Ultrasounds and dopplers safe? Or not?

Merry - posted on 10/30/2010 ( 63 moms have responded )

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So as I research more into things about pregnancy and parenting I'm finding that there's alot of controversy about the safety of ultrasounds and Doppler monitors. I can't find anything conclusive for or against their safety, but alot of resources I trust are saying it's not worth the potential risks to use these tools unless indicated necessary.
So I'm trying to find more info and more exp,ert advise to determine where I stand on these tools. But for now I am going to say that I am only going to have one ultrasound with this pregnancy and try not to use any Doppler monitoring at any time. I will be requesting a fetoscope to listen to the heart beats.
So I fel like I need more info on this but for now I know for certain that no where is anyone saying that ultrasound or dopplers are risk free, even the sites saying they are safe, will not say they are risk free. So I'm going to keep researching but I'm wondering if anyone has any advise, articles, experiences, or anything to help me find the truth about this so I can keep my baby safe as I can.
Regrettably I have already had one Doppler used on me, but I hope it can be the last and with one ultrasound to check placenta position, and general health of the baby, and such I think that is enough risks for me.

Please, anyone have any more info on this?

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Heather - posted on 11/01/2010

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So if you're only having the one(possibly two) scans during the pregnancy and no more unless there's a medical problem....I don't see the reason for saying ultrasounds are unsafe. If they're used correctly and by someone trained to operate them, there are no studies proving a correlation between ultrasound and anything. I guess I just don't understand...to me, what your saying about ultrasounds is like saying red wine is dangerous...when consumed too often or in too much quantity, yes, it can be dangerous, but in low doses, occasionally, it can possibly prevent heart disease and help with digestion. ANYTHING done too much can be potentially harmful, so I guess I just feel like it's unreasonable to say ultrasounds are unsafe and you could be fueling misinformation and unnessecarily worrying other mothers.

Krista - posted on 11/01/2010

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@ Jodi~ some of the diseases that come to my mind are the increase in ADHD, autism, learning disabilities- just off the top of my head.

Can you catch them? No?

Then they're not diseases.

And blaming increased diagnoses on ultrasounds is akin to me saying that my pet rock keeps tigers away. I've had it for 20 years, and have never been attacked by a tiger, so it must be working.

Ultrasound can be an extremely useful diagnostic tool, to determine whether the baby is developing properly. And like Jodi said, if you trust your doctor, then you trust him or her to not recommend ultrasounds unless they are deemed necessary. And if you DON'T trust your doctor, then why in blue blazes would you put your life and child's life in his or her hands in the first place?

Do you need an ultrasound every week? No. But unfortunately, Laura, the information that you have given may scare some women out of having even that one basic mid-pregnancy ultrasound.

I would just hate to see the same B.S. scare that we saw with regards to vaccines and autism manifest itself again with regards to ultrasounds.

Mary - posted on 10/31/2010

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But Laura, by your rationale, walking during pregnancy IS a "foreseeable" risk. Your center of gravity is shifted with pregnancy, and your sense of balance is impacted. Pregnant woman ARE more prone to falls because of this, so therefore, merely walking in your home (particularly when carrying a toddler) IS a "risky" behavior.

It is absolutely your right to refuse any and all testing and diagnostics during your pregnancy. By all means, forego all ultrasounds. If you are feeling your baby move regularly, refuse a fetal heart check. They are not necessary, and as long as you are comfortable enough in your convictions to not try and place blame on anyone other than fate or nature if your child is less than perfect, I fully support your right to make this choice for you and your child. I am just as entitled to find your beliefs on this paranoid and unsubstantiated.

Joanna - posted on 10/31/2010

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@ Kate~ there is nothing dumb about a mom wanting to be fully informed before consenting to any procedure, whether it is a routine procedure or something specific to her pregnancy. Good for her!
@ Jodi~ some of the diseases that come to my mind are the increase in ADHD, autism, learning disabilities- just off the top of my head.

Ultrasounds can be a very useful tool in managing a high risk pregnancy. Typically conditions that require multiple u/s are indicated by a problem with heart rate (can be found with a fetascope just as easily as a doppler), by the measurement of the uterus, or palpating the abdomen. A low risk pregnancy should not require any ultrasounds.

Joanna - posted on 10/31/2010

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First off~ good for you to want to be a fully informed mama!
I don't have any links that I can share with you, but I have seen video of cells that are exposed to ultrasound compared to cells that are not. When the cells are exposed to u/s they begin to shake terribly and it lasts for much longer than the u/s is on them. I wish I had the video to share.
I am the mother of 5 children~ 3 of the 5 had the routine 20 week u/s and maybe a late on to check position, one had no u/s and one had u/s every 2-4 weeks early on. My 2nd child (The one with the multiple u/s) has 2 bone deformities, and learning disabilities. The only difference in prenatal care was the u/s. With my last, I had no u/s, but I did use a doppler. Everytime the doppler was placed on my abdomen, he got very upset and started kicking and squirming and moved as far away from it as he could. If he reacted that way, obviously it was doing something that made him uncomfortable. (and most babies to tend to kick at the doppler,)

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Brianna - posted on 11/16/2011

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I have no problems with dopplers or ultrasounds i think they do more good then harm

Sharlene - posted on 11/16/2011

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Hello again!!!!!!!!!!!!! To answer your Qstion I've had 4 children the last 3 were all premmies and alot of complication throughout the pregencies if it was for the ultrasound or the doppler they probably would'nt died.I was going into labour and cervix opening at 17 weeks in my pregencies.How far along are you???

Frances - posted on 03/23/2011

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I was suspicious of ultrasound and wanted to play it safe. I have had four babies with no doppler, no sonogram, and no electronic fetal monitor. My doctor used a fetascope.

Rosie - posted on 11/01/2010

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but thats just it. they don't do more than medically necessary. so why worry about it? when there is a problem, like with my second, they did more ultrasounds. with my third they did 2, one to date it, and one to check on his anatomy. my first i only got an ultrasound when i was bleeding and when they couldn't find his head close to labor. i don't know, it just seems like to much panic for such a little risk.

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Here in the UK women have two routine scans during a normal pregnancy. One at 12 weeks the dating scan and one at 20 weeks the anomoly scan =]

Merry - posted on 11/01/2010

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Thanks Alison! I'm glad you read my posts accurately, it's encouraging to me :)

Bonnie - posted on 11/01/2010

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Since Alison pointed that out, I wanted to mention that where I am, they do one ultrasound at around 8 weeks to confirm the pregnancy and an anatomy ultrasound at around 20 weeks, other than that they will not do any others unless there is bleeding or something else going on that shows there could be something wrong.

Alison - posted on 11/01/2010

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I hardly think Laura is the alarmist on this post. She did not say she would forgo prenatal care, she said she would limit the ultrasounds like some medical professionals already prefer.

Here in Quebec most clinics will order one or two ultrasounds. More than that is generally considered unnecessary and is not worth the risk.

Sarah - posted on 10/31/2010

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I feel that as long as the person administering the ultrasound is highly qualified & the time spent doing the ultrasound is within a time range considered safe, then the risks should be very few. Like others have said, there are risks associated with pretty much everything now days.

Kate CP - posted on 10/31/2010

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I've had 3 ultrasounds so far with this pregnancy. One to confirm pregnancy and dates, one because I was bleeding, and one at 20 weeks. I don't foresee any need for further ultrasounds. Most pregnancies only have one or two.

Jodi - posted on 10/31/2010

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And just for the record, here in Australia a single ultrasound at 16-20 weeks is standard. Any more than that is generally dependent on the doctor and the pregnancy. I only had the one with my oldest, but with my youngest I had to have a lot more, including one at 10 weeks to establish gestation (conception date was uncertain for several reasons) and quite a number between 20 and 40 weeks due to potential complications. But for a normally progressing pregnancy this is unnecessary. However, you either trust your doctor or you don't. If you have a doctor you trust (which, as I said, you are mad not to), then you trust that he/she will only recommend an ultrasound if you need it. So where is the issue?

Jodi - posted on 10/31/2010

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"@ Jodi~ some of the diseases that come to my mind are the increase in ADHD, autism, learning disabilities- just off the top of my head."



Just off the top of my head, autism has generally shown an increase because the spectrum was expanded, and both autism and ADD/ADHD have appeared to increase for various reasons, including increased awareness of the conditions. Correlation does not equal causation, and there is absolutely no evidence at all that ultrasounds have caused any *diseases* or *Conditions*. To claim that these studies on ultrasounds are *proof* is incorrect. There is absolutely no proof that ultrasounds are potentially damaging. As there is no proof that they are not. So to scaremonger and call it proof is irresponsible.

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Joanna you say a low-risk pregnancy should not require any ultrasounds? The results of unltrasounds are what determine whether a pregnancy is low or high risk! I was considered low-risk until they found echogenic bowel at my 20 week scan and I had to have an amniocentesis. If I hadn't have had that scan they would have never known that our son could possibly be born with a sever genetic disease. He wasn't but that's not the point. Technology is constantly changing and if it is something that will help in a positive way I'm all for it.

Merry - posted on 10/31/2010

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Amy, such a valid point! And so true to. Even the friends I have who wanted to do no ultrasounds ended up being convinced into it by the drs. So ya you are spot on, theres no control anymore.

Iridescent - posted on 10/31/2010

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It used to be standard care to remove tonsils any time someone was admitted to the hospital. It was also standard to remove the appendix if there was even a suspicion of appendicitis, regardless of cause. Now, it has been found that these organs are huge in immunity and that standard is not appropriate at all, and it requires a lot of problems with them to warrant their removal. Doctors make mistakes by providing care based on "standards". You are responsible for learning about your own care and making decisions for yourself and your family. Failure to do so only hurts you.

The biggest reason listed for lack of current studies (more recent than 2006) regarding the effect of ultrasounds on human fetuses is that it has become such a standard practice, both for the doctor's comfort and the parents', that there is no control group to compare to anymore. This includes the bulk of pregnancies which are low risk and completely normal; ultrasounds are done for fun, for gender viewing, for first photos, all kinds of truly unnecessary reasons. There are links to problems caused by ultrasounds, but the studies simply have no control group to compare to anymore. In a low risk pregnancy, it should not be standard to perform the typical 2 minimum ultrasounds as they are not necessary.

Merry - posted on 10/31/2010

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Maybe my family and my husbands family are just all weird then, it's a possibility.

Jodi - posted on 10/31/2010

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"babies have been born for centuries without dopplers, ultrasounds or any electronic devices. Unless there is a problem that u physically feel wait til the contractions! Good Luck"

Yes, and for centuries before the technology we have, the mortality rate of both mother and baby were also extremely high by today's standards, so that argument is absolutely redundant. I figure that when you are pregnant you choose a doctor that you trust to delivery your baby, right? So why not trust that doctor when they also recommend an ultrasound? I don't get that.

Charlie - posted on 10/31/2010

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hmmm my mother has ultrasound pictures of my sister and I and so does everyone else's parents i know in my family even my fiance has his ultrasound photo .

I highly doubt disease has anything to do with ultrasound .

Kate CP - posted on 10/31/2010

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The booms in diseases and conditions you're talking about are because we also have been having babies later in life, we're not eating as well, we (as a whole) are in poorer health, AND the new found disorders and diseases that scientists are just now discovering. I don't think that ultrasounds are responsible for Heart disease or diabetes if that's what you're implying.

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babies have been born for centuries without dopplers, ultrasounds or any electronic devices. Unless there is a problem that u physically feel wait til the contractions! Good Luck

Rosie - posted on 10/31/2010

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In 2008, the AIUM published a 130-page report titled "American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine Consensus Report on Potential Bioeffects of Diagnostic Ultrasound"[5] stating that there are indeed some potential risks to administering ultrasound tests, which include "postnatal thermal effects, fetal thermal effects, postnatal mechanical effects, fetal mechanical effects, and bioeffects considerations for ultrasound contrast agents."[6] The long-term effects of tissue heating and cavitation have shown decreases in the size of red blood cells in cattle when exposed to intensities higher than diagnostic levels.[7] However, long term effects due to ultrasound exposure at diagnostic intensity is still unknown.[8]

There are several studies that indicate the harmful side effects on animal fetuses associated with the use of sonography on pregnant mammals. A Yale study in 2006 suggested exposure to ultrasound affects fetal brain development in mice. A typical fetal scan, including evaluation for fetal malformations, typically takes 10–30 minutes.[9] The study showed that rodent brain cells failed to migrate to their proper positions and remained scattered in incorrect parts of the brain. This misplacement of brain cells during their development is linked to disorders ranging from "mental retardation and childhood epilepsy to developmental dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia." However, this effect was only detectable after 30 minutes of continuous scanning. No link has yet been made between the test results on animals such as mice and the possible effects on humans. Although the possibility exists that biological effects on humans may be identified in the future, currently most doctors feel that based on available information the benefits to patients outweigh the risks.[10] Also the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle has been advocated for an ultrasound examination; that is keeping the scanning time and power settings as low as possible but consistent with diagnostic imaging; and that is the principle by which non-medical uses which by definition are not necessary are actively discouraged.

Obstetric ultrasound can be used to identify many conditions that would be harmful to the mother and the baby. Many health care professionals consider the risk of leaving these conditions undiagnosed to be much greater than the very small risk, if any, associated with undergoing an ultrasound scan. According to Cochrane Review, routine ultrasound in early pregnancy (less than 24 weeks) appears to enable better gestational age assessment, earlier detection of multiple pregnancies and earlier detection of clinically unsuspected fetal malformation at a time when termination of pregnancy is possible.[11]

that's the info that is out there on this. doctors do not believe the "risk" involved is higher than the benefit. and you can totally equivilate driving in a car while pregnant to this. it's a risky thing to do to drive in a car. you don't HAVE to drive, you can walk. but then someone could hit you on the sidewalk....

Jodi - posted on 10/31/2010

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Actually I agree with Kate and Mary on the issue that walking up and down stairs poses risk. I fell down our stairs when I was pregnant because I lost my balance (but luckily caused no harm to my baby, just sprained my knee and ended up on crutches).



I am curious as to what booms of diseases and conditions you think might be being caused by ultrasounds?

Rosie - posted on 10/31/2010

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but there's also scientific "evidence" that vaccines cause autism-which none of the medical community buy into either. and look how awesome that study has made things turn out! just cause there's a study doesn't mean you should stop going against medical advice. i guess, i just don't see why the panic, that's all.

Merry - posted on 10/31/2010

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That's a quite irresponsible assumption, I'm sorry.
I'm not making this up here, it's never been seen as completely safe. And fact is there's nothing similar to walking up stairs and using an excess of technology on your developing child.
There is scientific evidence saying it can be harmful, and that's why I am looking into it.
Millions of babies being born, yes, but I ask you, are you content with the boom of diseases and conditions we are experiencing that we weren't seeing years past?

Kate CP - posted on 10/31/2010

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My mom still has her ultrasound pics of me and my sister. *shrug* Anyway, I think it's...(looking for a good word here)...I guess, dumb, to start looking at prenatal testing that has been used for over a quarter of a century as harmful to mom and/or fetus. Now, if sonograms and dopplers had JUST come out I could understand being nervous about it. BUT, with MILLIONS of babies being born after having had these methods of prenatal testing and care used and having no scientific evidence that these tests cause any type of problem for mom or baby I don't see where the problem is? They are safe for use for every mom and child in so much as they pose no greater risk than walking up or down a flight of stairs when you're pregnant.

Bonnie - posted on 10/31/2010

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I don't have any educational info, I just wanted to point out that there are many women out there, even nowadays who want one ultrasound just early in the pregnancy to make sure everything is okay and that is it; no further testing. I wouldn't work that way personally, not just because I wouldn't want to go without any testing in general, but more so because I can not go months without knowing anything. It would drive me bonkers. To each their own really.

Merry - posted on 10/31/2010

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THAT's WHY IF YOU ALL WOUlD READ MY WORDS YOU WOULD SEE I WANT TO GET ONE ULTRASOUND! Omy gosh, please read my words before making judgements about me, you just sound ridiculous when you say such bad things and you are completely WRONG.
Wow, do you realize that odds are none of us had an ultrasound during our stay in our moms? I know me and my siblings weren't scanned, neither were my cousins, or my husbands family and definately not my parents and their siblings.
Ok so as I have said a million times before, one ultrasound or two is worth any risks, but that's it for me!

Rosie - posted on 10/31/2010

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i think the benefits from these devices FAR outweigh the "risk." my middle child had problems with his heartrate going sky high during the last 2 months of my pregnancy. it was in the 200's. they would've needed to deliver him and stabilize him if he couldn't get his heartrate regulated. they also needed to measure him alot, cause my uterus was huge for my preganancy. he also had only 2 vessels in his umbilical cord instead of 3, and needed to have more ultrasounds to check on him than normal. it gave me peace of mind that they were doing everything they could to make sure my child was growing safe and sound despite some bumps in the road. i am thankful for these devices. if things didn't turn out alright for him, how would i have known, and prepared? plus, he may have died in utero or something, when they could've caught these things with simple devices such as these.
wouldn't you just be as angry (or angrier) at yourself if you could've done something to prevent your child from dying and you refused to have a simple test because of some unfounded fear born from a study that you found on the internet?
i listen to my doctors, since they are the ones that went to medical school for years to be able to do what they do. and if i have questions i certainly would ask my doc about it. maybe you should talk to your doc and see what they say about these devices before you go off, possibly making a bad choice.

Dawn - posted on 10/31/2010

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IMO: ultrasounds are a medical advancement that are necessary to receiving the best prenatal care today. I believe it is only recommended to have two ultrasounds during the standard pregnancy, so I trust my doctor when he/she says it is medically necessary to have more. I do think that 3D and 4D ultrasounds (when used soley for entertainment) are a bit overboard and may be placing an unnecessary risk to the child, but I haven't found much (what I deem creditable) research to support this. Of course, I do feel that if it was concidered to be safe than doctors would be giving them a lot more just because it is so fun to see your little one inside you (what would woman a century ago thought of this I wonder??). Anyways, for my story....I was diagnosed with a heart condition at 20 weeks into my pregnancy. Because of medicine I was placed on, I had to have monthly fetus monitoring by standard ultrasound and then once weekly Doppler monitoring the last month. I put full trust into all my doctors that the medicine was a necessity and also the monitoring. I also put full trust into my doctor that a C-section was my only option and that bottle-feeding would be best. My son is healthy and happy, so of course I have no regrets. If there had been anything wrong with him, of course I would have questioned myself for making the decisions, but that is only a natural human response...the truth is life is full of risks, some foreseeable and others not. I choose to put my life in Gods hands (while still being reasonable safe!) and taking life as it comes. Bottom line, we as parents need to do what seems right to us. So, thank you for putting this topic out there so parents can see this may be a subject worth putting some consideration into.

Nichole - posted on 10/31/2010

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I don't think they are harmful. The doppler thing to listen to the heart was used at every appointment, and all my hospital stays (I had a lot). I had 6 ultrasounds (1 normal, 3 normal but followed by an internal ultrasound, and 2 4D) because of issues I was having. I am so glad the doctors did them, it helped the doctors know my baby was healthy, and how better to help us make it as close to fullterm as possible. My son was born 36 weeks, and now is a happy healthy 13 month old. I think these tools benefit the doctors in how to best help a mom and baby. Now if you don't use them what if something is missed. Like for instance you get that one ultrasound and things are great, but what if later on there is an issue?? I've heard the controversies. But there are controversies about everything. Honestly in my opinion the benefits outwiegh the risks.

Pam - posted on 10/31/2010

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I think you're being smart to be wary! I I would certainly use any medically advised ultrsound test if there is any suspion of a problem as it's probably less risky to test than to not treat possible problem but I too am uncertain of the risks and when you come to think about it, the machine is sending out soundwaves so that they can be seen, hummmm sounds like a risky thing to me too. The 4D ultasounds people do for entertainment seem like a really bad idea to me. That said, a quick check of heartbeat or an ultrasound to check for a risk are proably ok or at least less risky than the threat. if not, then by all means refuse!

Jodi - posted on 10/31/2010

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No worries Laura. Obviously you have made up your mind based on one study. That's ok, your choice. Personally, I think your concerns are ridiculous and over the top.

Merry - posted on 10/31/2010

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There's a HUGE difference between unforeseeable and unpredictable and unpreventable damage and damage we have control over to prevent.
If I am driving safely and am hit by a car, I feel no guilt no responsibility. But if I am distractedly driving and then hit a car it is my fault.
If I choose to ignore some warnings from these tools and blindly put my child through them for no good reason it is my fault if something bad occurs.
But if I am informed and knowledgeable about the benefits and risks and choose one short scan to rule out major problems I feel comfortable with the small risks as the possible benefits outweigh the small risks.
My son had I'd guess twenty or so Doppler uses through pregnancy and about 5 pr so ultrasounds as well as continual fetal heart rate monitoring for about twenty four hours of labor and yes he is fine, thank god. But looking at the signs and risks and warnings I have come to see that maybe some of my labor and delivery issues could have been prevented had I refused continual monitoring and maybe not had so many ultrasounds for a minor issue.
So I am entitled to try to do better next time right? Is it not normal to want to do better?
I wouldn't want the guilt of ignoring information.
Who would?

Joanna - posted on 10/31/2010

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I am sorry, I just read some of the replies after I posted mine. It is not only about the temp of the amniotic fluid, but about the effect on the cells. U/s slows cell division and increases cell activity, which can be harmful, especially in newly developing babies. There are other ways to check fluid levels, position of baby, placenta location, ect. which are many of the reasons for repeated u/s. Even the routine u/s is not necessary in many cases.
Just because an OB deems it safe, does not hold a who lot of weight IMO, considering their 33% c-section rate in the US. A lot of the choices made by OB's are for their convince, not necessarily for the interest of mothers/ babies. They have replaced basic, non-invasive practices with medical technology and deemed it safe because it is easier. Which results in a lot of unnecessary c-sections and mis-diagnosis.
And if you can't find a doctor who uses a fetascope, almost all midwives do.

Mary - posted on 10/31/2010

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NOTHING in life is risk free, which is why you will not find any info about doppler or ultrasounds that say precisely that. Simply walking around your own home, while typically "safe" is not without risks; there is always a chance, albeit quite small, that you could trip over your own two feet, fall on your belly, and cause a placental abruption. Does this mean you spend your entire pregnancy in bed? I hope not, cause there are risks with prolonged bedrest as well.

I don't mean to sound unkind, but I think you are letting your hormones make you paranoid. I am not a fan of excessive testing, but unless you have complications, the 20 week anatomy screen, and the routine fetal heart checks at your OB appointments (which last less than 60 seconds) are certainly safe. The biggest "risk" involved in these is the car ride to and from the office.

You can certainly ask for them to use a fetoscope, but good luck finding a doc that actually has one...

Iridescent - posted on 10/30/2010

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While those are the studies and results I've found, even when I was pregnant I did not follow them. I did make certain those performing my ultrasounds were trained. My first son's first ultrasound was at 5.5 months, and it was a full BPP. While he is both left handed and autistic, I don't feel it's reasonable to state it was caused by his ultrasound (the only one performed during that pregnancy). Each of my other children had multiple ultrasounds during the pregnancies, and our twins had even more yet, and longer because they did both BPPs at the same time, multiple times throughout the pregnancy, so it took approx. twice the typical length. While one twin is fine, the other is very much not ok, but again, would I point to the ultrasounds? Not likely. In my mind, the risks associated with ultrasounds done by people trained correctly to perform them as safely as possible, very much outweigh the risks of not doing them in many cases. Being able to prepare for severe birth defects, so they can be treated at birth vs death of a newborn, for one. Insuring correct blood flow to the baby. Making certain the baby is growing as they need to. Checking for markers for preterm labor (cervical length, etc). Checking size, as IUGR is a huge risk for a baby. Most pregnancies are not the happy, positive outcome people now assume will occur. 100 years ago, most women knew they'd lose several babies and have many in the hopes that a few would survive into adulthood. Thanks to medical care, we no longer have to have this view any longer, but also because of all the interventions available it has made serious problems much more survivable in a newborn.

Iridescent - posted on 10/30/2010

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http://www.americanpregnancy.org/prenata... - this is just an FAQ about biophysical profiles. Some pregnancies require several of them throughout, but most require only 1. This ultrasound is known to take up to an hour. It also has a warning right on it that there is some risk associated with lengthy ultrasounds, although it doesn't state what specific risks (as many don't specify on test descriptions such as this). For a 1 hour ultrasound, you KNOW it's going to raise the temperature of the amniotic fluid and tissue of the fetus. I don't know who funded every study (I actually don't know who funded any of them, as I didn't see funding sources listed?) in my prior links, but I did see multiple studies done from 1982 to 2006 and showing an ongoing need for more research that all point to the same conclusion - ultrasounds are lower risk than x-rays, but not completely safe and quite possibly linked to neurological damage in some cases.

In addition to typical medical ultrasounds, there are now also the private pay 3D ultrasounds people purchase from vendors in places such as a mall. The personnel running the machines typically have no training regarding the safety of them. They also typically scan for very extended periods of time. This is one such site - http://www.babys1stphotos.com/4d-ultraso... - and this particular company states their scans take 15-30 minutes, so it is pushing the "danger" marker for time.

Lisa - posted on 10/30/2010

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There is nothing in our world today that is 100% safe or risk free...You can't even stay in your own home without the possiblity of something happening. I had ultrasounds done when I was pregnant with my son, and he's perfectly healthy. If you are really that "paranoid" about ultrasounds/dopplers, then maybe you should talk to your doctors about the benefits/risks and your concerns and not turn to the internet for your information since a lot of it is "crap".

Jodi - posted on 10/30/2010

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Well, Laura, I can't say that driving on the highway while I'm pregnant is safe either, so unless you can find some research for the safety of that, perhaps you should stay home. I think you are being overly paranoid about a single study and website where the doctor concerned has a vested interest in the book she is trying to sell.....

Kate CP - posted on 10/30/2010

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Wait, I want to understand this. You're going to forgo prenatal care and testing that has been deemed safe and effective by numerous health organizations because of something you read on the internet?

Merry - posted on 10/30/2010

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If you find an independent third party study please post it! I want the truth, whatever it turns out to be.

When the ultrasound is done for a potential problem it can last a while, my son had minor hydronophrosis of the left kidney in utero and they wanted a monthly ultrasound which lasted I bet at least twenty minutes each, I can't say that was safe and I wouldn't do it again.

And that's why we don't take hot baths while pregnant! Lol that's a commonly known no no.

Heather - posted on 10/30/2010

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Amy-none of those articles actually prove anything other than prolonged exposure to ultrasound MIGHT harm the fetus...and we're talking about more than 30min! I don't know about you, but I've never had an ultrasound last more than 10min at the most. Taking a hot bath can increase the amniotic fluid temperature and repeated, could cause the same defects that those article are saying ultrasound can cause. The other you have to look at is, who funded the study. If the Anti-Radiation group sponsored the study...the study will most likely find in favor of whatever the Anti-Radiation group wants. I would want to see studies done by independant groups without an agenda before I actually believed a 5min. ultrasound is harming a fetus.

Iridescent - posted on 10/30/2010

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Simply, you are not being an alarmist at all. The Doppler studies show that their use is more focused but causes much less increase in heat, and is used for shorter time frames so the danger is lower from that as well. This doesn't mean it's completely safe, but a safer alternative.

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