dates (42 weeks) to get some idea of how dd and my placenta were doing.<br><br>
It may have contributed to the safety of my home birth.
 

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My own comfort level would be to have one u/s at the halfway point, and to take any information given to me with a grain of salt.
 

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Didn't do US with #1. Only used doppler in labor because I refused to get out of the tub enough for mw to use the fetoscope.<br><br>
Did one US with #2 to confirm pg as I'd just weaned ds and my cycle was all messed up. All my pg test were coming back negative but I just had a feeling I was pregnant. Did doppler in labor.
 

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What an excellent thread! I'm having my second homebirth (I'm 32 weeks today) and haven't had any ultrasounds done yet. I had 2 with Dc #1 (was seeing a traditional OB and had a hospital birth) and 2 with Dc #2 (was seeing same OB up until I was about 6 mos, at which point I transfered to the homebirthing practice I use now). Since I've been with Homefirst (a homebirthing practice in Chicago) since the start of this pg, I have had no u/s. They only do u/s if they suspect a problem.<br><br>
I've been wondering and worrying a bit about the baby...what *if* the baby had a heart defect or some other problem....we'd want a hospital delivery for sure. I'd feel such immense guilt if there were something wrong with the baby that could have been detected through u/s and we didn't make it to the hospital in time for baby to recieve the special care it needed....kwim? I'm not TOO worried since my first two were healthy, but there's always that what if?
 

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We had a u/s at 20 weeks to see if there was anything glaringly wrong that would make us think having a hospital birth would be a better idea. Everything was fine, so I don't know quite what we were looking for -- but I trusted that if anything did come up that I would work closely w/ the m/w to see what we'd do about it. I was feeling pretty confident anyway but it worked as a nice reassurance for me.
 

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I'd go with personal comfort level. I am more comfortable without the use of technology myself, there was no doppler use at all during my last labor. Most of the time, a problem can be identified in time to get appropriate medical attention---that is enough for me. If a routine u/s will make you more comfortable with the decision, do what is best for you. Your comfort can play a huge part in the safest birthing location, honor yourself.
 

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Heart defect veteran here--my .02 is that I wouldn't deliver at home without a u/s, but that's mostly because of our experience. DS was born in a hospital and was in the NICU immediately after birth, but probably would have been OK with hospital transport if we had suspected something right away (I probably would not have, but would hope my MW would have). It would have been terrifying though (was anyway, but even more so).<br><br>
His CHD was not detected on u/s but his particular defect often is--I think we didn't have a very experienced tech. Something more serious--like HLHS, dextrocardia, etc. are almost always detected on u/s because they are quite obvious. I think it would be very dangerous to deliver an HLHS baby at home.<br><br>
I have had 3 u/s and a fetal echocardiogram (specific u/s of the heart) because of our history, and now that I am assured the heart is normal, and there are no other obvious serious problems, I feel much safer delivering at home.<br><br>
I would just make sure to have a very experienced tech or better, doctor, do the u/s, and ask a lot of questions beforehand. You don't have to do the whole measure-the-parts long u/s, you can ask for major organs/spine and have less exposure that way. All of my u/s were under 10 minutes (except the fetal echo which is more involved) and done by a perinatologist.<br><br>
Also, not to scare anyone, but heart defects are the #1 birth defect and a lot more common than people think. 1 in 100 are born with one. Obviously the really severe ones are less common, but that is still a lot of babies. Just doing my part for CHD awareness <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blahblah.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blah blah">
 

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Whether it makes it safer or not isn't as important as how safe it makes you feel! If you have peace of mind, then your birth is inherently better. I planned to have no u/s with this pregnancy. Having one mademy husband feel saferand better about homebirthing, so we had one a couple ofw eeks ago. We discovered an irregular heartbeat during the u/s, luckily it's something common and not a worry or anything. But it wasnice to know about that and notfind out about it say, during labor. It's gone now, though it could recur. Anyway, if you get peace of mind from having one, then go get yourself one. T=here are plenty of people around here who will spout the evils of ultrasounds (myself included,d peending on the u/s itself -- like one to determine size, which is about as accurate as asking my cat most of the time). Despite the people who willspout the evils, no one will dispute that an at-peace mama makes a much safer birth. Nothing can replace peace of mind.<br><br>
Namaste, Tara<br>
mama to Doodle (7), Butterfly (2), and Rythm (due at home 1/06)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Sleepymama</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Something more serious--like HLHS, dextrocardia, etc. are almost always detected on u/s because they are quite obvious. I think it would be very dangerous to deliver an HLHS baby at home.</div>
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One of my friends had a baby with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome at a birth center. She had had routine u/s to clear her for a birth center birth. I thought that was weird, so I asked an OB I respect at work (RN in L&D) about it and he told me that a very large percentage of HLHS is missed on u/s, even with a level 2 (I forget the % he told me, but it was quite a lg. %).<br><br>
AND - there is a mama who used to post here at MDC that I knew from the local midwivs support group, that had a baby with HLHS born at home and didn't transfer until the next morning (they didn't notice anything wrong at delivery). It did not effect his long term prognosis or outcome.<br><br>
And yes, there are often signs that something is wrong that would lead to further investigation of problems (small for gestational age, polyhydramnios, bleeding) even if you don't do the u/s.
 

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For every person who tells me that ultrasound saved their baby's life, there is another who was told that their baby had a defect and the baby turned out fine and another wjp says that the ultrasound totally missed something serious. I truly don't believe that ultrasound is going to cause that much damage but for me it is a stress issue. I don't want to stress out about something being wrong for 4 months just to have everything be fine and I don't want to think my baby is find going into labor and be blindsided by something being wrong. I feel that I am in competent hands and will know that I need to carefully pay attention to the baby(which everyone should ultrasound or no ultrasound) after he/she is born.<br><br>
JMO.
 

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I'm having major stress issues over a potential ultrasound for large-for-dates and breech (he's now turned again.) Don't want it because I know I have a large pelvis (my smallest baby to date was 8lb 13oz) and this one feels a heck of a lot smaller than either of the boys but it's being used as an excuse to try and risk me out of a home birth. I don't see any justification for an ultrasound in the last few weeks of pregnancy in multiparous women to confirm presentation, because babies can flip so frequently right up to their due dates.
 
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