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Thread: Pregnant women warned over ultrasounds

  1. #1

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    Default Pregnant women warned over ultrasounds

    Pregnant women warned over ultrasounds
    By Tamara McLean
    September 20, 2006 02:58pm
    Article from: AAP

    PREGNANT women should not expose their unborn babies to unnecessary ultrasound scans because too little is known about the dangers, an academic has warned.



    Karen Pollard, a medical imaging lecturer at Charles Sturt University, says mothers-to-be are now routinely getting the scans at least once during pregnancy.

    While they are not necessarily unsafe, the dangers of the procedure have never really been established, said Ms Pollard, who will lecture publicly on the topic tomorrow.

    "If there's a medical reason to have an ultrasound, have it, but if its purely for curiosity, don't," she said. Old studies showing that ultrasound was safe were no longer relevant because today's equipment had far greater exposure intensity than earlier scans, Ms Pollard said.

    "What we do know about intensities at that level is if you were to ultrasound a cyst, you may see acoustic streaming, that is, the fluid in the cyst starts to move around," she said.

    "If it can do that to the fluid inside a cyst at relatively short exposure times, what is it doing to a 12-week foetus which is at a stage of development where cell division is happening and the organs are forming?

    "I have some concerns." Ultrasound scans used to be performed at about 18 to 20 weeks through the mother's abdomen, she said. But these days it has become routine to have an ultrasound through the vagina at 12 weeks, "so the ultrasound probe is right up against the cervix, right next to the foetus."

    "If someone asks is it safe, the GP may say 'yes' whereas the sonographer will say 'well we think so, as far as we know'," Ms Pollard said.

    A ten-year Western Australia study showed that babies who were scanned a lot had significant growth retardation. Ms Pollard said while these babies were probably being scanned due to worries about their growth rate, the ultrasound may also have affected their size.

    "We just don't know," she said. Another study from Sweden has linked ultrasound to brain damage causing left-handedness in babies.

    But the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has repeatedly said no clinical studies have shown any risk to unborn children from the scans.
    Kelly xx

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  2. #2

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    Interesting. But for me, the benefits of ultrasound have far outweighed the risks.

    Lisa

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    This worries me a bit....I guess once I can feel bubs happily moving I wont need to have any more ultrasounds?

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    A ten-year Western Australia study showed that babies who were scanned a lot had significant growth retardation. Ms Pollard said while these babies were probably being scanned due to worries about their growth rate, the ultrasound may also have affected their size.
    That is a real catch 22 situation then isn't it?

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    This is a something felt very strongly in ĎThe Natural Way to Better Babiesí book as they believed it wasnít necessary. I decided I didnít want u/s with Amy after reading the book but DH did so we ended up having 4 @ 9 (checking for twins bc of large belly), 12 (routine), 20 (routine and found out sex) & 36 weeks (ob wanted to check position). I wanted to check for Downs and other things and I know that the u/s is not conclusive. Itís a hard one and in todayís society I think it is routine for most. It hasnít affected Amy as far as we know as she is perfect. I still wonder what effects it can have especially when my belly was really warm after one u/s. So I will continue to sit on the fence with this one.

  6. #6
    Kirsty77 Guest

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    I think personally it comes down to what the individual wants. The studies are inconclusive and can;t prove that it can cause damage to the fetus. I'm all for them, but thats my choice.

  7. #7

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    brain damage causing left-handedness in babies
    Speaking as a Leftie (who had no u/s scans as a foetus), bring on the brain damage! I have seen these studies - if you do the tummy ultrasound for about a week a month (constantly) then maybe there'll be something going on, they did show that with huge doses in rats. While I agree that "curiosity" u/s scans aren't good, being left-handed does not mean you're brain damaged! And my wonderful (and also left-handed) sonographer agrees with me!

  8. #8
    Kirsty77 Guest

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    That is ridiculous isn't it! To assume that all lefties are brain damaged!!What a crock!!

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    Well I had 4 scans with Jenna too. Normal 12w one, 16w in emergency because of cramping, 19w normal one and 41w overdue one.
    Maybe that explains a few things Like her height? LMAO.
    All of them were only about 2min except for the 19w one, and there are very few stats that are going to stop me getting the 19w u/s.

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    Kel, DS1 is part of the study your story mentioned, and I was in the group of women who had 8 u/s over the course of my pregnancy (the control group had just the one). DS1 is 15 this year, and the study has been the most comprehensive ever undertaken, so if they're saying that DS1's group showed growth retardation, I'd believe it! They test him rigorously every few years, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. You should see the huge questionnaire XH and I have to complete everytime he's due for a check!
    Last edited by sushee; May 11th, 2009 at 11:06 AM.

  11. #11

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    Its not so much that they think all lefties are brain damaged its more that because ultrasounded babies have a higher percentage of left handedness than non-ultrasounded ones, they know that "something" is being done to the brain to change it to left handed - so it *could* be a *sign* of damage.

    Its not that being left handed itself is bad, its just concerning that if ultrasound can slightly increase the incidence of left handedness - what else might it be slightly increasing the incidence of? Pretty difficult to prove. Like the article said, if you have a good reason to have an ultrasound - you should do it.

    (Edited to emphasise the "could" and "sign" and added second paragraph)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirsty77
    That is ridiculous isn't it! To assume that all lefties are brain damaged!!What a crock!!
    Last edited by jja; September 20th, 2006 at 06:04 PM.

  12. #12

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    It's not damage, it's an improvement! (said in a non-confrontational manner!)

    ETA: who would you seriously call being left-handed being brain-damaged? It's like calling dyslexics brain-damaged: OK, so their word skills are less good than "normal" but they're not brain damaged, but being left-handed affects nothing like that, just your dominant hand! And 90% of polar bears are left-handed, go and insult one of them, you silly sonographer!

  13. #13

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    At my hospital the standard is to only have the one at 18-20 weeks. I was asked if I wanted the NT scan but the hospital doesn't do them - I would have had to go to my GP to get it done, and by that time I was already 13 weeks so I didn't do it. That is fine by me, I have never felt the need to have any more. But then I can understand why women would want more than that, especially when there is a medical reason.

  14. #14
    Jacquelyn Guest

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    For me also, the information obtained during ultrasounds far outweigh the possible dangers. For me personally without ultrasound two of my three children probably would not have been here, due to abnormalities that were found purely by coincidence during ultrasound. As a result of the knowledge gained during the ultrasound I was able to be treated, and all turned out well.

    It is however a personal choice, and one that can only be made with all the information.

    Jacquelyn

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    I had 3 - one for about 2mins at 12wk to show bub was doing ok, one at 18wk and then one at about 32wk I think. I definately wouldn't do anymore than those either, just personally.

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    LOL at the brain damaged lefties! Aren't left handed people the only ones in their right mind?

    My OB scanned every visit, but EVER so quickly. He said the danger is in holding the scan on the baby too long, because it could heat the baby up.

    And isn't lefthandedness genetic rather than something wrong? Perhaps ultrasounds cause blue eyes too?

  17. #17
    Tigergirl1980 Guest

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    I only had 2 and the second one was only because they couldn't see Jonah's heart properly and just wanted to check that all was ok.

  18. #18

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    I had 3, one at 5.5 weeks, one at 12 weeks and one at 19 weeks.

    Next pg I think I will try to limit it to just two (12 and 18 weeks) but I really do wonder about the possibility of doing damage, and I hope I am not in a situation where I will have to have extra scans, although if they were needed for medical reasons then I think I would have them anyway.

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