Pregnancy Ultrasound – Should You Do It?

Pregnancy Week 30 Ultrasound

I had my 30th week pregnancy ultrasound yesterday and since the doctor was trying out  new equipment it took him around an hour to complete it! I then started wondering:

  • Does my baby like the ultrasound?
  • Do expecting mothers like ultrasounds?
  • How many ultrasounds can you have safely?
  • How many ultrasounds SHOULD you have while pregnant?
Let’s try to answer these questions one by one:
DOES MY BABY LIKE THE ULTRASOUND?
Well, just look at her! She looks quite peaceful in this picture and was happily sucking her thumb when we were peeking into my belly. But it really is hard to tell whether she liked it. Just like it’s hard to tell whether the baby is kicking because she likes what she hears or because she’s annoyed by it. I guess I will have to ask her when she comes to this world🙂 since there appears to be no studies on whether babies like it or not.

DO EXPECTING MOTHERS LIKE ULTRASOUNDS?

Expecting mothers LOVE ultrasounds and are eager to pay a premium for them, at least that’s what I observed by talking to fellow pregnant ladies. A sonogram is also a marvelous bonding experience for mom and baby. It is not unlikely to hear pregnant women laugh or cry tears of joy when they see their little treasures on the screen. I would know as I did both. Ultrasounds are also a great way to reassure you that everything is proceeding correctly with your pregnancy.

Problems arise when your ultrasound technician give you wrong information or is not sure whether everything is fine with your baby. That could result in you being extremely worried and could ruin your whole pregnancy, one mama describes how the ultrasound technicians told her that her baby’s foot was twisted only to later find out that she gave birth to a perfectly healthy girl.

HOW MANY ULTRASOUNDS CAN YOU HAVE SAFELY?

I realize that there are various approaches to ultrasound. The American Pregnancy Association advocates 3 during your whole pregnancy:

  • In the first trimester to  confirm the pregnancy and heartbeat, to measure the gestation age, to assess abnormal gestation or ectopic pregnancies.
  • In the second trimester to diagnose fetal malformation like the Down syndrome, confirm multiples in pregnancy, verify dates and growth, identify levels of amniotic fluid and evaluate fetal well-being.
  • In the third trimester to identify placental location, observe fetal presentation and movements.

Some claim that having an ultrasound is not essential to a healthy pregnancy and that it could actually be dangerous. They believe that ultrasounds are being performed because this is what doctors are skilled at, as opposed to the hands-on approach.

I’ve had 6 ultrasounds so far and I loved each and every one of them. I love the pictures, I love the videos, I love the fact that I can stick my baby’s face to the wall and send it out to my family. But I am aware of the fact that the long term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures are not fully known.

HOW MANY ULTRASOUNDS SHOULD YOU HAVE WHEN PREGNANT?

Nobody can force you to do an ultrasound if you are not in agreement. You might like the approach of an ultrasound free pregnancy, in fact the sonogram technology is a fairly recent invention and our mothers did not see their babies develop in their bellies. There however remain some questions to be answered. Would you rather know that you have a baby with a Down syndrome early on (then you need to do at least one ultrasound unless you want go for the invasive amniocentesis) or would you prefer to find out at birth? And if you did know in advance, what would you do with that information?

You might also like:

Are You Bonding With Your Unborn?

Pregnancy Week 7 Ultrasound

Pregnancy Week 12 Ultrasound (Nuchal Translucency Screening)

Pregnancy Week 15 Ultrasound

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Categories: Pregnancy Ultrasounds, Pregnancy Week by Week

Author:Alinka Rutkowska

Alinka is a best-selling and award-winning Children's Author.

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2 Comments on “Pregnancy Ultrasound – Should You Do It?”

  1. May 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    I’ve had 5 ultrasounds so far, but most of them don’t take longer then 10 minutes. My sister told me that it’s not healthy to have long ultrasounds… not longer then 20 min. but I’m not sure where she got the info. I know that there are even commercial places (like 3D and 4D scans) where you can go for a detailed ultrasound and they go up to 2 hours! I’m not sure that is healthy! And about the hands-on, my gynae feels and measures the outside of my belly too, trying to find out how the baby is positioned!

  2. June 2, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    In fact my ultrasound lasted for so long because the doctor had new equipment and was still learning how to use it to do the 3D. Next time I’ll stick with the regular 2D image and short ultrasound!

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