7 Myths About Ultrasounds

November 21, 2014

Ultrasounds, both traditional and 3-D, have revolutionized pregnancy in the modern era. For one thing, doctors have the ability to detect certain defects and medical conditions before a baby is born, which can improve the outcome for both mother and baby. Parents can learn the sex of their child, which means no more gender-neutral nurseries or baby showers (unless your one of the 3% that may have erroneous ultrasound results, more on that later!) and name selections can be more focused.

Source: freedigitalphotos.net

Are You Falling Victim to One of These 7 Ultrasound Myths?

However there are still some myths that circulate out there regarding ultrasounds and we hope this post will help to dispel those a bit.

  1. Ultrasounds are bad for the baby. So far, there has not been any evidence whatsoever that ultrasounds are harmful to the baby. That being said, it is still a relatively new procedure in the big picture and there is always the chance that we will find out differently down the road. Ultrasounds are a completely elective test and you can opt out at any time. So, if you are concerned about the long-term effects of an ultrasound, you can minimize the number of ultrasounds you have throughout your pregnancy or you can forgo them altogether.
  2. Ultrasounds use radiation. This is absolutely not true. X-Rays use radiation. Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves that bounce around and “paint” a picture of the body’s internal structures. In your case, that structure is your uterus and baby!
  3. The ultrasound technician can give me my results that day. In most cases, the results of your ultrasound will require further review and, depending on how many scans need to be read before yours, this may take a while. However, there are certain things that your doctor will be able to share with you immediately, like the sex of the baby after about 15 weeks for accuracy’s sake.
  4. You can be 100% sure of our baby’s sex from an ultrasound. Exact statistics vary a bit, but even after 20 weeks, the accuracy of an ultrasound for determining a baby’s sex is about 97%. This means that 3 sets of parents thought they were having one sex and found out it was another when the baby was born. The accuracy of the tests has much to do with baby’s position and sometimes the view is more obscured than others.
  5. 3-D ultrasounds use stronger sound waves than 2-D ultrasounds. Actually, a 3-D ultrasound is just a deluxe version of a 2-D ultrasound. The same frequency of sound waves is used but they are used to create multiple 2-D pictures that the computer assembles into a 3-D representation.
  6. 3-D ultrasounds show the baby’s sex more accurately than 2-D ultrasounds. It seems like this would be the case but, in fact, since it’s virtually the same technology, the sexing statistics remain the same. You only have your baby’s position to blame if the tech can’t get a good read or if you are one of the aforementioned 3%.
  7. Ultrasounds aren’t invasive. A transabdominal ultrasound is not invasive; this is the one that is done on the outside of your belly. However, in some cases, your doctor may want to do a vaginal ultrasound to get a better look at the baby from a different position, to check your cervix dilation if you’re in pre-term labor, etc. In this case, a wand-style ultrasound is used and it does extend into your vaginal canal. Vaginal ultrasounds take about 30-minutes and while you may feel very minimal discomfort, it typically doesn’t cause any pain.

Are you interested in learning more about ultrasounds? Are you ready to get your first look at your little baby? Contact Women’s Health Associates and schedule your appointment.