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Thread: Ultrasound scanning in pregnancy

  1. #1

    Default Ultrasound scanning in pregnancy

    This might be a topic more suited to mumsnet, but at my stage in life I am not a member of that forum. When I had my children in the 80s & 90s I chose not to have them scanned. I am old enough to remember the scandals of X-ray damage done to pregnant women, and to children in shoe shops with those X-ray scanning machines to see how a shoe was fitting.

    My view during pregnancy was that no procedure should be undertaken lightly and that I could see no need for scanning my babies. Nowadays scanning has become so routine that there are multiple scans in pregnancy.

    What do you think about the risks of ultrasound scanning and the recent article by Dr Kelly Brogan?
    Gilli - DLTBGYD but more importantly KCHO

  2. #2
    Super Member Christelle's Avatar
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    From a personal experience: I had a blood test and an ultrasound at 13 weeks to measure the neck fold to see if baby has Downs. The blood test result came back as 1/56 chance of baby being Downs and then the doctor wasn't 100%sure about the neck fold measurement. He sat me down in his office and gave me one of four choices (as if I had to choose which bread I would like to eat). My choices were: 1) abort, 2) do nothing, 3) wait until 16 weeks and do an amnio or 4) do a cvs. Then he asked: "so, what would you like to do" as if you could make a decision like that in the blink of an eye... This was one of the most stressful times in my life (never mind pregnancy) and I think this was also one of the reasons I decided to not have any more children.
    I think if I was spared this ultrasound I might have enjoyed my pregnacy more. I chose a cvs and Wee C turned out to be 100% normal. I changed doctors just after the test were done.
    Trust the process, the results will come

  3. #3
    Club Plus Member Bronn's Avatar
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    More personal experience, my first pregnancy appeared normal to me but the ultrasound identified unsustainable issues with my first baby at the 20 week scan and so I had him at 21 weeks, which was horrendously difficult to deal with but one that I would not have wanted to have discovered at full term.

    Pregnancy 2 resulted in the baby discovered to have died around 18 weeks so another termination followed, again a few weeks later and it would have been a lot worse for me.

    Pregnancy 3 the ultrasound identified potential Edwards syndrome and I was offered the chance for more tests, but was given time to think about it. When we came back in a day or so later, the consultant assumed we’d opted for no further tests as we hadn’t been in touch, as we were in two minds (Husband wanted tests, I didn’t want to risk losing another baby) we just went with that especially when he said he thought that was the right choice. Daughter was born with no problems fully fit and even took part in a fetal medicine study a few years later to add evidence that the results weren’t automatically a sign of Edwards.

    I gave up after that content with one healthy daughter!

    So I think ultrasounds have saved me from some situations becoming even more traumatic, but I know that I am the voice of doom whenever I hear that people are off for their 20 week scan as when everyone else assumes it will just show the baby, I assume it will result in heartbreak !

    20 years later the issue my first baby had would now be able to be sorted with interuterine surgery but without ultrasounds they wouldn’t know to do it. For that alone i’d always have the ultrasound if offered.

  4. #4

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    That sounds very frightening Christelle.

    When I was expecting our first we knew several families with Down's Syndrome children and I had already decided that I would not abort even if my child was another one of those - our friends' children were very loving and social beings who fitted in well with their siblings and were accepted by those around them. Making your pregnancy stressful does not sound like a good idea.

    I did however suffer from pre-eclampsia and spent several weeks in hospital on enforced bed rest before she was born. One of the other neo-mothers was expecting twins and had severe gestational diabetes so was being watched as an at risk pregnancy. At an earlier stage she was told some test showed too much of something - I cannot remember whether this was amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling - and was advised by her doctor to have an abortion. She had very much the same attitude as me and declined saying she would take her chances and later they found that the reason for the thing they had been measuring being so high was that she was expecting twins. I found all this so shocking that when I became pregnant with our next child, I did not tell anyone for months.
    Gilli - DLTBGYD but more importantly KCHO

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronn View Post
    More personal experience, my first pregnancy appeared normal to me but the ultrasound identified unsustainable issues with my first baby at the 20 week scan and so I had him at 21 weeks, which was horrendously difficult to deal with but one that I would not have wanted to have discovered at full term.

    Pregnancy 2 resulted in the baby discovered to have died around 18 weeks so another termination followed, again a few weeks later and it would have been a lot worse for me.

    Pregnancy 3 the ultrasound identified potential Edwards syndrome and I was offered the chance for more tests, but was given time to think about it. When we came back in a day or so later, the consultant assumed we’d opted for no further tests as we hadn’t been in touch, as we were in two minds (Husband wanted tests, I didn’t want to risk losing another baby) we just went with that especially when he said he thought that was the right choice. Daughter was born with no problems fully fit and even took part in a fetal medicine study a few years later to add evidence that the results weren’t automatically a sign of Edwards.

    I gave up after that content with one healthy daughter!

    So I think ultrasounds have saved me from some situations becoming even more traumatic, but I know that I am the voice of doom whenever I hear that people are off for their 20 week scan as when everyone else assumes it will just show the baby, I assume it will result in heartbreak !

    20 years later the issue my first baby had would now be able to be sorted with interuterine surgery but without ultrasounds they wouldn’t know to do it. For that alone i’d always have the ultrasound if offered.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences Bronn. There are always two sides to the coin.
    Gilli - DLTBGYD but more importantly KCHO

  6. #6
    Forum Guest Jenrenn's Avatar
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    We tried for a baby for several years and had every test under the sun fine to be told that
    1) would never be able to conceive
    2) If by any chance I do conceive I would not be able to carry a child for like no dur to me having a bicornate womb (heart shaped that almost meets in the middle)
    On the same day they gave us this new I told them that I thought I was pregnant and.... I was.
    Because of this I think as under a specialist team and monitored very closely. I was offered the amniotenceis which I refused because I was going to keep this child no matter what so there was no point. I had scans done at every visit to see how he and I were doing. My son was born 7 weeks early because he was stressed and the umbilical cord was coming away but he was in perfect health. I really believe he wouldn’t be here if it were not for the regular ultrasound scans.
    My daughter was monitored to and almost went full term.

  7. #7
    Club Plus Member Bronn's Avatar
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    Scary whilst the monitoring is going on, but the relief once they’re born and healthy is just overwhelming

  8. #8

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    When we had our first (14 years ago) we had all the scans and at the 20 week scan we were taken to one side and told that due to cerebral cysts (these apparently hold the Cerebral-Spinal-Fluid that drains into the spinal cavity at certain points in pregnancy) looking larger than they should they were putting the odds of Downs Syndrome at 1 in 273 (should have been 1 in '00,000s')

    At this point I slightly panicked and was told by an amazing Aussie midwife (AM) the following:

    AM: Look mate (she actually called me mate - I was expecting cobber) would you bet on a horse at 273 to 1?
    Me: No
    AM: Why?
    Me: Those odds are terrible
    AM: *Looking at me and smiling
    Me: *Penny drops* Ahhh!
    AM: There we go! Now go home and enjoy the rest of the pregnancy.

    We did and Holly was born without Downs

    With Reuben we had both scans (mainly to count limbs and identify any serious defects) but asked not to be told about any of the other markers as we'd decided that even if he was guaranteed to have Downs we wouldn't have terminated him!

    I think that ultrasound is a good thing for picking up things that could really blind-side you but the other markers that they look for, like the Downs risk, are sometimes too woolly to be given as they can just lead to anxiety.

    I'm glad we had the the scans and with Reuben, glad we weren't told the more woolly markers.
    The worst bigots in the world are those who most loudly proclaim their ‘tolerance’

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christelle View Post
    From a personal experience: I had a blood test and an ultrasound at 13 weeks to measure the neck fold to see if baby has Downs. The blood test result came back as 1/56 chance of baby being Downs and then the doctor wasn't 100%sure about the neck fold measurement. He sat me down in his office and gave me one of four choices (as if I had to choose which bread I would like to eat). My choices were: 1) abort, 2) do nothing, 3) wait until 16 weeks and do an amnio or 4) do a cvs. Then he asked: "so, what would you like to do" as if you could make a decision like that in the blink of an eye... This was one of the most stressful times in my life (never mind pregnancy) and I think this was also one of the reasons I decided to not have any more children.
    I think if I was spared this ultrasound I might have enjoyed my pregnacy more. I chose a cvs and Wee C turned out to be 100% normal. I changed doctors just after the test were done.
    So many babies are aborted on false positives for Downs because of scans! It is awful!
    The worst bigots in the world are those who most loudly proclaim their ‘tolerance’

  10. #10
    Super Member Christelle's Avatar
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    Being honest, we would have done that too. Glad we decided to do the test before making such a big decision.
    The specialist doing the cvs saw we were stressed out and had red eyes from all the crying (both me and OH) and asked what was the issue.
    I told him that my baby had a 1/56 chance to have Downs syndrome. He worked it out and said 1 devide by 56 = 0.0178 which equates to a 2% chance of something being wrong. There is a 98% chance that everything is fine... Wish my gynae told me that!
    Trust the process, the results will come

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