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 Excerpts about Ultrasound

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"What Doctors Don't Tell You"
by Lynne McTaggart.
"No well controlled study has yet proved that routine scanning of prenatal patients will improve the outcome of pregnancy" - official statement from American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1984 

Some studies show that, with ultrasound, you are more likely to lose your baby. A study from Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London found that women having doppler ultrasound were more likely to lose their babies than those who received only standard neonatal care (17 deaths to 7).

A Norwegian study of 2,000 babies found that those subjected to routine ultrasound scanning were 30% more likely to be left-handed than those sho weren't scanned.  An Australian study demonstraates that frequent scans increased the proportion of growth-restricted babies by a third, resulting
in a higher number of small babies.  Exposure to ultrasound also caused delayed speech, according to Canadian researcher Professor James Campbell. 

The International Childbirth Education Association has maintained that ultrasound is most likely to affect development (behavioral & neurological), blood cells, the immune system, & a child's genetic makeup.

Besides the safety issue, there are considerable questions about accuracy. There is a significant chance that your scan will indicate a problem when there isn't one, or fail to pick up aa problem actually there.  One study found a "high rate" of false positives, 17% of the pregnant women scanned were shown to have small-for-dates babies, when only 6% actually did - an error rate of nearly one out of three.  Another study from Harvard showed that among 3,100 scans, 18 babies were erroneously labeled abnormal, and 17 fetuses with problems were missed.

According to Anne Frye, midwife and author of "Understanding Lab Work in the Childbearing Year" (4th Ed.)p. 405 Doppler Devices: Many women do not realize that doppler fetoscopes are ultrasound devices. (apparently, neither do many care providers. Time after time, women are assured by doctors and even some nurse midwives that a doppler is not an ultrasound device.) . . . . 

Not well publicized for obvious reasons, doppler devices expose the fetus to more powerful ultrasound than real time (imaging) ultrasound exams. One minute of doppler exposure is equal to 35 minutes of real time ultrasound. This is an important point for women to consider when deciding between an ultrasound exam and listening with a doppler to determine viability in early pregnancy. . .

If you have a doppler, put it aside and make a concerted effort to learn to listen yourself! Save your doppler for those rare occasions when you cannot hear the heart rate late into pushing or to further investigate suspected fetal death. " copyright l990, Anne Frye, B.H. Holistic Midwifery.

Personally, after 23 years of attending births, I would not permit a doppler in my house if I were pregnant. You always know that something is ultrasound because there will be "jelly" involved. If you want a cheap listening device for the baby's heart just save the core from a roll of toilet paper. Put one end on the lower belly and the other on hubby's ear. If you want to know your baby is doing well, count the fetal movements in a day. Starting at 9 a.m. count each time the baby kicks. There should be l0 distinct movements by 3 p.m. 

I think it's sad that some people will do anything to make a buck of the huge pregnant market in North America. Please feel free to forward this post on to any other lists. 

Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC
Wise Woman Way of Birth Courses



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