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Ultrasounds: Being Fully Informed

Originally published at Sacred Pathways Doula Services. Please leave any comments there.

When I was pregnant with my son I first heard someone question the safety of Ultrasound. At that time I didn’t exactly ignore the words, but put them to the back of my mind. With my second pregnancy I fell into the excitement that was the 3D ultrasound, but at that time any warnings I had heard were far away echoes. Today as I face a pregnancy filled with ultrasounds due to it’s nature (IVF) the old words come back to me.

In the past few months I’ve seen quite a few blog posts, reports, and studies being published about Ultrasound. About it’s potential for danger, and how health experts are warning against it’s over use in pregnancy. As a result I’ve embarked on a dig for more information to both educate myself, and to have the information for future and current clients. What I have found does make me pause to wonder if having those ‘cute’ first photos are really worth it.

There are many articles out now about the possible dangers of Ultrasound, how its use and safety have not really been studied. Something similar happened in the 1930s for antenatal care and that was X-rays. It only later came out that they were linked to childhood cancer. We all know the dangers of x-rays. We encounter their careful use of lead aprons when we go to the dentist, or are worried our child has broken a bone. But what about ultrasounds? What danger could they pose to a develloping fetus?

Ultrasound is exactly as it name would imply. Ultra sound waves. They create various echoes against different kinds of tissue and this is what allows us to see our babies as they grow and develop. But at the same time, though high frequency sound waves could be doing damage and we wouldn’t even know it. If you think about it, people out on the airways dealing with jets have to wear protective coverings for their ears. Why? Because the sound is so intense and so loud that it can be damaging. Sound is vibrational and vibrations can cause damage. Could that high ultra sonic sound in utero cause problems with cells as they grow and develop? Certainly it is something to think about and that every parent should research more. Oh sure, we all love seeing numerous pictures of our babies as they grow and develop…but what if?

Below you will find a collection of informative and thought provoking links on the subject of ultrasounds. They are all worth reading and can help you form an opinion on whether going for that extra U/S at your doctor’s office, just to see how chubby baby is this month, is worth taking a chance.

http://www.birthinternational.com/articles/wagner02.html
http://midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasoundrodgers.asp
http://www.joyousbirth.info/forums/showthread.php?t=71
http://www.ehow.com/about_5347776_dangers-fetal-doppler.html
https://www.asrt.org/content/News/IndustryNewsBriefs/Sono/studyshows062408.aspx
http://www.aims.org.uk/Journal/Vol17No1/ultrasound.htm