Independent Ultrasound companies are popping up all over the place offering parents a 3/4D view of their unborn child. In July I wrote about these businesses stating that too many ultrasounds are not good for your fetus.
Daily Mail has a story today that say parents are being warned against paying for keepsake baby scans of their child in the womb.
Mothers-to-be are routinely offered 2D ultrasound pictures by hospital and clinics but can buy moving images of the foetus on a CD-ROM or a DVD for up to $250.
In advanced 3D scans, ultrasound echoes are digitally enhanced so they create a life-like picture of the unborn baby while 4D shows the foetus moving in real time.
A report in the British Medical Journal says several medical bodies have “reservations” about the “casual exposure” of unborn babies to the technology.
They include the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the French Academy of Medicine.
The FDA says “Although there is no evidence that these physical effects can harm the foetus, public health experts, clinicians and industry agree that casual exposure to ultrasound, especially during pregnancy, should be avoided.”
There are also concerns about how staff at commercial clinics deal with the discovery of a foetal abnormality, although some doctors offer keepsake images after they have performed ultrasound for medical reasons.
The report says: “Beyond spreading a little happiness, the case for non-medical imaging relies principally on bonding: the sense of attachment between a mother and her unborn child.
“The evidence that ultrasound images can foster this comes from 2D scans, but there is no evidence that 3D scans are more effective in enhancing maternal foetal attachment.”
In the UK, the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) does not have a specific policy on non-medical imaging, but it currently updating its guidance.
Dr Paul Sidhu, chairman of the scientific and education committee of BMUS, detects what he describes as an “overall sense of disapproval” among his colleagues for this development.
He said research is currently under way to find out if viewing the foetus in 3D might help spot abnormalities such as cleft lip.
3/4D Ultrasound machines are for the doctor to take a better look at your baby in case of abnormalities, not for overly eager parents to get a peek before the baby is due. I know it’s tough, but for the health of your baby, you have to wait.
Each mom is given usually 2 ultrasound during her pregnancy. The first one around 10 weeks and then a big one between 18 and 22 weeks to check that the baby is on schedule and growing properly. After that all you have is your imagination.