Second Trimester Ultrasounds aka. The 20 Week Anatomy Scan

Hey mamas, Kee here! Just thought I would take a minute to talk to you about ultrasound testing. More specifically the second trimester ultrasound aka. the anatomy scan! This is a scan that happens around 20 weeks to measure the baby and then use the measurements to predict a due date and scan for specific genitalia. This is just another one of those just normal things we do when we're pregnant right? I did…

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 As a society and as women when we become pregnant we instantly look to the outside for everything we need. We wait for a test to tell us we are pregnant. We wait for an ultrasound technician to tell us what our baby will be, we let our doctor decide when and where the baby will be delivered and how. We let the drugs speed or impede our delivery process, the time of mother nature.

(I don’t discredit medically needed interventions but what would happen if we just let our bodies do the work on their own?) Pure magic!

As a midwife it is my duty to present the facts to make sure all women have the opportunity to make informed and educated decisions for themselves. Simple risks vs. benefits

With that being said I want to look at this objectively. 99% of women opt for a second trimester scan during their first pregnancies….so most people.

 With second trimester ultrasounds it's important to know that they aren't quick, they can take up to a full hour with minimal breaks between photos and videos. Within that hour there is exposure that is happening between the wand of the machine and the mothers tissue and baby inside. The machine works by creating an intense heat that produces sound waves that vibrate through the tissues. When the heat gets high enough to vibrate these tissues it is also moving the cells and creating change. Yes, cellular change!! This cellular change will not regenerate and it has been studied that the area of the baby most effected by ultrasound radiation is the cells of the brain.

Now what if I told you that these second trimester ultrasounds were only 60% accurate?

Let's say you are a low-risk mama who is interested in a scan maybe for the benefit of knowing your baby is healthy and you just want to know the gender! Did your doctor explain all the possible risks of sitting under the wand for an hour or the lasting effects it might have on your little one? Did he explain the word "diagnostic toxicity" and how the unwarranted anxiety can be significantly increased from the ultrasound technicians feedback or incorrect diagnosis (remember it's only going to catch 40% of abnormalities) The answer is probably not…

 Now let me remind you I had one of these ultrasounds. I had 2 total in my pregnancy actually, is my baby ok? Yeah he's fine but long-term? I just wish I would have not so blindly walked into an intervention with really no known need or without warning. My suggestion if you yourself are struggling with the idea of getting an ultrasound be sure to ask the questions and find a technician with the most experience who can do it the quickest. A midwife is also able to order for a ultrasound test if you are someone who is taking more of a responsibility with your prenatal care.

This was me on Facetime with my partner at my 20 week ultrasound.

This was me on Facetime with my partner at my 20 week ultrasound.

 

We don't know the output of these individual machines. We don't know what the major genetic disturbances for the human race will be. As a midwife I do know it is important to examine your reasons and what this means to you and what you would actually do. This is your body and your baby! There is a time and a place for technology.

Thanks for reading!

❤ , Kee