How Many Ultrasounds Does One Pregnant Woman Need?

ultrasoundThere's nothing like a look at her baby to get a pregnant woman all ferklempt.

Offer her an ultrasound, and she's running for another peek.

But a new pregnancy spa offering ultrasounds begs the question: how many ultrasounds does one pregnant woman really need?


Not that many.

In fact, maybe not any.

Or at least not more than one in most pregnancies.

There are the high-risk pregnancies where women are subjected -- on doctor's orders -- to repeated ultrasounds for medical reasons. Ask one, and she'll probably tell you she's had enough.

She'd had them all over in exchange for a low-risk, less-worry pregnancy.

So why are all the rest of the ladies clamoring for another look-see inside the womb?

Because they apparently aren't listening to their doctor. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests moms limit their exposure as much as possible, advising against the "keepsake" ultrasound:

"Not much is known about the effects of repeated exposure to ultrasound. It seems to be safe, but it is possible that problems could be found in the future.

"Moreover, the workers at these centers often are not trained to interpret the images for you. Based on the ultrasound, you may be falsely reassured that your baby is doing well, when in fact there may be a problem. Or, you may be alarmed that the image shows an abnormality and, because these centers are not medical facilities, you will be left without any professional help. Obstetric ultrasound is best obtained through standard prenatal car."

I had two ultrasounds -- the first to check for fetal defects, a standard use approved by the ACOG, the second because of a fetal complication.

My husband hoped for more because our baby crossed her legs during sonogram number one -- keeping us from figuring out her gender. But my doctor didn't see a need, and I took that as a sign.

Are you ultrasound hungry?


Image via Jim Moore/Flickr

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