Ultrasounds in Pre-Natal Care, Are They Safe?
This blog post has been in the works for several weeks. I don't want to step on any toes, but I do feel convicted to at the very least briefly sharing what I know, for purposes of safety and informed consent.
Throughout the past 30 years, there has been a steady increase in the routine use of ultrasound during pregnancy. Initially, women received one, maybe two ultrasounds to determine the sex of the fetus, to determine size and confirm the expected due date, and to assess for any congenital abnormalities (a practice shown to have questionable efficacy time and time again). Now, women often received multiple ultrasounds throughout their pregnancies. One recent study demonstrated that 90% of women are receiving two or more ultrasounds, and almost 50% of women are having 4 or more!
Did you know, the World Health Organization and the U.S. FDA, on many occasions, have published reports that stressed caution for the use of ultrasound, especially for nonmedical purposes? For some reason, this is overlooked by physicians and soon to be parents. So what exactiy are these concerns? Well, the major source of concern is the increase in temperature in the developing brain and nervous system, causing cellular and tissue damage. There is also question as to the amount of stress placed on the fetus, not to mention the stress placed on the mom who's hormone spikes when she recieves false negatives/positives. Currently, researchers are looking for a correlation thay may exist between pre-natal ultrasounds and specific developmental disorders, like autism or delayed speech, just to mention a few.
This is only my opinion and "speculation" based on research I have read (if you would like me to share anything specific with you, I am happy to). What have experts in the area had to say? Here is a statement released by the The American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine (AIUM) and endorsed by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology: "The AIUM advocates the responsible use of diagnostic ultrasound. The AIUM strongly discourages the non-medical use of ultrasound for psychosocial or entertainment purposes. The use of either two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound to only view the fetus, obtain a picture of the fetus or determine the fetal gender without a medical indication is inappropriate and contrary to responsible medical practice. Although there are no confirmed biological effects on patients caused by exposures from present diagnostic ultrasound instruments, the possibility exists that such biological effects may be identified in the future. Thus ultrasound should be used in a prudent manner to provide medical benefit to the patient."
SO... Take caution with your developing baby and consider limiting (or eliminating) the use of ultrasound during pregnancy.