Is there such thing as too many ultrasounds? — The Bump
1st Trimester

Is there such thing as too many ultrasounds?

i am looking for some advice.  I am a very worrying person and so far had two ultrasounds , one at 6w4d and one at 8w1d.  Both were fine with strong heartbeat.  I booked in for my next(also private, vanity us) for next friday, which will be 10w exactly.  But today my friend who has 4 kids told me that us is not very good for the baby and that i realy shouldnt have another one, until the nuchal at 12 weeks and the anomaly scan at 16.  I am torn.  If it were up to me, i would have an US every other day because i just love the reassurance and my biggest fear is a mmc, which at this point is completely irrational of course.  What do you guys think?  What did your doctors tell you? Mines are conflicted, the private doc says US does nit harm, the NHS doc says i shouldnt have any more other than the must haves.  Any advice welcome please.  I stress that I do not have bleeding or issues thank God.  i would only have the US for reassurance reasons. 
Me:  35 year old FTM, a busy city banker living in London, and a constant worrier. 
My DH:  French guy, car fanatic, best husband ever.  
Our baby boy:  Due on 17 April, currently 37 weeks.  I can't believe it - I made it to full term!!!! 
Last measurement:  3150 gs at 37+1!  This is going to be a big baby :)

Re: Is there such thing as too many ultrasounds?

  • edited September 2016
    i am looking for some advice.  I am a very worrying person and so far had two ultrasounds , one at 6w4d and one at 8w1d.  Both were fine with strong heartbeat.  I booked in for my next(also private, vanity us) for next friday, which will be 10w exactly.  But today my friend who has 4 kids told me that us is not very good for the baby and that i realy shouldnt have another one, until the nuchal at 12 weeks and the anomaly scan at 16.  I am torn.  If it were up to me, i would have an US every other day because i just love the reassurance and my biggest fear is a mmc, which at this point is completely irrational of course.  What do you guys think?  What did your doctors tell you? Mines are conflicted, the private doc says US does nit harm, the NHS doc says i shouldnt have any more other than the must haves.  Any advice welcome please.  I stress that I do not have bleeding or issues thank God.  i would only have the US for reassurance reasons. 
    Why are u even getting so many ultrasounds?! From what u have said you're having THREE just in the first 10 weeks...  Most women get 1 in their entire first trimester (if they're lucky). They usually get one sometime around 8-10 weeks to confirm viability, then an NT scan at 12 weeks, and an anatomy scan at 20 weeks.
      I had 5 total ultrasounds my entire pregnancy- 2 of which were very early ultrasounds because I conceived through IVF.  
    U stated that you, "only have the ultrasounds for reassurance." I'm assuming that means you are not high risk.... so, I'm not sure why your doctor feels they're necessary. 
    In terms of "too many," if you're concerned you're having too many ultrasounds then you are allowed to refuse them....there isn't any necessity for them if u have seen the heartbeat, and aren't having any problems in you're pregnancy. Just wait until your NT scan

    SaphireSweetie88smallanimal
  • My doctor does not advise going for the vanity/boutique ultrasounds. Her opinion is that, while they are trained to operate the machine, they're not necessarily well-trained in how to analyze what they see, so you may get good or bad news that isn't accurate. I would stick with your scheduled NT and anatomy scans. If you are not bleeding or having any issues, have seen the heartbeat and are, presumably, not high risk, then you're mostly just wasting your time and money.
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  • I would be checking into what your insurance covers. US out of pocket that are not medically necessary are very expensive. I also don't know why your doctor would schedule that many unless you're high risk.
    SaphireSweetie88smallanimal
  • I had five, and I thought that was redonckulous. I have heard different things about whether excessive USs are risky for a pregnancy, but I've never done any serious research.
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    SaphireSweetie88smallanimal
  • I've had six so far, and I'm 10 weeks today. I've only had so many because I did ivf and my doc does weekly us from week 6 to week 10. I also had one with my OB this past week. I've never heard of them being bad, but like a pp said, you wouldn't want to get bad news that wasn't accurate. 
    About us:
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    DH - 31
    Married June 2010, TTC since March 2014
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    FET cycle #3 Transfer July 28th 2016, Triplets born healthy on February 26th 2017 at 33w1d!

    SaphireSweetie88smallanimal
  • Ultrasounds, while never having been shown to be dangerous, have never been conclusively shown to be safe either.  When done for something like a viability scan, NT scan, anatomy scan or other medical reason, the information gained through the US is beneficial enough to outweigh potential risks.  When you are doing them just for funsies, there is no medical benefit so it isn't worth the potential risk.  

    I had 4 US during my pregnancy, a viability scan at 8, NT scan at 12, anatomy at 20 and one additional scan at 34 because I was measuring smaller than I had 2 weeks earlier and they were concerned that her fluid levels were low.  I understand wanting to see your baby to know they're safe but it's better to air on the side of caution and not exceed what is recommended.  Also, if this private doc is the one you're paying for additional scans, of course he's going to say you're fine to do them all the time since he's the one doing rhem.





    SnarkasaurusRexSaphireSweetie88
  • Who knows if it's true- but I did just see an article that was talking about multiple ultrasounds being connected with a more severe type of autism. It was not saying it CAUSES autism, but if the child already has it, the severity was worse. Again, it's just a correlation, so who knows how much truth is to it- BUT if it is true, what else could it cause? I'm similar to you. I would love an u/s every time I go in if I could. Maybe it's better to ask ask bout a doppler instead? 
    Me: 28 DH: 28
    Married: 9/25/2015
    TTC: #1
    CP: Nov. 2015
    MC: Mar. 2016
    BFP: 8/9/16
    EDD: 4/17/17

    SaphireSweetie88
  • So - while ultrasounds have never been conclusively linked to any form of permanent damage, they also are not 100% risk free.  The reason you get them from a doctor is that your doctor knows your medical risk profile, and is able to balance that against the risk of having the ultrasound, and determine which is more appropriate for you.  I would suggest that you avoid having a boutique ultrasound.  The people there are ultrasound techs, not doctors, they know nothing about your medical records and have no idea how to (nor do they care to ) balance the risk of the procedure.  They just want to make money.

     

    I understand how stressful early pregnancy can be; it will continue to be that stressful whether you have 2 ultrasounds or 20.  You need to figure out a way to calm down and survive the next 30+ weeks (or at least the next 10-15 before you can feel the baby moving around as reassurance).  It's been said before - but you're going to need to have patience when the kid is born, so it's worth working on that ahead of time. 

     

    I had anterior placenta, and as a result, I didn't feel DD moving around a lot (and didn't feel her at all until more than halfway through my pregnancy).  Of course I was nervous going into every doctor appointment that they wouldn't hear a heartbeat or that something would be wrong.  But you have to be able to balance your anxiety with your life - you can't continue getting an ultrasound every week to make sure everything is ok.  Until someone tells you that everything is not ok, you have to trust that it is.  Especially if you are having a low-risk pregnancy (which it sounds like you are).

     

    Another point against boutique ultrasounds has already been raised - those are not doctors, and if they see something that is "off" they can't actually tell you one way or another what is going on...they just refer you to your doctor who has to give you ANOTHER scan to check in on them.  There is really no point in doing any of this.  Not to mention how much money it would wind up costing you.

     

    FWIW I think I wound up having either 5 or 6 ultrasounds my entire pregnancy, and even that was excessive I thought.  At least two of them seemed unnecessary, but the doctor ordered them, so I trust her to know what is best for me.  You should also trust your doctor to make this call.

    Me: 37 DH: 37
    Married 5-31-14
    DD1 born 6-21-15
    DD2 born 6-11-17
    DS born 9-5-18

    SaphireSweetie88smallanimal
  • Most low risk women in the US get one ultrasound, typically at 20 weeks, which is the standard. Any above and beyond that are for women considered high risk, or from private ultrasound "boutiques". Personally I decided to pay extra to get an ultrasound at 8 weeks, and plan on getting another in the third trimester, so that I have one for each trimester.
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    SaphireSweetie88
  • I had three. State of California its normal for women to have a viability around 8 weeks, NT at 12, and AS at 20. Mind you, this is for low risk pregnancies.

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    SaphireSweetie88
  • With DS I had more than I can count. One around 9w, one around 16w (cramping really bad), anatomy scan at 18w, one at 20w due to issues at the 18w, one at 22w and 24w for the same reasons. Then one at 28w. Then from 31w on I had them weekly due to his medical issues. Sometimes more than weekly if I had to go for a level II that week. He has medical issues and a syndrome but none of that is because of ultrasounds. I guess I feel like you're lucky if you don't NEED a bunch of ultrasounds but if you can afford to have more than most people then do whatever you want. I love when I get to check in on my babies <3 Have you considered buying a doppler, I felt that helped when I wasn't able to actually see my babies. I was even able to hear my son's heart murmur with it after I knew what to listen for :)
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  • I had an 8 week viability, 12 week NT, and have an 18 week AS scheduled. I'm low risk and did not specifically request any of these. I think there's a range among doctors' offices as to what's normal. But I agree with PP that you have to relax and assume things are okay until you have an actual doctor's appointment, and stop doing so many boutique U/S. 
    DD #1 April 2017
    expecting mid-late May 2020

    SaphireSweetie88
  • To echo what PP have said, unless you're high-risk I wouldn't get anymore than necessary. If you're looking for reassurance, ask your doctor (if you haven't already) for what would be "warning signs" or things that would require you to go to the doctor (outside of the required / routine appointments). That way your reassurance can be that nothing off the list is happening and you save yourself some out of pocket expenses.
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  • Thank you everyone for the answers.  Just to clarify, it is not my doctor who said I needed them, I wanted them - asked three or four different doctors and they all said it was fine (only one of them was the one who I was paying for to have them done).  The first two because I was really scared of MC, and whoever said above that I do need to find other ways to reassure myself, is right.  So I decided that since I still need two or three more by default (nuchal, anomaly and the late pregnancy one), I wont have any extra, even this way it's quite a lot.

    Bear in mind though that the vanity ultrasounds last abut less than a minute, so one doctor said that is not disturbing the baby as much as a proper anomaly scan.  So I am trying to be reassured.  I wish someone had told me before my first US that too many is not necessarily good, but noone did.  Well, upwards and onwards from here, and thank you for your answers again! 
    Me:  35 year old FTM, a busy city banker living in London, and a constant worrier. 
    My DH:  French guy, car fanatic, best husband ever.  
    Our baby boy:  Due on 17 April, currently 37 weeks.  I can't believe it - I made it to full term!!!! 
    Last measurement:  3150 gs at 37+1!  This is going to be a big baby :)
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