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April 05, 2008

Not So Sound?

Grayultrasound I was approached by one of those 3D ultrasound places to come in for a little "look see" of the new babe. I admit that at first I was a little hesitant about it- would I want to promote something like an ultrasound for entertainment purposes? Surely if it could replace the medical ultrasound, I'd consider, but no- it's just for a family keepsake. And so, I'm just not so sure.

I have had the heebie jeebies about it ever since Tom & Katie bought their own home ultrasound machine. How much ultrasound exposure is truly okay?

I started to dig around on the Internet about it, and I know that you can probably come up with anything to support your conspiracies online, but some things I am finding are making me think twice or thrice about it all.

You see, when I was pregnant with my first child, we had an ultrasound around 8 weeks to determine his due date. Then we had the standard 20 week ultrasound and during this one they couldn't get a good

enough look at the kidneys, so they ordered another. With each one they still weren't seeing what they wanted, scaring this first time Mom into the possibility that my baby would be born with only one or no kidneys and needing emergency surgery at birth. Seven ultrasounds in all, still no help... and when Noah was born, he was perfectly fine. Two healthy kidneys and all.

I know that if in fact he had had serious kidney issues, it would have been beneficial to know ahead of time. But I also am concerned at the amount of ultrasounds we ended up having - which at the time I never thought to question the safety of- and each time they still couldn't clearly see what was really wrong or right. For something so ineffective (in our case) how much is too much?

I'm 16 weeks along now with baby number four and we're due to schedule an ultrasound in a few weeks. The 3D ultrasound idea sparked my interest to be more educated on all the facts about how much research has really been done regarding the safety of ultrasounds- medical or "keepsake" versions.

I found out that in three separate studies, ultrasound exposure in boys has a strange effect of the child being born left-handed. (Noah's left-handed.) And this also points to higher instances of autism and epilepsy. (Read Noah's story here.) And learning delays as well. (Something we're working through right now.) It's about genetic alterations happening... and this just makes me want to know more.

And it makes me wish that more parents were aware. Maybe you are? It seems as though many expecting parents, if insurance paid for it, would have an ultrasound every month or day just to get a glimpse of what their baby looks like. Of course we wish we could know! Or, if they can't determine the sex on the first ultrasound, they'll try for another.

The 3D ultrasounds are super-tempting because they are even more realistic and those first images of the baby growing inside are magical. But do most parents consider that there might be risks involved with this type of exposure? Are there regulations on how many times a Mom can have one done? If someone had the money to get five or ten of them just because they wanted these keepsakes, would they be allowed? How would anyone be able to keep record of it anyway?

I'm seriously considering no ultrasound at all for this baby. It might finally settle the debate on whether or not we find out if we're having a girl or boy (I just might get my way now!)

But all kidding aside... I know there are very real and important reasons to have an ultrasound if necessary, but the definition of necessary is what I am questioning.

Cross posted at Adventures In Babywearing.

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