There was no difference found in height, weight, or head circumference in the two groups. In March 1992, I spoke to Dr. Lyons and found out there was no further funding to continue analysis of the 15,000 children.
In 1992, Norwegian researchers reported on the results of a eight to nine year follow-up of infants exposed to ultrasound. No differences were noted in reading and writing skills by their teachers. In addition, dyslexia studies on a group of 603 children showed no difference in exposed versus unexposed children.
Most recently, Dr. James Campbell, an ear nose and throat specialist and Professor at The University of Calgary and Dr. Wayne Elford, head of research in family medicine at the same university, studied 72 children who had delayed speech and compared them to children who had no speech problems. Their findings showed that a child with delayed speech is about twice as likely as a child without delayed speech to have been exposed to prenatal ultrasound.
This is a new form of ultrasound, in which a lubricated metal probe is placed in the vagina, and the uterus and tubes scanned. It is said to be more comfortable than the insertion of a speculum or even a pelvic exam. It is particulary useful if a woman is undergoing various fertility treatments or for complications of pregnancy occurring in the first three months.
Dangers Of Doppler Ultrasound
Doppler stethoscopes expose the newborn to continuous low output ultrasound early on in the pregnancy. The total exposure is several times greater than routine ultrasound. Although no harmful effects have been demonstrated, the routine use of Doppler stethoscopes cannot be recommended. No studies so far have determined if there is any long-term risk to the baby. For routine use, women can request use of ordinary fetal stethoscopes and thus easily avoid this unnecessary use of ultrasound.
A very advanced type of doppler ultrasound with high power output can be used to study uterine blood flow, umbilical blood flow, and blood flow inside the baby's heart and brain. Although still experimental, advanced doppler may have a role in high risk situations. However, there is absolutely no justification for its routine use during pregnancy. The exposures to the fetus with this type of ultrasound is much higher than for other types of ultrasound and the side effects are simply unknown.
Women's Reactions To Ultrasound In Pregnancy
"An ultrasound exam has the potential to be a fascinating and happy experience for prospective parents." Neilson and Grant observe, "But real or mistaken diagnosis of fetal abnormality can lead to psychological devastation."
A study in England showed that unscanned women in a hospital which used ultrasound only selectively were less likely to think they would be more reassured by a scan. An American study found women felt nearly half the value of the scan in an uncomplicated pregnancy was for personal reasons such as knowing the sex of the baby or having an early picture to show their children.
It is important to have the scan interpreted, since "it may look more like the map of the moon," according to Sheila Kitzinger in THE COMPLETE BOOK OF PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH. Says Kitzinger, "Because it involves sophisticated equipment, ultrasound may seem intimidating; if the picture on the screen is blurred and meaningless, it may be disappointing, but if it is explained to you so that you can actually recognize your baby, it may be the most exciting part of your pregnancy so far."
In fact, studies have shown that women feel far more positive about the ultrasound exam when they have high feedback on the results that if they have poor communications during the exam.
Dr. Klein also points out that the experience of seeing the baby during ultrasound exam has now become part of North American culture, and in many cases, part of a woman bonding with her child.
Free health and wellness trial