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.