Tuesday, June 19, 2007

routine prenatal ultrasounds? no thanks.

a pregnant friend of mine just told me that she is lucky enough to have a doctor that will give her an ultrasound at every appointment. i didn't tell her that i didn't think that made her "lucky".

perhaps i should have expressed my concerns...

all too often, i hear about women whose experience of pregnancy was one of a medicalized condition rather than a life journey. when a woman finds out that she's pregnant, suddenly she is placed on a roller coaster ride of ultrasounds, glucose tests, blood tests, amniocentisis... it can almost feel as though pregnancy is dangerous to us.pregnancy is a LIFE experience not a MEDICAL experience.

although the mainstream medical community will swear they are perfectly safe, others have raised questions about the long term effects of repeated ultrasounds. the truth is that not enough studies have been done to ensure that we aren't doing damage. even mainstream media such as CNN and BBC have picked up on the issue.the other side of the story is that ultrasounds can only tell us so much. old equipment and unskilled technicians play a huge part is the effectiveness of using ultrasounds for diagnostic purposes.

and for the most part, repeated ultrasounds are just for keeping mom happy.

recently, 3D and 4D ultrasounds have become available across the u.s and even a few in canada. these are even more worriesome as they are being carried out in mall shops; unmonitored and unregulated. even the conservative FDA is concerned.

here is a well researched article with excellent references that looks at the risks of this new "fad".

overall i think it's wise to be err on the side of caution and get only the ultrasounds that are medically neccessary because until someone can prove to me definitively that they are safe, i'm not convinced.

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