Ultrasound Safety During Pregnancy

We have had a number of patients concerned about the safety of ultrasound for their baby.  So, we went to the source to get some clear answers for our patients so they can rest assured there is no harm to their babies.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have the following guidelines for ultrasound during pregnancy.  It is a perfectly safe way to monitor mom and baby!

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice makes the following recommendations regarding diagnostic imaging procedures during pregnancy and lactation:

Ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are not associated with risk and are the imaging techniques of choice for the pregnant patient, but they should be used prudently and only when use is expected to answer a relevant clinical question or otherwise provide medical benefit to the patient.

With few exceptions, radiation exposure through radiography, computed tomography (CT) scan, or nuclear medicine imaging techniques is at a dose much lower than the exposure associated with fetal harm. If these techniques are necessary in addition to ultrasonography or MRI or are more readily available for the diagnosis in question, they should not be withheld from a pregnant patient.

Ask your ultrasound technician about the ALARA principle.  This is a technique where the acoustic output levels are As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  ACOG also notes that there have been no reports of documented adverse fetal effects for diagnostic ultrasonography procedures, including duplex Doppler imaging.

Author New Jersey Midwifery

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