Getting an ultrasound during pregnancy is such a routine practice these days. So many mothers in India, start having a first transvaginal ultrasound as early as week 5 or 6, when neural organization is taking place in the baby. Thereafter, most mothers in routine practices, get a quick ultrasound check almost at each antenatal checkup, and then at least one big scan every trimester, if not more!
While we at Healthy Mother, are not against scans, we counsel every mother about the pros and cons of each scan that is available, and let them make an informed decision after they do their due diligence. We believe that while the technology of prenatal ultrasound can be life-saving , as well as aid in clinical decision-making in some instances, especially in women with history of multiple miscarriages, women who have had a baby previously with a congenital defect, etc., overuse of it in otherwise healthy, low-risk women should give us a reason to pause and reevaluate: Is it doing more harm than good?
Here is a small study done as early as 1993 – this was done when scans were not as prevalent and routine as they are now. In this retrospective study of children with speech delay, it was found that they were twice as likely to have been exposed to ultrasound in pregnancy, as compared to babies with normal speech development.
Conclusion from this study? “An association between prenatal ultrasonography exposure and delayed speech was found. If there is no obvious clinical indication for diagnostic in-utero ultrasonography, physicians might be wise to caution their patients about the vulnerability of the fetus to noxious agents.”
Here is the link to the article.