“As a CNM, I frequently have patients upset or disappointed that we don’t do frequent US. I try to explain that US has proven effects on fetus, but it makes little impression on them, since no one has ever heard of this. I agree more research is needed, as well as mainstream education.”
– Michelle Hughes – PFLUGERVILLE, TX
The past few months have done nothing but emphasize to anyone who is concerned about important issues that mainstream media is a soap opera. They cover what stirs up the most views, and rarely focus on things that matter.
What concerns me grievously about this whole mess with ultrasound is the lack of education. Many people do not even know ultrasound has side effects in the first place. Even practitioners often discount the idea that it can cause harm to a baby, even though scientific evidence offers much evidence to the contrary.
Practitioners are not scientists, they study practice. They are not physicists, although they do look at statistics. Admittedly, it is not their fault for not knowing everything, but now that information about serious safety concerns in their practice is evident, it is time for things to change.
Check out my blog to read about some of these issues, and be sure to sign the petition for better safety and regulation for prenatal sonography. A great number of our species are exposed to it, and our choices with how we handle that, and educate our communities, will directly affect their fate.
Obstetric practices in NZ follow close on the heels of those in larger countries like the USA. Most women in NZ now have at least 4 ultrasound scans during their pregnancy with at least 2 of these being performed in the first trimester. In NZ most women access fully subsidized pregnancy/maternity care and those who pay privately for obstetric care still have their (usually much greater number of) scans publicly subsidized. The continuing increase in ultrasound scanning is greatly increasing the cost of maternity care to the NZ taxpayer with no commensurate improvement in outcomes. Like the rest of the developed world, where ultrasound is readily available, we are seeing an increase in autistic spectrum disorders and also things like tongue and lip tie. More regulation, research and consumer education is urgently needed. We hope the USA will lead the charge to ensure the safety of this overused technology.
Transvaginal ultrasound is closer to the fetus, offers more direct exposure, and is more invasive than transabdominal scanning. As a male I am degrees separated from this, but I would expect at least dinner and a date before this kind of treatment.
The process of transvaginal scanning can be very intrusive, leading to stress. Stress while pregnant has been correlated with a variety of negative health outcomes.
So, aside from being more physically harmful to cellular environments, it is more harmful on a grand scale because of stress (unless the lady is just into that kind of thing with strangers in lab coats)…
Cells can be damaged by diagnostic ultrasound. While I may not know much about the brain, I do know that when building the house the foundation is the most important.
Similarly, early parts of fetal development are sensitive and disturbance could have long term consequences.
If diagnostic ultrasound is capable of causing cellular damage, then the downstream effects of this definitely deserve further investigation.
To evaluate the effects of diagnostic ultrasound on villus ultrastructure of early pregnancy.
Using the electron microscopy, the effect of B-mode ultrasound and color Doppler flow image on villus of early pregnancy were studied. 46 cases of early pregnancy women were divided into five groups: Groups 1 : control group; Group II and III: 24 +/- 1 hours after exposure to B mode and color Doppler ultrasound for 30 minutes respectively; Group IV and V: 72 +/- 1 hours after exposure to B mode and color Doppler ultrasound for 30 minutes respectively.
Expansion of perinuclear space in cytotrophoblasts and syncytiotrophoblasts, enlargement of rough endoplasmic reticulum, and vacuolization in the cytoplasm were found in Group II and III.
The present study showed that the main injured sites after exposure to ultrasound were the plasma membrane and suborganelles. These changes disappeared within 3 days.
This study reports that transvaginal ultrasound for 10 minutes was detected to disrupt some cellular structures. As well, it was detected that superoxide dismutase(SOD) levels decreased. SOD is an enzyme responsible to getting rid of free radicals.
The conclusion of the paper reads: It is recommended that sonographic examination should be done through abdominal approach for shorter than 10 minutes during early stage of pregnancy.
They surmise transabdominal ultrasound may be safer than transvaginal with this conclusion. This is possible because transvaginal ultrasound is closer to the fetus, offers more direct exposure, and is more invasive than transabdominal scanning. That in itself can be stressful for the lady.
When ultrasound passes through certain types of enzymes, depending on the mechanism of reaction involved, it can impart energy. This energy leads to altered chemical reaction rates (increase/decrease in how many chemical reactions occur given in a certain timeframe).
This has been noted in alpha-amylase and other glycoside hydrolase class enzymes, and also some enzymes involved in transesterification.
Diagnostic ultrasound — which is used for fetal imaging — can alter enzyme activity, too.
In plants, the way ultrasound affects enzymes can change the plant’s lifelong development. Exposure to ultrasound at seed super charges enzymes involved in breaking down starch into nutrients, which is important for the first developing seedling.
It has not been studied how ultrasound’s impact on enzymes affects human development. It should be. We need more research to ensure that routine fetal scanning is not causing unintended harm.