Assumption: At least one sonogram is a requirement for a healthy pregnancy.

These studies of over 14,000 low-risk moms shows that sonograms had no effect on the outcome of pregnancies.  There is no conclusive evidence that sonograms should be routine for all pregnancies.

My Views:
I know this finding is a surprise to many.  It seems it is just assumed that you will have at least one sonogram during pregnancy in this country.  Why?  This is less clear.  The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) doesn’t even recommend that all women undergo sonograms during pregnancy.  They suggest that sonograms be reserved for high-risk pregnancies and those with medical need.  Since long-range effects of sonograms have not been studied extensively, I see no reason that everyone should undergo these tests.  Yes, they are assumed safe, but until we have long term studies I would rather each woman be assessed individually to see if she needs a sonogram.

Late Pregnancy Ultrasound

Assumption: Ultrasound tests always provide important and beneficial information for pregnant women and their babies.

Studies demonstrate that late pregnancy (24 weeks+) ultrasounds for low-risk pregnant women do not provide benefit for Mom or baby.  Having late pregnancy scans did not change the number of women who had preterm labor, labor induction, or instrumental deliveries.  Those with scans did have a slightly higher cesarean birth rate.  For baby, late scans did not  affect birthweight, condition at birth, necessary interventions, or admission for special care.  Infant survival was no different between the groups with and without late pregnancy ultrasound.

My Views:
I’m a little concerned about over-use of ultrasounds in pregnancy in general and am glad to have these studies to show women that more is not always better.  Of course, nothing here shows that late ultrasounds *cause* problems (other than the higher rate of c-sections) either, so that should be noted.  I just wonder if bombarding our tiny babes with sound waves is as safe as assumed… maybe it is.  But, deciding against late pregnancy ultrasounds certainly should not be frowned upon, in light of this research!

Reduced Prenatal Visits

Assumption: Frequent prenatal visits with care providers helps pregnant women prevent negative outcomes and feel more confident.

In randomized studies, women were less satisfied with the care they received when they visited with their care provider 8 or fewer times during pregnancy.

My Views:
The support and reassurance of regular prenatal visits makes a difference. Not only can your care provider recognize danger signs, help you work through difficulties, and provide health advice, but a good care provider will develop a relationship with you so you feel confident and comfortable as you look toward the adventure of giving birth!