Friday, April 20, 2012

Ultrasounds in Pregnancy-How much is too much?

Just like any other question in life you don't have a tailor made answer to it or a perfect answer to 'how many ultrasound scans should one have in pregnancy'?
To begin with many pregnant Ladies and their family members have a strong doubt about the 'radiation' emitted by ultrasound scan and safety profile of the scan.These scans have been found to be safe for both the mother and the child.
second very frequent worry is about transvaginal scan (TVS).For dating scan around 6 weeks most of the time an ultrasonologist needs to perform a TVS and so many times that has left the pregnant lady and her family almost hysterical ( no exaggeration here) .They suspect an imminent miscarriage and an unfortunate miscarriage is most of the time blamed on an internal probe.In fact even in a low lying placenta at times TVS is recommended for better visualization and assessment.
Now ,here I deviated a little from the main question of how many of them are safe ........The guidelines are three mandatory ones for dating,for Downs Screening and for congenital anomaly screening.Rest it is not mandatory.In a high risk pregnancy many more can be needed.In an obese lady without any other high risk multiple scans can be needed.
There are four types of patients
  • Those who are alright with as many number of scans as prescribed by the doctor
  • Those who don't wish to get even the mandatory and recommended 3 scans
  • Those who are not satisfied with only 3 scans as their friends /family had multiple scans but they question the doctor about inadequate scans but if asked to get a scan done if they wish to as there is no harm except the money involved they are not inclined to.
  • Those who think that their doctor should have prescribed more than 3 scans and themselves visit the ultrasonologist every month for a scan.
None of the four types of approach I would say is wrong.May be less than 3 ,mandatory ones at times can be little risky but to the maximum number.........I don't think that there is a limit as such as long as patient and doctor are happy with each other.

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