Baby's health Expecting Parents pregnancy Ultrasounds

Doctors Concerned About Souvenir Ultrasound’s

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.

Doctors claim the growing practice of “boutique ultrasonography” could put unborn babies at risk.

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.

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Private 3D/4D Ultrasounds


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!


  • When I went in for my 20 week ultra sound, I had to go to the hospital for a specialist check to see if the baby was growing normally, during this, they took a number of “4D” scans, and gave us copies. This procedure cannot be dangerous, if the hospital specializing in prenatal care is giving it out. I think it’s disingenuous to tell potential parents that this procedure is dangerous when medical personnel can do it. Not to mention the technology that is used for 2D and 4D ultrasounds is the same. It’s just that the images are collected from more vantage points and imagined into more details. You can find this on the GE website.

  • As an Sonographer, I can completely understand where this article is coming from… Ultrasound uses sound waves to display an image on the machine, however most people don’t realize that sound waves can cause a vibration of the cells after long amounts of time or if the camera is not moved around often during the exam. This vibration, known in the ultrasound word as cavitation, can produce HEAT. Heating rapidly growing fetal cells cannot be good, therefore it is better to limit the amount of exposure to your unborn baby.

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