If you’ve ever been through a pregnancy, you probably know that Doctors tend to force-feed ultrasounds down your throats. But you likely have never been able to quantify it. Research is now showing that the average amount of ultrasounds performed on pregnant women who fall into the low-risk category is 10-17. So if you thought it seemed like a lot, it most certainly is. For some low-risk pregnant women, that’s almost two per month of the pregnancy. But even if you consider the minimum, a pregnant woman would be subjected to ultrasounds every month during her pregnancy just to see some blurry image of their fetus.
Being scanned for every visit has become commonplace in the medical world. Many couples are more than willing as the images have become rather trendy social media shares. Many couples likely are thoughtless to what the repercussions might be during the process. But the risks are real. And there have been medical warnings issued in the past even in the face of rising ultrasounds.
In 2014, the American College of Radiology stated ultrasounds “should be performed only when there is a valid medical reason and the lowest possible ultrasonic exposure settings should be used.”
From the FDA: “Ultrasound scans should be done only when there is a medical need, based on a prescription, and performed by appropriately-trained operators.”
Additionally, Cochran review researchers said that early ultrasounds didn’t show any improvements when it comes to births and their results. And this information was decimated by the World Health Organization. More documentation shows they aren’t beneficial at all. Yet, ultrasounds, have since risen.
Ultrasounds are a perfect contributor to the “business of baby.” The medical world makes a great deal of money off pregnant women. It is very financially advantageous to push ultrasounds.
And 2013 article published in the Daily Beast citing links between ultrasounds and autism as well as other neurological disorders created a stir.
An Another study, of 2,834 pregnant women, published in the Lancet, showed that the babies of the randomly chosen group of 1,415 women who received five ultrasounds (as opposed to the group of 1,419 women who had only one scan at eighteen weeks) were much more likely to experience intrauterine growth restriction, a scary combination of words that means the fetus is not developing normally. Ironically, intrauterine growth restriction is one of the conditions that having multiple ultrasounds is supposed to detect.
What does the American College of Obstetricians policy state?
“Screening detects multiple gestations, congenital anomalies, and intrauterine growth restriction, but direct health benefits from having this knowledge currently are unproven. The decision ultimately rests with the physician and patient jointly.”
Maybe that’s all you need to know?
Another source for obstetricians called Williams Obstetrics stated the following:
“Sonography should be performed only with a valid medical indication,” the authors write, “and with the lowest possible exposure setting to gain necessary information.”
Pasko Rakic, M.D., a neuroscientist at Yale University School of Medicine, during a 2006 study found that neurons in the brains of mice were changed after exposure to ultrasounds. “We should be using the same care with ultrasound as with X-rays,” Rakic cautioned.
And now for the worst part: The technicians who run these require no formal training. The effect of this is that it allows ultrasound shops to pop up everywhere, almost like Starbucks. According to Fox6now: Currently, Connecticut is the only state in the United State to ban these keepsake ultrasound shops. That was put on the books in 2009. Dr. Wasserman says he hopes to see this industry regulated some day, but doesn’t see it happening here in Wisconsin any time in the near future.
When it comes to ultrasounds, buyer beware might be the best advice.