Ultrasounds

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Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681
Ultrasounds

First let me say that I think u/s are a great tool when used appropriately. I'm all for routine 18 weeks scans to check for any major problems (previa, spinal cord defects, twins lol)...

But what is with EVERYONE getting early u/s?? I've got lots of preggo friends right now and most of them have 8w or 12w u/s photos. Why? Do people really not know how to figure out a due date? All it ever seems to do is cause confusion ("well, by my period I'm due on the 8th and by my u/s the 11th... AHHH what should I do???")

Anyways, just a vent I guess. But, it seems (imo) to set the whole tone of the pregnancy as the woman not knowing anything and having to ask for help with every step along the way. I'm not just blaming doctors (I'm in Canada so doctors don't do in office u/s like I read about in the states), I know most are because women go to their doctor because they are pregnant, the doctor says "so how far along are you?" and the woman says "I don't know". I have heard educated people says "I don't know how many weeks I am, I haven't been to the doctor yet" Maybe sex ed in school should cover that sort of thing...

(I know sometimes there are good reasons for them. We did a dating u/s with my second because I hadn't had post partum af when I got pregnant. For the most part though, it seems unnecessary)

Singfourever's picture
Joined: 08/26/06
Posts: 306

Yeah it seems pretty standard now and kind of bugs the crap out of me. Most pregnant women you ask now won't now their due date until the dr gives them one. Then, even more annoying. Drs will order several more ultrasounds throughout pregnancy and have no problem changing the due date, even by like, 3 days.
I like knowing I gave my mw my due date and nothing was said about it after that.

Kate83's picture
Joined: 01/04/11
Posts: 587

I had one at 6 weeks and 8 weeks, but only because I had a miscarriage just 3 weeks before getting pregnant this time, and going by my hcg numbers, they were fairly certain I was going to miscarry again.

I have one at 20 weeks, and Im assuming again around 36 weeks. and thats it!

I only had 3 with my other children, the extra was due to an irregular heart beat in my son, so i had to be sent to a specialist.

Kate83's picture
Joined: 01/04/11
Posts: 587

"Singfourever" wrote:

Then, even more annoying. Drs will order several more ultrasounds throughout pregnancy and have no problem changing the due date, even by like, 3 days.
.

seems so silly when really there is like 2-3 week window of time where you can go into labor, so why bother changing in within a week?

renee24's picture
Joined: 08/06/06
Posts: 1096

I like them because I find them reassuring in that baby is in the right place and has a hb, but that's me. It's never been a thing of dating for me. Now my last 2 were done for possible tubal pregnancies but they were both fine.

cindyanns's picture
Joined: 02/20/10
Posts: 775

I had to have a 6 week u/s. Why? Cause I really didn't know when I conceived. My daughter was conceived directly following a miscarriage, so we had no LMP or ovulation date to go off of. I actually thought I was 8 weeks, so it was benefitial for us.

It happens.

However, I do know there are doctors out there that routinely schedule early u/s, even when their patients know their exact conception date. It's almost like they don't believe their patients or something. :rolleyes: Kind of ridiculous if you ask me.

daria's picture
Joined: 07/22/03
Posts: 496

I had an early U/S with my son because my doctor apparently didn't believe me when I told her my due date was 10 days later than she calculated. I didn't want to go by her date and end up pushed into an induction.

It was nice and reassuring to see the heartbeat though.

mommys's picture
Joined: 05/08/06
Posts: 6264

It used to bug me to death too, but I actually asked for one this time due to such a recent m/c. My only reason was for reassurance and I don't regret that. With pregnancy #2 (m/c at 13W), I was happy not to have one early, but I wasn't nervous with that pregnancy.

With DD, they had me do the early ultrasound because they couldn't find the heartbeat at what we thought was over 10 weeks. Turns out I was just over 8 weeks. I have wierd cycles and completely understand what happened now that I've charted and know how my body works, but DD was a surprise so I had no clue that my body is not a standard 14-day pre-O cycle. Since I charted with the latter pregnancies there was never a question on due dates at all.

With all that said, I do understand your frustration. I really do! I get really frustrated with a lot of the stuff that I consider "over doing it". I decline the NST and so many other things since I just don't feel they are necessary for us.

melloyellochelle's picture
Joined: 12/04/08
Posts: 229

I can totally see both sides to this one. I have been U/S'd up and down this pregnancy! OK, last one too, actually. But this one was way worse and it was getting frustrating!

As for early U/S, I think it can bring peace of mind to see the heartbeat and know where baby is at. For me, that was key! Since I have a septate uterus it's not a standard pg. So I know that's different for me. It's not a dating thing. Actually, I *knew* my EDD but based on my LMP they didn't add up, since I have a long cycle. The doc did an U/S and baby measured right on for my calculations of my cycle but not for the standard LMP. BUT! Like you said, that's not a 'normal' pg.

I was frustrated that I had to keep going back for all these things. Every week it was something different. I hated that! And in the end, it was normal and our baby is healthy.

It's that double edge sword... on one hand, it's AWESOME we can learn so much and do so much with modern technology!! Such a blessing! Certainly has brought peace and help to many people! On the OTHER hand, sometimes TOO much information is just that... TOO much! And just not at all necessary.

I'm debating how we'll approach the next pg. If we'll do all the monitoring or not.

Anyway... sorry... long rant! I agree with you! I really do! But I also appreciate the other side of it too. Smile

ekcanada's picture
Joined: 05/06/09
Posts: 1707

I had a dating U/S with my first but deckined the NT scan at 11 weeks. I have declined all U/S except the 18 week anatomy U/S (which is on thursday :yahoo:)

Like michelle, I also see both sides to it. I also get a little jealous of all the ladies on my board that get to have peeks at the baby.

I am also in Canada so it is not as "easy" to pull out the machine in the doctor's office and do a quick U/S. Actually, by the time I was 36 weeks with DD, when I was transferred to the care of an OB, he didn't even bother listening for a HB or making me pee each time I saw him...

Nell4Him's picture
Joined: 10/25/06
Posts: 2455

With my first, the doc felt bad for me for having the blood draw and pap in the same appointment (I didn't know I was pregnant til I tested at 6 weeks along). She pulled in the "old" u/s machine they had in the office and didn't see anything, so she gave me the possible tubal speech and we had another look at my next appointment (just two weeks later). THEN the baby looked small to her, so she sent me up to the radiologist for a dating u/s around 12 weeks. Baby measured right where it was supposed to. Then I had one at 20 weeks, then again at 35 weeks to measure the baby, then again when I went past 40 weeks.

My second was a m/c at 6.5 weeks, We had an u/s cause of bleeding and found an embryo w/o a heart beat. I had another u/s in a week to verify the loss.

My third (2nd live birth) I had one at the first appointment (8 weeks) cause the doc was overly excited. We confirmed a heart beat, but same thing as before, baby looked small. Dating u/s at 12 weeks (ish) put me right in line... again. Then the 20 week scan and 35 week scan (due to contractions).

This time (4th pregnancy, 3rd viable), I had one early because I had a cycle every 14 days for 2 months before the bfp. This was a dating u/s and we found I was 7 weeks 2 days. They found a mass near my left ovary, so I got a repeat to check on the mass. This was 10 weeks and the mass was not there anymore, so I declined the 12 week NT scan, and I would pass on the 20 week scan if my doc would let me.

We have decided to leave the gender a surprise, so I would just like to skip it. Hearing the HB at the appointments is good enough for me to know baby's alive at this point, and now I'm feeling more movement and actual kicks, so I'm happy with that "proof" that baby is doing well.

heatherliz2002's picture
Joined: 02/02/08
Posts: 2273

I wasn't expecting to have a dating ultrasound with this pregnancy- just the anatomy scan. My midwife doesn't usually do an early ultrasound. She did order one for me because I have longer cycles, so going by LMP isn't really a good option. I had a general idea of when I O'd based on symptoms, and the ultrasound more or less matched up with that. Because I am planning a VBAC, she wanted to confirm a later due date than what my LMP would have given me, to give me as much time as possible before I'm considered "post dates." My anatomy scan is tomorrow, and that will be the only other ultrasound I have this pregnancy (unless they find a problem- obviously). There are definitely some legitimate reasons to do an early ultrasound, but I agree that it's not necessary for every case. I would not have been concerned if I hadn't had one, but I'm grateful to have a later due date that the hospital can't argue with.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

We see our GP until 20 weeks here and mine wants a viability ultrasound at 8 weeks. I then ended up needed a heap of extra scans because of bleeding/spotting so had full ultrasounds at 12 and 18 weeks as well as the normal 20 week one, and bedside ultrasounds at 22weeks (bleeding) and then from 37 weeks on to check for position (breech baby).
My GP does the viability scan so he knows if there is a viable pregnancy in the right spot, he didn't adjust my due date or anything, though the report did move my date by about 5 days he said a difference is normal and wouldn't change an EDD for anything under a week.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

See, I totally get that sometimes they are necessary, but more often then not they really just aren't. Even with the dating ones... Most people roughly know, even taking long cycles into consideration (the doc should tack the extra days on the end and push the due date back) when they are due. Do a couple days or even a week (my doc won't move dates unless there is 10 days difference) really make a difference? Especially if everyone wasn't so induction-happy and trying to evict baby the moment they hit 37 weeks and freaking out if a mom gets to 40 weeks?

My perfectly healthy cousin expecting her second baby just posted her 8 week u/s pic on fb prompting this rant lol

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

I've only been pg once, and went into it not knowing much about what is standard when it comes to care. I am living abroad, and was when I got pg, so I didn't even have a doctor's visit at all until 13 weeks. That was in South Africa, and the OB had a machine right in her office, and instead of doing a blood test or anything, she just did an u/s. I had no idea that would happen, but, for a FTM, it was AMAZING. I was very annoyed though, when she changed my due date by one day based on the scan, versus what I had been going by knowing my cycle. Obviously, if we (the collective we) weren't so due date obsessed and went by birth months (38-42 weeks) instead, a day here or there wouldn't matter at all.

I had several more u/s with my daughter because that OB did one every time I went in her office- just because- and then I had the anatomy scan, and then my daughter was breech, so we had a few toward the end to verify position. I know there is controversy over u/s and how good they are for the baby (throughout my pregnancy my chiro kept saying, "don't let them force you into scans!")...but, I have to admit, I just think it is AMAZING to be able to see your baby moving and heart beating and doing well.

That said, when I first joined my BB, it seemed like EVERYONE was having their betas done. I had never even heard of betas, had no idea what they were, and got VERY worried that I obviously needed it too! So, I had the same feeling about that, as you do about the u/s!

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

The OB whose practice I left in my first pregnancy actually told me he was more comfortable offering 39 week elective inductions than he used to be because he can have a more accurate EDD with an early u/s. To a lot of doctors, having a u/s due date is "better" because it is more technological.

I have had early u/s's with both of my first 2 pregnancies--with the first, I was bleeding, so that made sense (I think it would have been routine, though), and with the second, I conceived while nursing and not charting and had a strange, sort of light period that month, so I was confused whether that was my LMP or the one before. This time, I'm hoping I can avoid having one since I know within a few days when I ovulated...if I decide to go back to Dr. I's clinic, I'm considering telling them my LMP was later than it really was so that the LMP date will be the same as the my o date instead of trying to convince them that my o date is right. If I go to the homebirth midwives, I imagine they will believe me that I know I ovulated about a week late.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I had them with all three pregnancies. My first because I had just gone off of 10 years of BCP and got pregnant without having a cycle. I liked that as it seemed so implausable to me that I was pregnant at all after all that time on BCP. My second because I didn't have a cycle and was EBF my 4 month old and found out I was pregnant, so I literally had no idea how far along I was. As I was planning a VBAC I did find it helpful to know that my due date was accurate so as to avoid RCS talk or pressure if my date was off. My third because I had just gotten my IUD out, was planning a HBAC and again wanted an accurate date.

In all three I had a 20 week AP scan, and with my first I also had a 36 week one due to a diagnosed low lying placenta at 20 weeks.

I think that they can be a useful diagnostic tool, but like anything, they can be overused. I was happy with the ones that I received, and happy to turn down ones that I didn't want, like NT scans or growth US towards the end.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"Marite13" wrote:

That said, when I first joined my BB, it seemed like EVERYONE was having their betas done. I had never even heard of betas, had no idea what they were, and got VERY worried that I obviously needed it too! So, I had the same feeling about that, as you do about the u/s!

Oy, the betas! Don't even get me started Wink

Actually, as far as I know they are RARELY done here, unless you've done fertility treatments.

MrsMangoBabe's picture
Joined: 04/09/07
Posts: 2276

"kris_w" wrote:

Oy, the betas! Don't even get me started Wink

Actually, as far as I know they are RARELY done here, unless you've done fertility treatments.

I think on the Birth Boards, especially early in pregnancy, there is a disproportionate number of women *are* doing fertility treatments or are at a higher risk of pregnancy loss (history repeat m/cs, etc), and these things are what has drawn them to being active on sites like this. I have never had betas done in either of my pregnancies--in my prenatal care, I've only had blood drawn for the 1st appointment bloodwork and the glucose challenge (1hr) test (and my first OB's office actually did the reading for the glucose challenge with a finger prick monitor)

heatherliz2002's picture
Joined: 02/02/08
Posts: 2273

"kris_w" wrote:

See, I totally get that sometimes they are necessary, but more often then not they really just aren't. Even with the dating ones... Most people roughly know, even taking long cycles into consideration (the doc should tack the extra days on the end and push the due date back) when they are due. Do a couple days or even a week (my doc won't move dates unless there is 10 days difference) really make a difference? Especially if everyone wasn't so induction-happy and trying to evict baby the moment they hit 37 weeks and freaking out if a mom gets to 40 weeks?

My perfectly healthy cousin expecting her second baby just posted her 8 week u/s pic on fb prompting this rant lol

I think it depends how long the cycle actually is. If it's just a few days, probably not a big deal. But some people are lot less regular than that, and if you're not charting (or paying attention ;-)), you might not have a good idea of when you ovulated. I think it also depends on where/how the woman is delivering and how hard she will have to fight against the pressure to be induced. I do agree that they're usually not necessary. I would have been perfectly happy without one, but with a longer cycle, delivering at a different hospital than last time, and knowing that I will absolutely refuse to be induced, the information is definitely helpful.

joysiloo's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1054

Being someone who needed IVF to conceive and who tried for a very long time to get pregnant the first time, I relished the ultrasounds and betas. During IVF you get an ultrasound every other day for about a week before you ovulate and to not get one again until 6 weeks almost seems like torture because you're so used to failure that without that reassurance, you make yourself crazy. After fertility treatments they usually do one around 6 weeks to check for multiples and heartbeat. Then again at 8 weeks because fertility clinics have to report their success rates to the CDC in the US and one of the success markers is viability at 8 weeks (the others being live birth and + beta hcg test).

I haven't had one since 8 weeks and we're having our anatomy scan next week. Otherwise, I don't anticipate any more ultrasounds.

MandyMommyto1's picture
Joined: 06/27/09
Posts: 534

I'm also in Canada, and I find that frequent u/s are really not that common here. With DD I had 2 - one for NT testing, and the anatomy one at 20 weeks.

This time around I had the NT testing one at 13 weeks, and I had another one yesterday because I've had a bit of bleeding and we wanted to check things out. In the absence of any other problems, I expect to have the 20 week one and then that's it.

I do like getting them done though...it's so fun to see the little babe in there waving it's arms around Smile

pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3015

I've had an early u/s every time but that was because I get terrible m/s and the doctors wanted to check for twins.

kridda_88's picture
Joined: 01/28/08
Posts: 1798

With my first I only had one U/S at 20 weeks to check the anatomy. My second I had one at 9 weeks because I got pregnant right off birth control and they wanted to see how far along I really was, then the 20 week anatomy, and then another at 37 weeks because I measuring nearly 4 weeks behind. With the next one we plan to go with a midwife and will only do a gender check at 20ish weeks.

emommyof2's picture
Joined: 09/26/10
Posts: 310

The 12 week scan is optional here in Alberta, and it's usually only offered to women over 30 (increased risk of issues) or women who have a family history of issues. I decided this time to have it done (hadn't done it with the others) simply because I was over 30 and with my last they ran me through the ringer at the 24 weeks scan when they found a bright spot on the heart (told me I may have a downs baby) I couldn't handle going through that stress again so I wanted advance notice to prepare myself better. Funny though, DD#3 was not in fact a downs baby, stupid scan... and this scan showed no chance at all... then at the 24 week scan yet another 'issue' with his heart! I think I'm just cursed at that later scan LOL.

shiregirl's picture
Joined: 09/23/10
Posts: 390

I had 2 u/s my first pregnancy, a 20 week anatomy scan, and a scan around 40 weeks to verify the baby's position: she had been breech until right at 40 weeks. This time I have so far only had the 20 weeks scan, and am hoping a late position scan will not be necessary!!! In reading this thread, people have presented lots of legitimate reasons to have extra u/s done, but I have also noticed with a lot of my pregnant friends that many seemingly unnecessary u/s during a low risk pregnancy seems to be a growing norm. And that bugs me, too. I'm not quite sure why it makes me feel grouchy, but it does.

TiggersMommy's picture
Joined: 02/14/10
Posts: 6043

I had one at 9 weeks. My MW wasn't able to find the heartbeat with the doppler (I told her I wasn't surprised or worried but I don't think she believed me) and she wanted to give us a quick peek. It took like 2 minutes. She didn't take any measurements or try to date my pregnancy in any way. Good thing too as I fudged my LMP so I could have more time to keep the induction fairy away. I don't see anything wrong with what my MW did. It gave DH and I a chance to see our baby for the first time and gave me the peace of mind that baby was in the right place and doing well. Other than that one, I just had the 20 week U/S.