Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ironic timing...

For this article about the potential effects of ultrasound on the development of the fetal brain (of mice) to come out. The natural birth books I've been reading suggest that one should decline "unnecessary" ultrasounds and fetal heartbeat monitoring with a Doppler. So I was thinking this morning at my u/s when the tech was showing me Phred's brain, whether it was a good idea to be doing so or not. And then I read this article! Argh!

The caveats of the article definitely hold true, I think - the study was conducted in mice, so there are a lot of factors that make the relevance to humans questionable. And, I tried to look up the original article in PNAS, and was unable to find it (please drop me a comment if you do find it and I'm just being an idiot). I generally don't like to take what the media write about science as gospel without going to check on the source myself, as it is often sensationalized.

But, the article does make me wonder a bit about the utility of some of the early scans I had done (6wks and 8 wks) - yes, it was nice to see the embryo, and to see the heartbeat, but really, were they both necessary? I can see that an early u/s is good for diagnosis of a possible ectopic pg, or multiples, but most women who aren't with an RE don't get these early scans.

There was another article that I found while looking for this one mentioning that in a study of men born from 1973-78 when ultrasounds first started to be used, there was a statistically significant increase in the number who were left-handed. I kind of laughed at that - who really cares? But at the same time, one has to question what other effects there might be.

I guess that the point is that like just about everything else in life, there are pros and cons. It's a question of weighing between the two. Having read this article I might make a different decision on my early scans than I did - but what's done is done. I think the lesson that I will draw from this is that it is worthwhile to consider, even if there don't seem to be any drawbacks to a particular procedure, how necessary it truly is. There is nothing in life that I can think of that is 100% guaranteed safe. But having considered this and then decided to do something rather than just doing it on the assumption that it's safe would make me feel better, I think.

On the other hand, my u/s today was so totally cool! I could see Phred breathing, eyelids opening and closing, the fuzzy hair on the head, heart going pitter-patter, little tongue sticking in and out of the mouth... incredible.

12 comments:

Well-heeled mom said...

Oh my gosh, that must have been so amazing to see all that on the u/s. Good luck in getting that baby to turn.

k #2 said...

Unfortunately, you always see new reports that make you question things...how cool you saw Phred sticking his/her tongue out at the research! :)

I think back to all of my early u/s and the length of time was so minor (no longer than 2 min. each) so I can't imagine it doing that much damage when you think they are building brain cells for 40 weeks & then for years to come.

Emma B. said...

*lalalala not listening* I've had, oh, twenty-ish u/s thus far, between the early pregnancy/infertility and the OHSS and the twin thing. I'm doing my best to completely ignore that the study even exists!

soralis said...

I had a u/s every month with my twins. If they have problems in math I will just have to blame it on the u/s. That is kind of scarry though.

Sounds like your u/s was cool!

Take care

Sassy said...

Apart from that, ultrasounds have been around for a crazy amount of time and the technology is constantly being refined so I seriously doubt that the effect of something so widely used during pregnancy could be anything more than insignificant.

I think the other thing to keep in mind is how the mother is feeling. If having another ultrasound will make you feel more relaxed and happy surly it's worth it.

One Mother's Journey said...

I always wondered what the ramifications were of ultrasounds. I guess you have to decide if the good outweigh the bad. 100 years ago when I was pregnant, if there were no problems in the pregnancy you had 1 ultrasound. Scary stuff.

Sarah said...

In regards to the study/article mentioning ultrasound and use of the left hand over the right, I feel I must note that in the late 70's and early 80's, educators stopped forcing and retraining children to use their right hand as opposed to the left. Very skeptical of an article/research that does not take other possible explanations into account for their findings.

Sarah said...

In regards to the study/article mentioning ultrasound and use of the left hand over the right, I feel I must note that in the late 70's and early 80's, educators stopped forcing and retraining children to use their right hand as opposed to the left. Very skeptical of an article/research that does not take other possible explanations into account for their findings.

fisher queen said...

I am a little sick of every new study coming out that says we have more reason to fear everything around us. I think it's very cool you got to see your little babe in all his well developed glory! You're getting close!

Leggy said...

And there are similar studies re: the negative effects of infertility treatment. What's a girl to do?

Good luck with labor & delivery- not too long now!

April said...

36 weeks?!?!?! Wow!

I can't believe it's gone so fast.

Thinking of you, and hoping you have a speedy and healthy delivery

elle said...

Can't believe youare so close! WOW! the u/s sounds amazing - must have been very cool.