7 Myths About Ultrasounds

June 28, 2021

Ultrasounds have been revolutionary for pregnancies in the modern era. From being able to detect certain birth defects and medical conditions before a baby is born, to learning the sex of their child and more, ultrasounds are a very vital part of the pregnancy journey.

So why are people so worried about getting their ultrasounds?

Despite the common usage of ultrasounds, there are still some common myths that we are here to dispel.

Ultrasounds are bad for the baby.

So far, there hasn’t been any evidence that ultrasounds are harmful to babies. However, in the big picture, this is a relatively new procedure so there is always a chance we will find out differently down the road. Ultrasounds are a completely elective test, so if you’re worried about the long-term effects, you can minimize the number of ultrasounds you have throughout your pregnancy, or you can forgo them altogether.

Ultrasounds use radiation.

This is absolutely not true. X-Rays use radiation, but ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves that bounce around and “paint” a picture of the body’s internal structures. In your case, the structure being viewed is your uterus and your baby!

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 your doctor will be able to share with  you immediately, like the sex of your baby after 15 weeks.

You can be 100% sure of your baby’s sex from an ultrasound.

Exact statistics vary, but even after 20 weeks the accuracy of an ultrasound for determining a babies sex is about 97%. This means that out of 100 sets of parents, 3 sets will have an inaccurate ultrasound regarding their child’s sex. The accuracy of the test has as much to do with the baby’s position in the womb, which sometimes obscures the view of the baby.

3D Ultrasounds use stronger sound waves than 2D ultrasounds.

As it turns out, a 3D ultrasound is the same frequency as 2D, but takes more pictures to create a 3D representation. 

3D Ultrasound shows the baby’s sex more accurately than 2D ultrasound.

It seems like this would be the case due to the higher number of photos used, but since it is virtually the same technology, the sexing statistics remain the same. It is likely that your baby’s position is to blame if the technician can’t get a good read, or if you are one of 3% mentioned above.

Ultrasounds aren’t invasive.

While transabdominal ultrasound is not invasive, in some cases your doctor may want to do a vaginal ultrasound to get a better look at the baby from a different position. This is also used to check your cervix dilation if you’re in preterm labor, and more. 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.

If you are interested in learning more about ultrasounds, or have any questions regarding your pregnancy, please contact Women’s Health Associates for an appointment, consultation, and more.