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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Call me an alarmist...

But modern prenatal care scares me in a LOT of ways. Not just the worrisome rate of C-section in the US, but more recently, a midwife friend of mine brought the concern with ultrasounds and doppler usage to my attention.

We're basically bombarding a growing unborn baby with ultra sonic sound waves. Did you know the military uses sound waves as a weapon now? Sound is nothing to fuck around with. There is REAL energy carried in sound waves. Think about when you go somewhere with super loud bass how it thumps uncomfortably in your chest...

There is a blog I follow (but don't always read because sometimes the information is really upsetting (because it's true) that is well written and researched with documentation. This is an excerpt from a article posted there.

"From 2,834 pregnant women, 1,415 received ultrasound imaging at 18,24, 28, 34 and 38 weeks gestation (intensive group) while the other 1,419 received single ultrasound imaging at 18 weeks (regular group). The only difference between the two groups was significantly higher (one-third more) intrauterine growth retardation in the intensive group. This important and serious finding prompted the authors to state: "It would seem prudent to limit ultrasound examinations of the fetus to those cases in which the information is likely to be of clinical importance". Ironically, it is now likely that ultrasound may lead to the very condition, IUGR, that it has for so long claimed to be effective in detecting."

The very ultrasound tools we use today were originally used to detect flaws in metal. Metal isn't alive, so who cares if it is dangerous to growing tissue, right? I mean, the creator obviously wasn't expecting the technology to be borrowed by a Scottish doctor to look at tumors and then later at unborn babies.

Prior to u/s technology, doctors routinely used X-RAYS to check fetal growth. WTF! And at the time, it was said that "antenatal work without the routine use of X-rays is no more justifiable than would be the treatment of fractures".

It just alarms me that we run around blasting our unborn kids with ultrasounds on a monthly basis in some cases for the purpose of checking growth.

Trust me, I had a miscarriage. One where I didn't even know until 2 weeks AFTER the fact because my body still thought I was pregnant. I understand the peace of mind peeking at that little heartbeat provides, but does anyone ever stop to think that a technology barely 30 years old with very little study into it's complete safety shouldn't be handed out like candy? It's a GREAT diagnostic tool, but nowadays we have companies providing "fun ultrasounds" and a album of pictures for the family book... Scary.

I'm not bashing anyone who does have repeated u/s. It's all your choice but in light of what I've been reading, I am glad I had a midwife last pregnancy who was "anti-frivolous ultrasound" (her words) and only had 2 with Q.

We have a health care system who has repeatedly pushed things to the medical market before being certain they are 100% safe (viox, effexor, etc) so it definitely raises some flags for me knowing what I have learned.

Something to think about, yes?

9 comments:

Amanda said...

With Caedmon I had at least 4, possibly 5 ultrasounds for...no reason. No reason whatsoever. I was not high risk, he never had any concerning anomalies on any of the ultrasounds and the reasoning for the ultrasounds was only given for the first on to check how far along I was (I had no clue when I had gotten pregnant) and the 20 week because it was 'routine'. I still have no idea why I was subjected to the other 2 or 3.

With Presley I opted for the 20 week to check her out and that was it. However, when I was 37 weeks (before I switched to my homebirth midwife) my OB tried to pressure me into an XRAY to check her position. An Xray on a pregnant woman in the year 2006! WTF?!?

Needless to say, that was the last visit I had to that OB and I was on the phone with my midwife before I even left the building.

Queen Bee said...

i am totally ashamed to admit how many ultrasounds my OB gave me when i was pg with logan... the doppler was only used maybe once? we really were just so ignorant during my pregnancy and newborn period with him. thank G-d we have different options available and better educated this time around.

prenatal and birth care in the US is flawed in the most simplistic ways. here in Ohio there is a big underground movement to chnage things for our state because parents who opt for a homebirth can be prosecuted and horrible things have happend to some of our homebirthing midwives. it's frightening.

Felicity said...

I just wanted to say that I love everything about your blog, and I'm so glad that it's NaBloPoMo!

Sarah R said...

At my clinic, the only one that is standard is the 18 week ultrasound. This time, I had one at 9 weeks as well (only because they wanted to do one after I got past the point where my last one died), but it was VERY quick and they don't measure the heartbeat because they said it is harmful to the baby. I am glad they are looking out for me. They don't even have a 3D machine (not sure of the reasons, but it doesn't but me any).

I don't understand the 3D "photo booth" sessions. I err on the side of caution and won't even put my laptop on my stomach (the wireless signal is similar to a cell phone signal).

I didn't buy/rent a doppler either.

I am always looking deeper into things, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Something that caught my attention was the fact that the ultrasound actually HEATS the material (in this case, the baby).

Kate said...

i totally respect not wanting anything unneccessary during pg, & most pg do NOT require repeat u/s. that said, some do. with my twins, we had growth concerns (TTTS or twin to twin transfusion syndrome is super scary) & the only way to monitor their growth was with u/s. i would rather have risked the repeat u/s than have risked losing my babies. i also went into preterm labor at 26 weeks, so i had several u/s to measure my ever-shrinking cervix. again, something i considered worth the risk. & despite the high number of u/s, when my boys were born at 33 weeks, they were considered "huge" at 5 lbs each, despite the fact that they were 2mos early. i point this out not to be argumentative, since i really do respect your decision to remain as natural as possible with Q & this new LO, but just to add to the conversation some circumstances where repeat u/s are indicated & not neccessarily harmful.

Lisa said...

I completely agree that frivolous ultrasounds should not occur. I had a lot due to the fact that I was carrying twins. There were many issues that my OB needed to check on and I was ok with that. There were definite reasons and they did not last longer than necessary. Thankfully my boys turned out ok.

Jessi said...

I've thought about this a lot before but also realize that thousands of women get ultrasounds without any side effects.

I'm not sure. That being said, I don't go get tons of ultrasounds either. I did a 20 week with both of my kids and with my second got a 3d/4d. From the way he was on the 4d ultrasound you couldn't tell that sound waves were being transmitted into the uterus, he wasn't effected at all. He was yawning and playing with the cord and stayed relaxed.

I understand what you mean though, I really do.

BTW congrats on the pregnancy!

rocket.queen. said...

Understandably, twin pregnancies can be higher risk and therefor more justifiable cause for u/s BUT I've learned over the years that just because a Dr says it is necessary isn't always true. Many of the directives and treatment procedures doctors are taught are outdated and even based on fallacious logic. My midwife's routine policy for twins is only considering extra u/s near the end to check placental function because of the tendency for the placenta to wear out faster.

I would like to point out that I NEVER said that there isn't a reason for more than one or two routine u/s which a few of you seemed to have assumed I am against.

I would also like to point out that even in the study, not every baby in the increased group had growth issues, only a percentage so of course some babies are exposed to a higher than normal amount and get through unscathed... similar to the fact that only a percentage of smokers get lung cancer.

The thing is, in the medical world very few things are directly causal in relationship. All you can do is your best to eliminate the risk factors and barring an sort of high risk condition with this and ANY of my subsequent pregnancies, I am simply stating another precaution i will be taking.

4 Lettre Words said...

Wow. That's really scary. I had more with my first son and, at the time, I thought it was cool.