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Ultrasounds - risky?

(16 Posts)
mssleepyhead Sat 14-Jun-14 15:10:22

I'm 30 weeks and have so far been scanned at 7, 12, 13, 18 and 21 weeks, for various reasons. I've also got another scan booked next weekend to check how baby is before the birth, and there may be more to come as he seems like a big boy. I was fine with all of these scans until someone at work asked me if I wasn't worried about brain damage. I had no idea what she was talking about but have just been reading some reports that have linked scans to brain damage. I'd never heard of this before but I'm slightly worried now. Had anyone had any problems with over scanning? And should I cancel next week's (private) scan?

BlondieBrownie Sat 14-Jun-14 15:23:14

I had 8 ultrasounds for DS1 and 10 for DS2.

They are perfectly fine, I would stay away from google as it can scare you when you shouldn't worry.

I honestly wouldn't worry at all but if you would feel better by giving your midwife a ring for a second opinion then do so.

Boogles91 Sat 14-Jun-14 15:28:14

Ultrasounds are fine, if there was any risk they wouldnt do so many and would have told you. Its more xrays, ct scans and mri's as theyre the ones that pose the risks, as its the radiation from them. If that was the case ive had so so many ultrasounds in my life, i would expect to have something wrong by now -.- and like you i have had loadsa scans on baby. Your friend obviously is a worrier....

porcito Sat 14-Jun-14 17:43:12

Where I live they give one a month, and I've also had several emergency ones due to being ridiculously paranoid. All the mums I know here have delivered healthy babies.

I was also worried and the only thing I found was that ultrasound can SLIGHTLY increase the temperature. We asked our doctor and she said the length of time the ultrasound is over the baby wouldn't have any effect. If you were having 4 hour ultrasounds every week, maybe.

pommedeterre Sat 14-Jun-14 17:45:16

I had 8 for dd1 and 9 for dd2.

5 so far for this pg.

Both girls are fine. Dd1 is left handed, no one else in family is and I have read this can be linked to lots of scans. Not exactly brain damage though!

mssleepyhead Sat 14-Jun-14 18:37:00

thank you everyone - i'll go in to work on monday and let my colleague know! more unhelpful pregnancy advice from strangers... i'll get used to it one day!

CarefullyAirbrushedPotato Sun 15-Jun-14 12:25:25

AIMS has good information about ultrasound. It's not especially reassuring though, just to warn you www.aims.org.uk/Journal/Vol16No4/ultrasound.htm

I think not a huge amount of research has been done and I have read that one risk is the heat factor, but I think you have to weigh it up against how useful they are and the fact that the risks seem so far to be very slim.

ClaretAndBlue30 Sun 15-Jun-14 13:42:38

One of the first unsolicited pieces of pregnancy 'advice' I received was someone telling me ultrasounds were unsafe - following my scans at 4,5,7,10 and 12 weeks. Like you, it worried me a little!

However I spoke to both a doctor and midwife about it and sonographers work within very strict guidelines to ensure it's safety and there is no evidence to suggest it does any damage. The benefits of scanning FAR outweigh any risk. My baby is happy and healthy at 24 weeks.

Unfortunately pregnancy just makes everyone think they're an expert!!

squizita Sun 15-Jun-14 18:29:50

I'm high risk so they ultrasounded me a lot in early pregnancy: the national specialists employed to keep my baby alive and healthy gave me lots of scans. The ones who know about tiny changes in blood texture etc' and how they are risky scanned me almost weekly.
That told me all I needed to know about safety! smile DH read up on it and found highly scanned babies are slightly more likely to be left handed, no other issues!

Some people get a bit mixed up between correlation and causation. Older women, women with health issues, women who have miscarriages or babies with medical problems get scanned as part of diagnosis/care, women who bloom with healthy babies less so: so, when you look at the raw data you see "many ultrasounds" = "more problems". Which bad media/woo thinking turns into a cause. In fact it's the medical issues causing the scans, not the other way round!

squizita Sun 15-Jun-14 18:38:57

Carefully AIMS has a highly particular agenda: it is an organisation set up AGAINST medical intervention in birth/pregnancy. They use the controversial term "normal birth" (as opposed to 'natural' or 'vaginal') on their home page, for example. The science in that article was pretty muddled and TBH unbalanced/biased: it was an interpretation by a member of AIMS of other papers and information, discarding some things and with a target audience (women wanting clout to their refusals of ultrasound) in mind.

Maternal anxiety on the other hand is a known medical condition all experts and groups acknowledge exists and triggers other medical issues. Scare papers on the internet do not help with this.

Having read actual research papers/summaries, the only thing I've ever found come up consistently is slightly raised levels of left handedness (a Canadian paper).
All others note that ultrasound is usually used after a problem is suspected, and thus when it is found is unlikely to have caused anything.

pommedeterre Sun 15-Jun-14 18:59:18

LOL at that AIMS article.

Definitely not worrying me and I definitely will be attending all the scans my doc recommends.

The internet is full of crap.

RedToothBrush Sun 15-Jun-14 19:03:09

If ultrasounds were linked to causing brain damage, do you think that there would be so many private reassurance scan companies about? None of these ever have a disclaimer about the risks. Not even in the risk adverse states.

Why is that?

Don't you think they would be concerned about potentially getting sued if there was evidence to support the theory. If there is a link, then its incredibly small and incredibly difficult to conclusively prove its down to the scan itself and not other pre-existing issues.

Anything that is significant is MORE LIKELY to be picked up, BECAUSE of the scan, therefore you can easily argue that the benefits out weigh any tiny issues that they may create.

squizita Sun 15-Jun-14 19:16:37

Pomme the reason I have such a bugbear about them is I once had a passionate supporter of theirs tell me birth for 'normal' women would be more dignified if women with pelvic injuries, blood disorders etc' were just advised not to have babies as they were in the past. An "I'm alright Jack" approach to dignity: if you don't fit in get lost.
Because their one focus in consultants and C sections are bad and they've lost the subtlety most other pro-birth-dignity organisations have which is that interventions are good when used appropriately but not otherwise.

pommedeterre Sun 15-Jun-14 20:18:06

Then me, my two dds, in utero ds and my blood disorder flip the bird at them smile

Twunks.

mssleepyhead Mon 16-Jun-14 18:57:37

Thank you all for raising such interesting points! I didn't know that about AIMS - shows how important it is to read research carefully. Feeling much better about my scan on Saturday now and like I can let myself get a bit excited to see the little guy again!

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