Reckless overuse of ultrasound during pregnancy


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.

A comment from the petition at

I find it curious that the industry behind ultrasound promotes such overuse of the technology despite warnings whispered.  It either speaks of poor education, or grand, widespread incompetence.

It is costing taxpayer money in subsidized systems.  Tons of it.  For no reason.

I agree, Brenda.  There is a lot of work to do.


Pressured to ultrasound?

Svetlana Castillo MIAMI, FL

During my pregnancy I had more than 10 ultrasounds, especially at the last two months. When I had 7 months of pregnancy, my protein level was a little bit elevated, and my doctor decided that it’s necessary for me to stay at the hospital for some days. During three days at the hospital I had two ultrasounds! I was OK, and my baby was perfect. I don’t know if my baby was affected for many unnecessary ultrasounds, but I will be more cautious with my second baby. I believe that many doctors including mine make you believe that you have high risk pregnancy, and make you do a lot of unnecessary analysis. They care only about your money, not about your and your baby’s health.

I have received so many comments like this on the petition at …  It appears to be a huge issue shared by many women.

Many sonographers, complacent with ultrasound, see primarily benefit and little to no risk.  In their minds they believe that they are doing what is best for the mother.  They believe that when they order multiple ultrasounds that they are being extra-safe.  They also believe that for every ultrasound they order, they will get written a fat paycheck.  $1000~ for a procedure that costs only a little KY jelly to perform looks great.

So, when a mother requests as little intervention as possible, oftentimes practitioners will give resistance.  They often give odd looks, act concerned, and attempt to guilt trip the mother into changing her mind.

Personally, I believe that women deserve full control over their own pregnancy.  They should have the final say in all things, and doctors should fill the role of advisers and assistants, people to help nature progress as it will in the best way possible.

SpikeTV show Manswers features ultrasound for male contraception, good laughs for me.

00:00:03 To find out how to dilute a man’s knock-up sauce without permanent damage, we asked the doctor.
00:00:09 – If men are engaging in unprotected sex, they might want to be temporarily infertile.
00:00:15 announcer: SO How can they do that?
00:00:17 A man could try blasting his sack with an ultrasound machine.
00:00:21 According to the university of north carolina, zapping a bro’s crotch with ultrasound waves for just ten minutes could kill his sperm for up to six months!
00:00:31 But there’s a catch.
00:00:32 Hitting some high notes on his tweeter can close his sperm tube permanently.
00:00:37 both: AH!

I saw this recently on SpikeTV and it had me cracking up hard enough that I had to share it.

I visited the ultrasound labs at UNC Chapel Hill personally and met several people who worked there.  I am concerned that ultrasound use on gonads would change hormone levels in adults.  In the literature, there is evidence that ultrasound exposure to rat gonads alters their testosterone levels … reference: