3D Ultrasounds, for parents with more money than brains

Last night I received a call from an old friend to alert me to this article in the Vancouver Sun.  My friend is a midwife who trained in Scotland more than 40 years ago with Prof. Ian Donald, the father of obstetric ultrasound.  She was busy writing her letter of protest to the newspaper to let them know that her professor would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what sort of frivolous high jinks modern man has devised for this technology.

It really does boggle the mind that the reporter, who has enough brains to string some sentences together, can over ride warnings from all the professional bodies that ultrasound should be reserved for medical use.  Perhaps it’s because those professional bodies have over-used the technology that parents don’t think anything of ignoring warnings.

Keep those sound waves away from me!

Keep those sound waves away from me!

25 w.g.a. 3 D u/s

I can remember when I was a child that we used to play on x-ray machines.  Everyone thought that x-rays were benign.  Our local shoe store had an x-ray machine as a sales gimmick for children’s shoes.  Good mothers were encouraged to ask for an x-ray of how the child’s toes fit in their shoes.  When my mother would take her pack of 6 children into the store, it was inevitable that we’d jump on that machine and push the button while looking at our bones.  It took a few years before doctors realized that x-rays caused leukemia.  I wish that story would cause modern parents to pause in their love of ultrasound (non ionizing radiation).  We do know that ultrasound causes cellular changes in the brains of unborn babies.  Experts have been warning the public for the past 25 years that cells behave in an aberrant fashion when exposed to ultrasound.

It annoys me that this “news” item is written in such a promotional manner.  Portraying frivolous ultra sound as a growing business opportunity is not helpful to the health of the general public.  I wonder how these “entrepreneurs” manage to keep their practice legal. City managers, provincial health ministries, professional colleges—aren’t you supposed to be there for the protection of the public?  Please, get on this scam and close down these profiteers.

6 thoughts on “3D Ultrasounds, for parents with more money than brains

  1. How dangerous are ultra sounds really? And when are they the most dangerous?

    I have been advised that next time I get pregnant (following a ruptured ectopic which was not diagnosed until 3 weeks AFTER an ultrasound at about 9 weeks) I will get one immediatly and may need a couple until I am far enough along for them to ensure that everyone is where they need to be. I have been reading a lot about ultrasounds recently and am getting a bit concerned…

  2. I don’t understand how you could go back and get another ultrasound when they have already proven to you how inaccurate they are. If at 9 weeks they can’t see that the baby is out of the uterus and in the fallopian tube, there is no hope for anything else being diagnosed.

    A midwife put a post on an email list one time about a woman who had a fetus with an extra thick placenta and a spinal cord defect which was diagnosed at about 30 weeks. I responded to this large email group, “Would anyone like to bet me that this baby is totally ok? I’ll wager $1000.” No one would take the bet. Sure enough, the baby was completely fine when it was born.

  3. Ultrasounds are notoriously inaccurate for diagnosing birth defects. They are also bad at diagnosing fetal weights and other measurements. Except for seeing what the baby’s sex is (this can be mistaken too), they are pretty much useless, and more dangerous than anything. The risk of ‘low level brain damage’ or fetal brain changes, delayed speech, greater incidence of left handedness is reason enough to avoid this untested procedure.

  4. My mother, born in ’44, remembered having those xrays done for shoes. It was her favorite thing to do. She was one of three kids, so there were many visits to the shoe store.

    She died of a medical error or missed diagnosis (bleeding ulcer while on blood thinners) while in remission from the same sort of leukemia that high radiation causes (she also lived downstream/wind from the Knowles Atomic Lab in Connecticut as a toddler).

    I researched ultrasounds HARD while pregnant. Every thing I found that wasn’t fluff said “it seems to cause strange things, we NEED to research it seriously”, but there’s no research.

    My FIL was in the Navy in WW2 and in shipping for the rest of his life. He used to stand on the ship, watching the water *boil* when they were doing sonar tests. Boil. Then he watched sealife float to the surface, killed from the sonar tests. Sonar is big. Ultrasound is small. The ocean is big. Babies are small.

    At one point during my very messed with (by “homebirth” midwives in WA) labor, I could feel a searing, burning pain whenever they used the doppler. Finally, the baby had enough too, and as I was just about to scream from the searing pain, the baby thrashed violently until the doppler wand was off my skin. From that point on, I know he had his hands at his face (he was posterior, it turned out), and you can imagine that with that position and interfering labor attendants, I did not get a Birth at all (he was born, I did not Birth).

    A long reply to say “I agree with all your points”. Thank you for saying them.

    (and the short and quick thing I say to people who try to show my ultrasound is that I don’t want to see the inside of their uterus, thank you very much, I will see the baby properly soon enough!)


  5. Correction….”show ME ultrasound”…all I ever had was doppler, nothing to show…and no one knew that he was posterior nor that he had hands at his face most of the time, until he came out and the surgeon had cut his nose, not expecting a baby nose THAT far down (+3 station for 2 days with only 9cm dilation, you can imagine how long it has taken to recuperate), and then later we saw how his hands sprang up to his face when he was at rest. I actually would have probably been one of the few to benefit from a single ultrasound (or heck, even an xray, right?) to show them WHY labor was so weird and long.

    Anyway, just a correction of “me”, not “my”.

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