Can Ultrasound Harm My Baby?
A common question we get asked from concerned mothers is always around the subject of ultrasound potentially harming their baby. It’s a perfectly normal concern to have and something every mother does wonder. Ultrasounds are the most common way for viewing your baby and determining the wellness of your fetus. Ultrasound is also used to scan a number of other different areas on the human body for medical diagnosis.
The History of Ultrasound
Ultrasound was first developed in 1943 during the second world war. It was originally designed for industrial use but began showing its use in the medical industry shortly after it’s creation. It wasn’t until 13 years later in 1956 they began using ultrasound as a form of confirming if a woman was pregnant. Over the years ultrasound has developed in many ways. It’s advanced from producing a still 2D image to producing full HD 4D videos of babies.
What is Ultrasound?
Ultrasound uses high frequency waves that shoot into your body that bounce off tissue, bone and any fluid in order to help create an image. These high frequency waves can’t be heard or felt by the individual. It works very much like sonor would on a submarine. In a typical ultrasound, millions of pulses and echoes are sent and received each second. The probe can be moved along the surface of the body and angled to obtain various views.
Can Ultrasound Harm My Baby?
Unlike an x ray, ultrasounds don’t emit any potentially harmful radiation. Ultrasound uses high frequency waves to image the internals of your body. Over the past 30 years there has been no evidence brought forward to suggest that an ultrasound can cause damage to unborn babies. As of today there have been no reports that have suggested or indicated a baby has been harmed as a result of an ultrasound.
Despite an ultrasound having a good track record and being deemed perfectly safe for babies, it’s important to note that it’s a medical device that is emitting energy frequency waves into the human body and therefore the utmost care is required when performing a scan. It’s important that anyone carrying out an ultrasound knows and is trained to operate a scanner correctly. The overall objective should be to emit as little energy waves as possible in order to provide a comprehensive medical diagnosis. This is known as the ALARA principle – as low as reasonably achievable.
All examinations should be kept as short as necessary to provide the best results. Although there are no side effects of an ultrasound or evidence of it causing harm it should still be carried out with the utmost care and in line with medical standards.
An ultrasound should not be carried out with the sole purpose of producing a souvenir, video or photo. An ultrasound is a medical scan carried out by a trained sonographer in order to produce a medical diagnosis. All operators should aim to stay within the British Medical Ultrasound Society scan times guidelines.
How Can I Ensure My Scan Is Carried Out Safely?
Prior to receiving an ultrasound there are a few things you should look out for. Do some research online about what type of scan you are looking to get done and why you feel you need it. This will give you a better idea of what your options are and exactly what the scan entails.
Be sure to look for a reputable clinic that provides a good standard of medical care for their patients. If you are attending a private clinic outside of the public domain then make sure that the individual carrying out the scan is a medically trained sonographer. A large amount of clinics will tell you that their staff are trained but won’t specify say what exactly they are trained in. Only medically trained sonographers are able to provide a full fetal wellness check and tell you about the health of your unborn baby.
Try to ensure that the clinic you are attending is meeting the British Medical Ultrasound Society guidelines for ultrasounds. Ideally an ultrasound scan should be as short as possible as to avoid exposing the baby to any potential harm. Again there hasn’t been any evidence to indicate that ultrasounds cause harm but it’s safe medical practice to capture as much information as possible in the shortest time.
It’s important to know exactly what the scan entails and what type of results it can give you to tell you about your baby. Here at the Ultrasound Suite all our scans are carried out by fully trained sonographers who have the ability to carry out a full wellness check of your unborn baby. All our sonographers are members of BMUS and adhere to the proper safety guidelines for carrying out medical scans.
If you’d like to learn more about any of our scans then feel free to check out our list here on our website. You can also book a scan directly using the link below.