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Ultrasound

Routine ultrasound testing not proven safe for pregnant women

Sunday, January 27, 2013 by: Megan Heimer J.D, N.D.
Tags: ultrasound, pregnant women, testing

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(NaturalNews) It is common for a pregnant woman to undergo several routine ultrasounds during her 40-week pregnancy. What many don't know, and despite what popular medical and government websites state, ultrasound scans have never been proven safe for pregnant women or babies and aren't recommended for routine use and non-high risk pregnancies.

An ultrasound is a diagnostic scan that emits ultra-high-frequency sound waves at tissues or bones. As the echo waves return to the machine, a picture is created. In the 1970s it was thought that ultrasounds were safe for pregnant women because of the very low scanning intensities; however, since 1993 the FDA has allowed high-output machines to scan babies at eight times the tolerable level without conducting any epidemiological studies. In addition, each scan heats surrounding tissues and bones up to six degrees higher than the maximum determined level of safety and can cause cavitation, where gas pockets in tissues and body fluid collapse. This can lead to a disruption in cell function and permeability, bleeding, and can have adverse effects on early fetal development.

Ultrasound studies done on animals have shown cell abnormalities to several generations, brain hemorrhages, lung damage, slow locomotor and learning abilities that worsened with longer exposure, and neuronal migration abnormalities consistent with autism and dyslexia in humans. Mice exposed to 600 minutes of ultrasound survived no longer than ten days.

Despite convincing evidence in animals that ultrasounds are dangerous, few studies have been conducted on humans, most of which are from other countries who limit ultrasound use. These studies have shown the following adverse effects including preterm labor, miscarriage, low birth weight, poorer birth condition, perinatal death, dyslexia, inner ear damage, and delayed speech development. An Australian randomized Doppler study involving high-risk mothers found more fetal distress in labor and lower APGAR scores at birth. Another Australian study showed that babies given five or more ultrasounds during pregnancy were 30 percent more likely to develop intrauterine growth retardation consistent with the findings in animal studies.

The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine advises patients to make an informed decision concerning possible adverse risks. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology recommends scans only for specific reasons, and along with the FDA, discourages the use of ultrasounds for non-medical purposes. A review in the U.S Journal of Epidemiology suggests that continued research is needed to evaluate the potential adverse effects of ultrasound exposure in pregnancy. Unfortunately, women are led to believe that ultrasounds are harmless and properly studied. This is clearly not the case.

Sources:

Buckley, Sara. "gentle birth, gentle mothering." A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices.

Jago GR, Henderson J, Whittingham TA, and Mitchell G. "A comparison of AIUM/NEMA thermal indices with calculated temperature rises for a simple third-trimester pregnancy tissue model." Ultrasound in Med. & Biol. 1999;25(4):623-628

Barnett SB, Maulik D. "Guidelines and recommendations for safe use of Doppler ultrasound in perinatal applications." Journal of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Apr 2001;10(2):75-84.

Liebeskind D, Bases R, Elequin F, et al. "Diagnostic Ultrasound: effects on the DNA and growth patterns of animal cells." Radiology. Apr 1979;131(1):177-184.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 58. "Ultrasonography in pregnancy." Obstet Gynecol. Dec 2004; 104(6):1449-1458.

Journal of Ultrasound Medicine. Feb 2000;19(2):97-108, 154-168, p 107.

Henderson J,. et al. "A survey of the acoustic outputs of diagnostic ultrasound equipment in current clinical use." Ultrasound in Med. & Biol. 1995;21(5):699-705

http://www.isrrt.org

http://www.fda.gov

About the author:
Megan has a Bachelor''''s Degree in Political Science, a Juris Doctor, and is a Naturopath, Natural Health Educator, writer, parental rights advocate, and stay at home Mama. She blogs at www.LivingWhole.org, a site dedicated to teaching, encouraging, and empowering others to live, love, eat, serve, and raise their babes in unhindered, natural, and wholesome ways. Follow Megan on Facebook.













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