Ultrasound is the use of high frequency sound waves to provide detailed imaging of an unborn child without exposing the mother or baby to ionising radiation. Ultrasound scanners send high frequency sound waves into the tissues of the body. The sound waves bounce off organs creating an echo, and by ‘listening’ to the reflected waves, the machine is able to gain information about the position of structures within the body.
Our GE Voluson
Here at Bubbaview we believe that ultrasound is completely safe when performed in the correct manner by trained operators; we wouldn’t be performing these procedures if we had any concerns about the safety of mothers and their unborn children. We have extensively researched the scientific literature and found no evidence that the kind of non-diagnostic scanning we perform has ever had any adverse physiological effects on mother or baby. Millions of scans are performed every year all across the world, and no adverse effects have been recorded.
However, there are some reports that suggest non-diagnostic ultrasound or ‘souvenir scanning’ should not be carried out, and exposure to ultrasound should be limited to just diagnostics during prenatal care. We feel it is important our patrons are presented with a balanced view of the current thinking around non-diagnostic scanning and below are links to a number of research papers that you can read to help make a well informed decision about whether to book a scan with us.
Ultrasound can increase the temperature of tissues by up to 1°C, which in turn may cause damage to tissues. There is no evidence that such a small increase in temperature can cause tissue damage.
We take a number of precautions to ensure any of these risks are minimised. These include:
Not scanning for long periods of time. This minimises cell temperature increases. We will scan in short bursts, and encourage you to take a comfort break, walk around, use the toilet between capturing images. As well as minimising ultrasound exposure, this encourages the baby to move about, allowing us to capture different angles of your baby. This means that we may spend longer with you than some other scanning providers, we allow plenty of time for each scan to allow for these breaks.
Not dwelling on one feature of your baby for too long. You may want to spend the whole time looking at your baby’s face, however we will encourage you to look at his/her hands, feet, spine and umbilical cord to ensure no tissue has long exposure to ultrasound, ensuring the risk of temperature increase is minimal.
Not scanning if you have a temperature. If you have a temperature already, there is a chance that ultrasound will further increase cell temperatures and increase any risk of tissue damage. If you have a higher than normal temperature we will discuss this with you, and you will have the option of returning at a later date for your scan.
We always apply the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principle whilst scanning. This means we use the lowest possible ultrasound power to provide a satisfactory image. We use a state-of-the-art scanner that enhances images so that we can scan at the lowest possible power levels. This minimises the risk of cell temperatures increasing and tissue damage occurring
We don’t do higher intensity scans such as Doppler scans, these scans are routinely used to check foetal heart development, but are not necessary during a non-diagnostic scan
We maintain our scanning machine to the highest standard, regular testing by competent engineers ensure our machine is always in perfect working order, minimising the risk to you and your baby
Babycentre.co.uk provide further good and impartial information about ultrasound scans here http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1014487/are-ultrasound-scans-safe
Links to Research and Guidelines