Safety of Scans

Jane Foley's picture

QUESTION

Dear Ms. Ultrasound,
I have had a number of scans in my pregnancy including early scans at 5 and 7w. I am now extremely upset to discover that there may have been some risks to the baby associated with these scans. Especially the early ones when the fetus is so small. Something to do with heat?

What has scared me is the issue of long tern effects on the fetus. I am very upset that I exposed my baby to ultrasound when it was so small as I have read that this may have damaged his genes and dna and this may be associated with harm -including cancer- in the future?

I have read many studies which seem to say that ultrasound may harm the fetus and the effects may come out later. Is this true? If my baby was harmed in the first trimester would it have survived or could there be long term effects? Why are they allowed to do such scans if there associated harmful effects and that people only 'think' its safe? Thank you.

ANSWER

Dear Concerned Mommy,
Ultrasound is very safe! This imaging modality has been scanning the unborn child for over 50 years now. You did not give any reference to the study or article on ultrasound safety you are refering to. Over the past half a century there has been a great deal of research done on the safety of ultrasound.

All ultrasound machine manufacturers take in consideration all of the data gathered, from changes in tissue which has been hit with ultrasound, to the frequency of the sound wave, to the heating effects etc, etc.

The frequencies used ( the length of a sound wave) are adjusted accordingly for the safety of the patients and the unborn. These safety concerns are incorporated into all diagnostic ultrasound machines so mistakes cannot be made.

You may have read a study done on therapeutic ultrasound. Therapeutic ultrasound is the kind of ultrasound that helps tissue heal and does have a heating affect associated with the transmission of sound waves. Therapeutic ultrasound should not be done on a fetus or in the area of a fetus or embryo. You also may have read information about x-raying the embryo. X-rays ARE harmful to the fetus and especially the embryo. X-rays can cause cancer and structural cellular changes in pregnancy. A pregnant woman should never have x-rays unless it is life saving for the mother.

Please note that millions of women in the first trimester have ultrasounds done on them every day around the world. This has been going on for decades. Just knowing that so many women have this done and go on to produce a very healthy baby should comfort you.

Imagine if all of these ultrasounds were harming the embryo. We would have a pandemic of miscarriages and abnormal babies being born every day!!!

I give you permission to RELAX. Your baby has not been harmed.

Please concentrate on keeping you mind clear of any unnecessary worry or stress. I believe a happy stress free Mommy gives her unborn and added benefit for an healthy pregnancy.

If you do find the article or study you read, please forward it to me.

For now the mainstream research shows ultrasound is Safe!

With Regards,
-- Jane RDMS