Monday, February 22, 2010

More Evidence About the Possible Dangers of Ultrasound

Year after year, the evidence keeps mounting, and yet, I am hearing about women having more and more ultrasounds during their pregnancy. This week, I came across an article in "Midwifery Today" about problems with sound and heat in prenatal ultrasounds. I'll jump through all the jargon and technicalities and just lay it on the line.

If you've ever had an ultrasound -- and who hasn't? -- the technician likely had to keep moving the transducer to keep up the baby. Did it ever cross your mind that perhaps your baby is trying to get away from the sound of the ultrasound? In 2001, research found, when placing a miniature hydrophone in a woman's uterus, the sound from an ultrasound to be "as loud as a subway train coming into the station." Recent research has found the same. High levels of heat are also associated with ultrasound.

A rise in temperature can cause damage to the baby's central nervous system. Repeated exposure shows that elevated heat caused by ultrasound damages fetal brains in other mammals, with the assumption that it can harm human brains as well. I just have to go back to the dramatic rise in autism in the last decade. Personally, I do not believe this is a coincidence. I believe that it is related to ultrasound.

The FDA and a number of medical associations have repeatedly advised against nonmedical or "keepsake" ultrasound portrait studios in local malls across the United States. There are a number of problems with these: The risks are possibly higher at these type of establishments because of the higher acoustic output required for high-definition images. Also, these sessions tend to be longer because the technicians are searching for suitable images. The technicians may or may not have a medical background or even appropriate training.

There is no way to tell if your baby will be affected adversely by ultrasound. Really, consider the reason for the ultrasound. What will you do with the results? Will it make a difference, regardless of what it tells you? Ultimately, is ultrasound worth the risks?


Hannah Reasoner said...

Thanks for the education. I know that I am not a fan of a freight train blowing by and I am sure Baby R wouldn't be either!

When I had an ultrasound at twelve weeks because of the continuous bleeding throughout the first trimester, the tech commented on how much the baby was moving. Although the hearing had not fully developed at that point, I told my husband when I got home that our baby was really moving so much to avoid those sound waves. I have such a good baby!

Thankfully, at 24 weeks now, I do not have a medical reason to have another ultrasound. Hoping and praying that my body stays well and baby continues to be safe and healthy in there.

Brannon and Emily Brock said...

Thanks so much for the research! I miscarried back in November, and evidence from the 2nd ultrasound (after our baby was gone) there were brain issues present. We had the first ultrasound with that pregnancy when I was just shy of a normal, healthy 7 weeks and my CNM said, when we discovered that I had miscarried, that the baby had most likely passed away at 8.5 weeks, not long after that first ultrasound. I've always been very apprehensive of them and if we are blessed with anymore little ones in the future, we plan to avoid ultrasounds unless it becomes a medical emergency.

Alicia said...

This evidence is really eye-opening. Depressingly, if there is a medical need, that means that the baby is more vulnerable to begin with, so it would seem that the ultrasounds would really cause more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. I'm all for having as few as possible, but do I really want to have a kid with down syndrome or some crazy developmental disease? No. So at least the ultrasounds give us a way to see these things before birth!

Donna Ryan said...

If I made a comment like the one above, I'd post anonymously too. That's a fine thing to say, my friend. Would you also abort a baby with a cleft palate/lip or club foot? Trying to have the perfect baby, are you? Good luck with that. Some things are better kept to yourself.

Carol said...

I have been reading your blog the last few days. (Got From Bellies and Babies I do believe) anyway I have been thinking about this for the last few months on and off. What I would do when we get pregnant with #2. I Decided I wasnt going to have the 20 week ultrasound to decide the sex. It doesnt change the outcome and whats really the point? And that I would maybe get one at 12 weeks to make sure we werent having twins. (We would need to be prepared for that) But then after reading all 3 of your ultrasound posts(I posted the link to the Autism one at one of the boards I frequent) I have decided there is really no need. Unless my midwife believes there is a serious need. I have no serious need. (Although some homebirth midwifes dont do multiples so if I was measuring big they might want to find out.) Anyway I love your blog and will continue to follow it.

Leanna said...

Thank you so much for this information! It makes me so glad that we went without any ultrasounds per our midwife's recommendation. During the pregnancy, I felt slightly nervous, but I prayed those feelings away. I got to have an all natural home birth when we welcomed our healthy 9 lb 8 oz baby boy on his due date and was overjoyed that even though we didn't partake in the "magic" of ultrasounds, not a thing was "wrong" with him.

Somehow, even after that, I have been thinking about having an ultrasound during my next pregnancy. (I have no idea why I would want to.) After reading this, however, I KNOW that I don't need them or want them. So, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Yale University is doing research with fetal mice. During ultrasound their frontal lobe brain cells actually migrate to the back of the brain! As a Speech Pathologist who works with children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, I am anxious for researchers to find the answers. I personally feel this may be one of many environmental causes of autism. I encourage young women I know to resist the medical personnel who use ultrasound to lower their own risks of medical malpractice suits.

AnonymousAbortionMe said...

If ultrasound can be used to kill sperm (a method of male contraception) then should we be surprised that it can damage a fetus?

Ps - In response to what you said to Anonymous, she never said anything about abortion! Some families can be better emotionally etc prepared for their DS baby if they know about it via ultrasound mid-pregnancy.