Stop and think about it – ultrasounds

 

The X-ray was invented in 1896 and has been used widely in the medical community since it’s inception. However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the medical community started restricting their use on pregnant women due to studies that show the effects of x-rays can lead to fetal damage.

Think about it, a new tool comes out in the industry, and it is widely used. It probably doesn’t go through many safety tests because we cannot begin to think of the possible implications or effects it has. In this example it takes roughly 50 years for many scientists to test their safety and try to persuade the rest of the medical community to accept their claims, and then lastly the public perception changes.  Sometimes this is vice-verse, but the point is that it takes decades of use and research to really get to the point where the general public is aware of its harm.

It’s common practice now that whenever you get an x-ray, they put this large heavy apron on you to protect you. They ask if your are pregnant, and even if you aren’t you still have to wear the apron. We now all know the potentially harmful affects of x-rays on a fetus. However, back in the day it was common for doctors to use an x-ray to do pelvic exams on pregnant women. Almost as common as it is today to do ultrasounds. I really hope that the ultrasounds of today are not like the x-rays of yesterday. If so, I think we are in trouble.

So ultrasounds have been around since the 1950s. What a coincidence! X-rays are starting to get a bad rap, so let’s switch over to something else. However, the modern ultrasounds attached to computer screens that were used for fetal monitoring were introduced in the 1980s. So if it took 50 years for the X-ray to stop being used on pregnant women, does that mean we could potentially stop using the ultrasound as well in the 2030s if there are unsafe risks?

Wouldn’t you like to know if ultrasounds are safe before 2030?

So all I ask of you is to stop and think about it. Maybe do some research. With the advent of the internet, maybe we won’t have to wait 50 year to figure out if something is safe or not. The only one who is going to look out for you is you. There are lots of studies being done to try to figure out if ultrasounds are safe. My advice to everyone on any topic, is to stop, research, and think about it.

My own personal opinion is that if there is no reason to do an ultrasound, maybe it’s not necessary. For example, I get an x-ray on my foot because I think I broke it, not because it looks kind of cool and I can show it to everyone. However, if there is some medical reason that concerns the care provider, then by all means do an ultrasound to figure out the problem.  But don’t do an ultrasound because everyone else is doing it. We are not in middle school anymore (I hope).

If you want just the facts, here’s an scientific study done on ultrasounds – Effects of frequent ultrasound during pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial

If that’s a little too dry for you, here’s some more information – Ultrasound Scans – Cause for Concern?

Please feel free to add your own opinions or stories!

My sources for this article:

http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/50yrs.htm

http://www.sdms.org/public/soundmedicine.asp

http://www.livescience.com/32071-history-of-fetal-ultrasound.html

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I'm a Developer Evangelist for Cisco. I love technology, babies, real estate, babies, camping, hiking, babies, Raspberry Pi, and entrepreneurship.

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One comment on “Stop and think about it – ultrasounds
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