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Increased risk of learning difficulties the more scans you have, is my MW talking out of her..

(41 Posts)
FoofFighter Wed 16-Jan-13 19:53:15


MW today was banging on about private scans and that the more scans you have the more likely you are to have a baby with learning difficulties like Dyslexia etc shortly before saying I might get an extra scan at 34 weeks if I am lucky?!

I can't find much concerning this on Dr. Google and what little there is dates back to the 90s..

Has anyone got any advice about this? I'm not worried, just annoyed if she is giving out duff advice to others who may panic about it.

I have never heard this said, ever, I have had 6 babies and was scanned every couple of weeks throughout with them all, my ds has dyslexia (as do all the males on my side of the family) and my daughters don't. I am 99.99% certain this is utter bullshit.

Allinonebucket Wed 16-Jan-13 19:58:33

It sounds like nonsense to me.
I doubt they'd do scans at all without making you read something about the risks, if there were any risks, IYSWIM.

Yes, MW should know better and is spouting complete bollocks. As scans are ultrasound they are completely safe for you and baby. V irresponsible of MW worrying mothers with that nonsense, would it be worth mentioning it to a more senior MW, so she stops telling others the same?
All the best with your pregnancy

Yes, MW should know better and is spouting complete bollocks. As scans are ultrasound they are completely safe for you and baby. V irresponsible of MW worrying mothers with that nonsense, would it be worth mentioning it to a more senior MW, so she stops telling others the same?
All the best with your pregnancy

lljkk Wed 16-Jan-13 20:29:24

Learning difficulties, I don't believe that.

But the more likely that you will suffer a false alarm, yes. That is the danger of extra scans.

Emsyboo Wed 16-Jan-13 20:32:56

This is ridiculous!
I would tell a more senior midwife if she is telling people that they may refuse scans which could be dangerous! I am having extra scans because baby needs monitoring and we can't just assume things that are going on if I didn't have these scans or refused because I was worried about learning difficulties me and the baby could be in danger if I went into labour!
Stupid woman should know better!

lightrain Wed 16-Jan-13 20:33:26

Please let somebody more senior know about this - she's talking utter bollocks and should be allowed to continue spreading it!

CheeseStrawWars Wed 16-Jan-13 20:36:06

We had extra scans as we agreed to take part in a medical research study for our local (and excellent) hospital. No-one mentioned anything about side-effects of more scans. I would have expected them to have had something on the consent form making you aware if there was any risk of, well, anything.

LikeCandy Wed 16-Jan-13 20:36:50

Some research suggests that ultrasound scans (especially first trimester) can be a contributing factor in left-handedness, as far as I am aware that's no disability though!

FoofFighter Wed 16-Jan-13 20:37:17

but the more likely that you will suffer a false alarm, yes. That is the danger of extra scans
Sorry not sure what you meant with this?

It's not my usual MW so will see what the other one says when I see her next. like I said I wasn't under any illusion that it was anything much more than hearsay or a possible link years ago, but others are not as wordly and would take it as gospel. She also had choice views about 3d/4d scans!

FoofFighter Wed 16-Jan-13 20:38:05

She mentioned left handedness too.

philbee Wed 16-Jan-13 20:48:02

I have read, in reputable places, that they just don't know what the effects are. There is no choir of pregnant women which has had as much monitoring as we go through in terms of scans or dopplers. The US FDA (I think, need to check) recommends against having 'entertainment' scans, eg to see what the baby looks like for that reason. But they say that the number of medical scans we have, to check for anomalies etc. has been found to be safe. Saying there is any established link between scans and any condition is bullshit though, yes.

philbee Wed 16-Jan-13 20:48:39

cohort not choir. smile

A quick google comes up with lots of other people saying these things too but no solid references that I could see. I had loads of scans in pregnancy and questioned this and was always told, its wise to limit them to only those considered clinically necessary due to any unknown side effects, but those deemed clinically necessary are so for a reason. She was wrong to state it as fact.

InNeatCognac Wed 16-Jan-13 20:52:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Midwives are supposed to provide 'evidence based' care and information. So, she could say that there is simply not enough evidence to know for sure how safe scans are, and some might prefer to avoid unnecessary scans but she absolutely should not be saying what she said!

scaevola Wed 16-Jan-13 20:53:51

The left-handedness thing arose from a Swedish study which showed slightly huger than expected rates. But this study was never replicated and confirmed, because the medical advantages of scans were so clear and overwhelming it was ruled unethical to deprive any woman of them.

It's rubbish. I was under the recurrent miscarriage clinic and until I got to 14 weeks I was scanned every week from 5 weeks. This was requested by my consultant. They wouldn't do that if there was other contraindications. Ignore her, enjoy the private scan if you have it!

TwitchyTail Wed 16-Jan-13 21:35:00

Total bullsh*t. They are sound waves. No radiation is involved!

Repeated radiation may be harmful but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

Another person here being scanned every week (from 28 weeks) and I'm a doctor. Your midwife really needs pulling up on this, as her daft comments might well discourage other women from having even clinically necessary scans, putting them and their babies at risk.

throckenholt Thu 17-Jan-13 08:50:54

I would say she is !

I had frequent scans with my twins (probably about 20-30 in all) - and they are fine. One is left handed though grin

fraktion Thu 17-Jan-13 09:03:17

In France it's fairly common practice to scan quickly every month so that's at least 8, possibly more if you have to have anomaly scans redone. I had scans at 6, 11, 13, 17, 22, 24, 28, 32, 33, 36 and 40 weeks. DS is only 20 months but I'm not particularly worried about dyslexia.

dappleton Thu 17-Jan-13 09:06:23

I live in a part of africa where everyone who can afford private hospitals use them rather than public. The private hospitals scan so much that I lost count of how many scans I had. The public hospitals scan just once as far as I know. Based on your MW's theory most children in this country from wealthier backgrounds would have learning difficulties and most from other backgrounds would not. Unsurprisingly it's not the case.

DonderandBlitzen Thu 17-Jan-13 09:12:11

I had a pregnancy yoga teacher who was very woo and she said "Sound rays can be used to demolish buildings. Think what they can do to a baby!" hmm

perceptionreality Thu 17-Jan-13 09:15:37

This is one of those things you couldn't possibly know the answer to tbh - how would anyone be able to accurately research such a thing?

These days lots of people have scans in private clinics for non-emergencies - if there was a known risk I doubt this would happen. But it's a bit like the mobile phone hypothesis isn't it?

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Thu 17-Jan-13 09:25:45

Very dangerous for a so called professional to be spouting things like that without an evidence base

LeBFG Thu 17-Jan-13 09:34:09

There's a good argument to doing more scans in fact. Routine third trimester scans are great for checking cords around necks, foetal wellbeing, growth and others things too I'm sure. I don't think this is routine in the UK (I'm in France - this is routine here). For instance, Singapore do lots of scan and have one of the lowest stillbirth rates in the world.

TwitchyTail Thu 17-Jan-13 09:55:22

Agree with LeBFG. I had a growth scan at 28 weeks for being marginally underweight pre-pregnancy. Growth was fine but it incidentally picked up a problem with the placenta, and I'm now being monitored and treated appropriately with plans for early delivery if/when things deteriorate. Without this, my baby could well have been stillborn and I'd never have known why (it is not something that could have been picked up any other way until it was too late).

So I'm taking all the scans I can get thanks very much.

Startail Thu 17-Jan-13 10:06:04

DD1 (lots of extra scans 32 weeks+ for low fluid and being small for dates) and DFs twins (extra scans for being twins) are dyslexic and one twin is left handed.

Non of or other DCs who haven't had extra scans are dyslexic.

Mind you I'm dyslexic too and I don't thing scans existed.

bamboozled Thu 17-Jan-13 10:09:20

Total and utter bollocks. You should report her for scaremongering.

bamboozled Thu 17-Jan-13 10:19:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Startail Thu 17-Jan-13 10:41:50

Yes, I would like to point out that anicdote doesn't equal evidence.
I'm certain that DD1 is dyslexic due to being my DD and nothing to do with extra scans. She's very like me in other ways too.

Clear being small and having low amniotic fluid levels may be a risk too.

However, DD2 was pretty small too, but I had laid back MWs and no extra scans. She is as undyslexic as it is possible to be. However, once again I think that is genetic. She is DHs DD and his English teacher DMum's grand child to the letter.

The twins are IVF which also may or may not have an effect.

MimiCooper Thu 17-Jan-13 11:26:00

Because there has not been enough research done into the possible side effects of Ultasound Scans in pregnancy to make give a 100% definitive answer,(its not been too long medically speaking since scans in pregnancy have been done). Most Obstetricians and midwives would be irresponsible to say they are risk free. However saying that the benefits are considered to outweigh the risks in most situations. There have been studies into Autism links, Deafness and ADHD and many other things which appear to be on the rise in children to see if the Scans are the cause, but nothing has been proven yet. So whereas your midwife was wrong to say too many scans will cause a problem, she was right in that nobody can say scans are 100% safe.

Vix07 Thu 17-Jan-13 11:50:56

I was told the same thing - have just googled to see if I can find the original - but this is similar www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/ultrasoundrodgers.asp

The original specifically referenced US studies done on rats/mice showing significant defects but obviously these cannot be replicated in pregnant women for ethical reasons. It is also worth bearing in mind that where data has been collated from women who have had a more intensive scan programme where the pattern of higher levels of problems had originally been picked up these women were already high risk hence the need for additional scans... tho this is not exactly conclusive refutation.

FWIW I took the line that the benefits of the standard scans done here (esp the 20 wk abnormalities check) out weighs the potential risk, and that we simply would avoid any medically unnecessary scans.

FoofFighter Thu 17-Jan-13 12:18:13

Thank you all, I think I need to say something to someone don't I?

orangetickle Thu 17-Jan-13 12:39:09

Load of crap.

I'm in the USA and have been scanned at EVERY SINGLE appointment (I'm not high risk, no concern over the baby etc - just standard procedure). Not for long each time, but I reckon I've had over 20 scans this whole pregnancy so far (am 34wks)....

Emsyboo Thu 17-Jan-13 12:42:44

Definitely take it higher think of any inexperienced or naive mums who may take it to the word.
The pros of scans outweigh the possibility that there may be adverse effects.
Scans give you knowledge that could save lives and are just sound waves.
Millions of babies are born that have been scanned but they are also exposed to more of other things so a rise in autism, dyslexia etc cant be put down to scans until there is better analysis no medical professional should be stating this as fact. X

PetiteRaleuse Thu 17-Jan-13 12:50:43

Yes you need to say something. It was a very irresponsible thing to say. I was scanned between every two and four weeks of my pregnancies. My ob gyn said that while they couldn't be certain than scanning did no harm, for the moment there is no evidence to say it does any harm. Your mw needs to stop spreading crap.

MrFranklyShankly Thu 17-Jan-13 13:29:25

Oh my god what planet is this woman on....I work in a service that provides care for adults with intellectual disabilities for the 13 years and NEVER once has this EVER been a reasons for a diagnosis for any of the many syndromes that come under the heading learning disabilities......also I'm left handed, and was born in rural Ireland during the dark ages where there was no scans for women, where you seen the dr at 6 months pregnant and they said yep your pregnant!!! My mum never had any scans with any of her pregnancies...So that rules that one out too!

Patchouli Thu 17-Jan-13 13:43:39

I remember reading that scans had shown to cause neurological damage in mice - so they considering higher instances in autism, dyslexia, schizophrenia etc
And that some babies move about a lot / flinch etc as if to avoid vibrations/heat or whatever the feel from the process.

If you have a complicated pregnancy it is better to have scans than to let problems go undetected with possibly tragic results. "

But I would avoid having scans for entertainment.

VickyU Thu 17-Jan-13 15:32:32

From what I have read this is utter nonsense. But I did read some research that suggested that private scans where the main objective is to see the baby/get a good picture may be slightly harmful if done too often as they tend to focs on the baby's head more to 'get a good photo' whereas general health scans like growth scans don't do this so are not harmful. This might be utter b*ll*cks but it is what I read! Having said that, I have had 7 hospital scans so far and a final one next week because of various health problems plus 2 private scans at 16 and 21 weeks so I can't have been that worried!

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