Is it often harmful to do ultrasound during pregnancy
One of the most common and informative methods for diagnosing the patient's body is ultrasound. Having received a referral for this examination, it happens that the patient is doubted whether it is harmful to do an ultrasound or not. All the more reasoned such doubts during pregnancy.
There are two opposing views on this question. Let's get acquainted with the arguments of supporters and opponents of this procedure.
What is ultrasound
Ultrasound examination (ultrasound) is the study of an object using ultrasound, that is, vibrations, with a frequency of more than 20 kHz, propagating in an elastic medium (air, liquid, or solids). These frequencies are outside the range of human hearing.
How did this method get into the medical arsenal? The very principle of ultrasonic location of the scientists "spied" in the wild in bats and dolphins. But its technical embodiment became possible only in the second half of the last century, when ultrasonic emitters were created.
In medicine, high frequencies are used from 2 to 10 MHz. The sent sound signal is reflected from media that differ in density, with different intensities. The speed and intensity of the return depends on the density of the medium. This makes it possible to get an image of the scanned area on the monitor.
Today, ultrasound is the leading diagnostic method for examination:
- internal organs;
- vascular system;
- lymph nodes;
- thyroid gland.
This type of examination allows you to know the size, location, structural features and pathology of organs. Thus, the indications for the appointment of this survey a lot. Moreover, there is an official opinion that ultrasound is harmless to humans.
Is ultrasound harmful to humans?
The procedure itself takes no more than a quarter of an hour and its results are available to the doctor almost instantly. This allows you to determine what actions and how urgently should be taken in this situation.
For this reason, and due to the high information content of this diagnostic method, even ultrasound of the heart (echocardiography) is often used in clinical practice. Is ultrasound of the heart harmful? There are no contraindications for this procedure:
- it does not harm the skin or the body itself;
- absolutely painless;
- since it does not have a cumulative effect, it can be repeated many times.
In other words, it is completely harmless for the body to often do ultrasounds. This fact is very important, because there is a real opportunity to monitor the dynamics of the course of the disease and the effectiveness of the treatment.
However, the fact that it is harmless to an adult organism can negatively affect the health of a tiny little man developing under the heart of a mother.
This question is extremely serious and requires complete information. Under medical law, during a pregnancy a woman must undergo a triple ultrasound test.
- From 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy, for the diagnosis of gross fetal malformations that are dangerous to the life of the woman (ectopic pregnancy and other pathologies).
- From 20 to 24 weeks for the detection of severe fetal malformations (brain and spinal cord, Down syndrome, and so on).
- From 31 to 34 weeks determine the position of the fetus. This allows you to foresee the right pathway of delivery.
Earlier research is considered unsafe for the embryo.
In general, an ultrasound scan of pregnant women has turned into a kind of routine procedure, which most expectant mothers go to without hesitation, wondering whether it is harmless to do ultrasound often during pregnancy, but to completely trust the doctor. If there are any complications during pregnancy, doctors often prescribe an additional ultrasound, bringing their number to 20 or more times.
The allegations about the complete harmlessness of ultrasound for fetal development are unfounded. The study of the question of whether ultrasound is harmful during pregnancy or not is done by very reputable scientists from different countries. The results of their research and observations carried out on embryos of animals, say the following.
- Ultrasound for the fetus is harmful because it can cause pathologies of internal organs, including oncology. In a living organism, including in the body of the fetus, there are small gas cavities that "burst" under the influence of ultrasound. A series of such microexplosions can activate the formation of toxic free radicals that damage DNA. DNA molecules isolated from cells of different organs emit a variety of signals, the totality of which is a real "symphony of life." It certainly has the "melodies" of all organs and systems. The impact of ultrasound is an attempt to make adjustments to the harmonious melody, to change the hereditary information, carefully protected by nature.
- Recent studies by German scientists have also added negativity to the impeccable reputation of this survey. Their experiments proved that the effect of ultrasound on the fetus can interfere with the development of the cells of its brain and nervous system.
- There is another interesting and alarming fact - it is the reaction of the fetus to the performed ultrasound examination. The child feels the negative impact of ultrasound, reflexively tries to protect against it. We adults are unable to hear the ultrasound. But it is likely that the tiny man in the womb can hear him as a very high frequency sound. In addition, the thermal effect of this radiation on the fetus was recorded, which in itself is perceived as a dangerous effect. That is why during the passage of this procedure, a pregnant woman is observed active movements of the baby, trying to hide from the frightening, alien influence.
In fairness it should be recognized that for more than 30 years of using the ultrasound procedure, its harmfulness has not been proven. Moreover, many ultrasound advocates believe that the “loud” behavior of the baby during this procedure is just his reaction to the touch of the sensor and the excited state of the mother herself.
Is 3D ultrasound harmful to the fetus?
In the arsenal of medics, in addition to the two-dimensional image, 3D or 4D techniques have recently been introduced. Their use requires high frequencies of the emitted waves. This further aggravates the potential harm of ultrasound to the baby.
It becomes clear why doctors all over the world began to speak very carefully about the absence of harm to ultrasound for a child. And the US National Institute of Health opposes mandatory ultrasound for all pregnant women.
In recent years, the portrait service “Memory by Memory” is gaining momentum. For a fee, parents are invited to make and print a 3D portrait of a baby in the womb of the mother. The organizers of this service do not care about the possible harm caused by obtaining such a portrait. But parents themselves should take care of this and not put at risk an unborn child.
But to completely reject ultrasound would be simply criminal. In some cases, the doctor may simply not see a violation in the development of the fetus or the threat of miscarriage, and only this procedure will help to avoid many problems. In such cases, the benefit received by the doctor from screening, undoubtedly, exceeds the potential harm from ultrasound. We are only calling for a reasonable approach to this manipulation.
If passing this test seems to you not justified by medical evidence, you have the right to refuse. But, probably, this session of ultrasound will save your life and a tiny little man maturing inside you.
So, is frequent ultrasound harmful to pregnant women? Yes, if his conduct is dictated not by a threat about the state of the mother and child, but only by the whim of the parents. But, with some serious diseases without multiple ultrasounds, it is simply impossible to monitor the adequacy of the treatment. And during pregnancy - this is the most reliable method for the early determination of pathologies. And in this case, the ultrasound more good than potential harm.
The article was written by Svetlana Semenovna Dracheva - a teacher of physics of the highest qualification category.