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Ultrasounds....are they dangerous?

(16 Posts)
tigger8 Mon 24-Mar-14 07:00:06

The jury seems to be out on this one. I am, basically, wondering if it is 'worth' getting a reassurance scan at 7 wks or not. I know that, ultimately, this is our decision but would value your thoughts. Some people do seem to report MC after an early scan - is this just coincidental?

Bb14 Mon 24-Mar-14 07:38:04

I'm guessing the link with early scans and MC is that you are more likely to be going for an early scan if you have MC symptoms. US is safe but only recommend by NHS if there is a medical need.

Amo101 Mon 24-Mar-14 07:39:12

I had 4 scans prior to my 12 week scan and have had no issues with this pregnancy so far and I'm currently 21 weeks with triplets!

From my own research over the years after miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies it would seem that the link between miscarriage and early scans is coincidental due to the fact that the majority of women have an early scan because they are already having problems with the pregnancy such as pain and/or bleeding.

greentshirt Mon 24-Mar-14 07:42:53

I don't think the 'jury is out' if they were dangerous they wouldn't do them so frequently as a matter of course.

WishUponAStar88 Mon 24-Mar-14 07:45:03

There is no 'link'. No risk as no radiation (unlike xrays, CT or MRI scans)

FrontForward Mon 24-Mar-14 07:46:45

Ultrasound (safety of) was part of a PgD years ago...

Ultrasound causes cavitation and heating in a nutshell. Used at the power ratings and length of scan that it is used in the NHS it is safe.

Used indiscriminately, un serviced machines, probes with high power outputs and for long periods of time it has the potential to cause harm

I would happily have lots of diagnostic scans in pregnancy if there was a medical basis for it.

I would not have 'reassurance' scans because there is evidence that they don't reassure for long. (The short while after until the same cycle of anxiety sets up again with mum believing only a scan can help)

I would not have 4 D scans (high power and lengthy and not needed)

I would question whether Doppler of cranial vessels was needed in my pregnancy. Very useful in high risk but not routinely.

FrontForward Mon 24-Mar-14 07:48:48
FrontForward Mon 24-Mar-14 07:50:03

And here ...

FrontForward Mon 24-Mar-14 07:50:37

Click the dots smile

FrontForward Mon 24-Mar-14 07:51:37
Slh122 Mon 24-Mar-14 07:55:11

I had 8 scans in my pregnancy and no problems here.

squizita Mon 24-Mar-14 09:10:46

Tigger the jury is NOT out. There are some conflated sets of information on the web mixing up the fact that women who have scans often miscarry with scans causing miscarriage. Women who are prone to miscarriage, or experiencing pain, have more scans. Thus there is a correlation but not a causation. It's a classic 'smoke and mirrors' case.

To suggest to already vulnurable women that this harmless diagnostic tool could be causing problems could have horrible psychological results if they blame themselves for a loss afterwards.

Additionally, shying away from ultrasound because of hearsay can place women with pain in a dangerous position: the risks associated with a later diagnosis of ectopic or molar pregnancy for example.

The top anti-miscarriage experts in the world (the Danish team, Lesley Regan, Prof Quenby etc') are almost unanimous in their support of what is commonly called 'TLC care'. That is to say, if a woman prone to miscarriage is given extra reassurance... usually by way of extra ultrasounds in the 1st 12 weeks... it improves outcomes by up to 60%. Research is still going on as to why: all they know is it works. In such cases, ultrasound would cause more losses than in the general population as these women are already prone. In fact, their use improved outcomes (not because of anything physical the ultrasound does, but it provides a psychological boost and enables the consultant to keep a close eye on any diagnosed condition).

I have had 5 scans so far this pregnancy. I am very glad of them, they monitored that my blood medication was working and all was well.

2 of my losses had 3 scans: I know (as I have a diagnosis of a blood condition which caused them and the scans showed no heartbeat from the offset- the others were to confirm the diagnosis and check all materials had come out of me). 1 of them I had 10 scans and 25 blood tests ... it was a partial molar, so the 'reason' was a genetic abnormality. However, compared to 'normal' women, I had 3 losses and a hell of a lot of scans... on paper, that could (incorrectly) suggest a correlation.

squizita Mon 24-Mar-14 09:13:17

... just to add. TLC treatment goes hand-in-hand with advice and guidance from a trained specialist. As Frontforward mentions
"I would not have 'reassurance' scans because there is evidence that they don't reassure for long. (The short while after until the same cycle of anxiety sets up again with mum believing only a scan can help)"
Just paying your £95 every couple of weeks is a cold hard money spinner for some private clinics, causing fear to mums. It's not the same as proper TLC care.

tigger8 Mon 24-Mar-14 09:20:12

Fantastic, informative advice. Thank you all, very much.

StrawberryGashes Mon 24-Mar-14 09:21:40

I had an early scan and mc the next day, but I was only having an early scan because I was having bleeding. My uncle is a GP and recommended we only had NHS scans for medical reasons and avoided the 3D scans.

It's not radiation that's the issue as someone suggested upthread, it's the extra heat that they cause, and the 3D scans cause more heat and are used for up to 45 minutes.

I'm sure I read somewhere that a scan for no more than 15 minutes should be fine. Although I can't remember where I read it, it was during my pregnancy paranoia phase where I spent hours scanning studies for ultrasound risks.

time2deal Mon 24-Mar-14 09:29:40

I would not have 'reassurance' scans because there is evidence that they don't reassure for long. (The short while after until the same cycle of anxiety sets up again with mum believing only a scan can help)

I agree with this. I've had additional scans due to a bit of bleeding, and some cervical incompetence issues. I find I am more anxious a few days after a scan, and start to think ahead to the next one which isn't ever more than 2 weeks away. I then get more anxious as it approaches. If I had longer periods between scans I think I would worry less. Silly as that sounds!

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