Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned moms-to-be about the use of ultrasound imaging and heart beat monitors. The new consumer update issues no qualms over either practice when performed by a qualified health care provider out of medical necessity. We repeat: Ultrasounds are perfectly safe when ordered by your doctor or midwife.
So, what’s all the fuss about? Recreational ultrasound imaging, so to speak. Anytime you go to a third party to take a special peek at your baby in the womb, you could be putting him or her in harms way, the FDA reports.
“Ultrasound can heat tissues slightly, and in some cases, it can also produce very small bubbles in some tissues,” explains one of the organization’s scientists, Dr. Shahram Vaezy.
As there are still a lot of question marks around whether these side effects cause any long term trouble, the FDA cautions women to use ultrasounds judiciously. That means no keepsake images or videos, as creating the latter can take upwards of an hour and has no medical benefit to mom or baby.
The same holds true for at-home doppler machines, which allow you to listen in on baby’s heart beat. Both ultrasounds and heart monitors are seen as prescription devices, meaning anytime you seek one out without your doctor’s advice, you’re going against the FDA’s orders.