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Hello-does anyone have any experience with having serial ultrasounds throughout pregnancy? I have had about 8 ultrasounds because I was told I was at risk for an incompetent cervix. Now, I apparently have a marginal previa, so I will have to have at least 1 more! I have read the theories about a possible link between autism and ultrasounds and am now freaking out. Has anyone else had to have this many scans? Any anecdotal information anyone can give me?
 

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I'm starting to feel like it. We just had number 4 today...and they STILL didn't get the dang picture they wanted. (they really want to get a profile shot, to see face development...) well she won't cooperate, and at this point, I want to just say FORGET IT, let her be!!

I think I will, if they suggest another.
 

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There have not been any conclusive studies. So, hard to say. However, the conditions you have have pretty high risks including death. Perhpas you can talk to your doctor regarding the ratio of risk and benefit in your case. I would freak out more about incompeten cervix and previa than US at this point.

There is a lot of speculation. There is one mice study but again, it is not clear how it all translates into humans

http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/animal-studies-show-abnormalities-caused-excessive-ultrasound
 

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There is no good science linking ultrasounds to autism. Four points here: 1) there are tons of administrative data sets that researchers could use, 2) because of the distributions in the variables (lots of autism, lots of variation in ultrasound frequency) it's something where it would be easy enough to show a dose-response relationship, 3) anyone who showed such a relationship would likely be able to publish it in a very high impact journal, and 4) autism is a hot research topic -- lots of money there, lots of researchers. So, IMHO, the fact that there is no good science out there linking the two is a very strong sign that you should not worry.

Also, for what it's worth, I have lots of ultrasounds due to the fact that I have chronic conditions that make my pregnancies higher risk. My DS was scanned many, many times in utero. No signs of autism whatsoever. I am not worried about this baby either.
 

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I've had regular scans last two pregnancies due to my history with the Pulmonary Emboli (checking on growth and blood flow to the the placenta) and then with our daughter and the complete placenta previa. My kids are completely healthy. If you're not comfortable with the reason for the u/s ask them what the bare minimum number of ultrasounds is or see if you can wait. With our complete placenta previa we were diagnosed at our "big" ultrasound and my doctor checked again at 30 weeks, told me it was still complete, that was that-it wasn't moving up-and I'd need a c-section. We found out one week before our scheduled c-section by ultrasound at L&D (because I was having regular contractions) that my placenta HAD moved and was completely out of the way. In situations like that, unless you're having bleeding or significant cramping/contractions, you could potentially wait until 32/35/37 weeks to check on the placenta again. Either way, I highly suggest getting an u/s when you go into labor or before your c-section (if it were to come down to that and hopefully it won't for you).
 

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As a mom to a child with autism, I'll chime in and say that my personal thoughts are that there is not a link between ultrasounds and autism. I could be wrong, of course, but I really don't think there's a link. With my ds (who has autism) I had 3 ultrasounds. 2 early on (and both were very short ultrasounds) and the 3rd was the 20 week ultrasound. This time I've had 2 ultrasounds (1 early on, 1 at 20 weeks). If I needed more for a medical reason, I wouldn't hesitate. Of all the things I suspect have something to do with my ds's autism, ultrasounds are not on my radar and are not something I avoid this time.
 

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Starting around week 20, I had an ultrasound every 4 weeks because I was losing too much weight and they wanted to monitor the baby's growth. Baby was growing just fine, it was just mommy that experienced failure to thrive.
orngtongue.gif
Today that baby is a happy, healthy 5 year old!
 
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I have 2 children with PDD-NOS and they had all of 2 ultrasounds while I was pregnant (one might have had only 1). For some of my other "normal" children I had nearly a dozen ultrasounds for various reasons. This time around I've probably already had a dozen ultrasounds between the routine scan at the OB (they have a machine in the office), the nuchal scans (they had to try twice), the anatomy scan, and when I fell down the stairs and they thought my placenta was compromised, I had 3 ultrasounds in one day (one at office, 2 in hospital). I am really not worried about it at all.
 

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There is a said link between dyslexia, left-handedness, and speech delay but I've never seen any studies linking autism. I think that the most worrisome would be first trimester u/s since the transvaginal gives more exposure and there is a potential for cellular structural change in the brain at that point (as was shown in rats with extended exposure to u/s). I've only researched this issue very lightly but I came to the same conclusion that the FDA reached, due to lack of studies and research and certain ethical problems with conducting more research, u/s is best use only when medically indicated. Sounds like you have a medical indication though. You might want to talk to Amy May if you want more details and research b/c I know she has spent a lot of time investigating this issue.
 

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I started out TTC as a ultrasound minimalist. I can't find any evidence that it's harmful, but it seems prudent medically and financially to restrict them. So I planned a 20 week anatomy ultrasound for my future pregnancy. The benefits of knowing that my baby was an appropriate candidate for a homebirth seemed worth the costs. Well, and the whole boy or girl question.
Then, 3 miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy later - yes, my baby implanted in a place where we might both die, I've become quite the worrier. Ultrasound has become an important tool for information (where is this baby implanted?) and also reducing anxiety (is the baby still growing, what is causing the miscarriages?).
I think it's probably pretty safe. I need the information anyhow, so I try not to worry about it.
 

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I'm having them every 4 weeks because baby only has 1 kidney and it needs to be monitored. There is no clear link between u/s and anything (well, other than healthier babies in high risk cases) so do what you have to do :)
 

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I started out wanting to minimize my ultrasounds too, but I had the NT at 13 weeks and then decided to get an anatomy at 24. I'm planning a homebirth and it seemed like there was more risk to not knowing about something important like a heart defect than there was to getting one more ultrasound to make sure everything is ok. I think ultrasound does real good diagnostically, and its harm is not at all proven.

That said, I would not let the tech spend a long time ultrasounding me just to find out sex. I read the mouse study from 2006 and thought it had some interesting findings, not least the similar effect of stress in the mama mice who had lots of time in "fake" ultrasounds. (note to self: do more relaxing meditation). I am not convinced that the lack of recent research on this issue reflects much besides the fact that there isn't much scientific funding in discrediting a technology that everyone already uses and that makes manufacturers lots of money. It costs money to get test animals and to dissect and stain their brain tissue to look for neuronal effects. A study with monkeys, though very sad for the monkeys, would be an interesting way to follow up on the mouse research, and I haven't seen one yet.
 
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