To Ultrasound, or Not To Ultrasound, That Is The Question


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Before you harp on how I despise the medical field, please know Humnoy got four so I’m well aware about how “un/safe” ultrasounds are. No, this post is about me staying true to a completely natural pregnancy and my stubborn ass.

My first experience with pregnancy and birth involved too much medical involvement than I would have liked. Some reasons were one of my midwives always pushed the epidural, I got four ultrasounds, and I birthed in a hospital. This time around, I’ve learned so many things about myself and the (out-of-hospital) midwifery model of care that I am doing it as differently and minimally as I possibly can.

My current midwife asked me if I have thought about the halfway-through-pregnancy ultrasound to check fluids and make sure there are no complications with the placenta. Well, I have thought about it and had thought about it since leaving last month’s prenatal visit but I’m sitting here still wondering.

Why I’m leaning towards, “Noooooo; stand your ground!”

I am a repeat low-risk pregnancy so what could go wrong this time?

My gut feeling is telling me everything is fine.

Why I’m leaning towards “Yes, get the one damn ultrasound.”πŸ˜‚

It would only be this single one the entire pregnancy… if everything looks good.

I’ve already had two ultrasounds at this point in my pregnancy with Humnoy so I should be proud!

Wouldn’t it be better to find out everything is looking good?

After pondering it some more, I realized that this is a pride issue with myself and my competitiveness with my internal guilt with my decisions with Humnoy. I feel compelled to stay away from one because it won’t be a completely natural pregnancy if I do? I want to re-do all the things I felt were wrong in my first pregnancy that I am being so stubborn for something that could possibly be helpful. I feel safe not getting one, but also not safe by skipping one. I then realized I have put in the time and thought that many other pregnancies would blindly follow unnecessary medical advice.

I left the birth center with the decision to schedule one in two weeks. I feel okay with this because I actually made that informed decision for myself.

Why was getting an ultrasound important for you?

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37 thoughts on “To Ultrasound, or Not To Ultrasound, That Is The Question

  1. I’ve been to 2 ultrasound already and I am 21 weeks pregnant. 1st time was at 16 weeks to date pregnancy and the 2nd one was a week later with a foetal specialist to make sure everything is where it should be and that the baby is ok. I have not been to the dr yet, I was supposed to go at 20 weeks but I am yet to make an app. Like you I am a low risk pregnancy but I will be giving birth at a hospital again like I did with Miss K.

    P.S you carrying well!

    • That’s how it was with my hospital experience too – an ultrasound to date the baby and an anatomy check. I don’t see a dire point to see a doctor any earlier than you’d have if you’re already confident that everything’s going great! good for you. πŸ˜‰

  2. I had a natural birth. And one ultrasound. For me, that one ultrasound is what gave me the confidence to have a birth at the birthing center, I knew that all the baby parts and pieces were there, we were healthy and ready to go. I’d have beat myself up if we’d required a transfer after birth because of something that could have been seen on an ultrasound. That’s my two cents.

  3. I can’t say if it was important for me or not, but I guess I wanted to be confident that the fetus was located inside the uterus this time :). Though my intution told me so, then still it was great to actually be sure. What I did experience from it was more confident in eating only vegetarian diet, a lot of joy seeing the little one and the greatest thing of it all was to see my boyfriends reaction. Pure joy :).

  4. I had 2 ultrasounds, though the plan was to only have one to make sure all the bits and baubles were there. They couldn’t find 2 chambers of the heart, so I had to go back 2 weeks later. It was routine for my midwives to have us get 1 ultrasound (I think it might have even been mandatory, to ENSURE I was low-risk).

    I would do the same in the future. I was also slightly scared, because my friend’s sister-in-law was very into everything natural (he’s a naturopath, she an acupuncturist) and they only did sonograms. Her first child was a still birth at 1 week overdue. The baby was only about 4lbs, and something clearly had gone wrong which they believed would have been seen on the ultrasound. While I respect no-intervention pregnancies, having some information was helpful for me.

    I like your processing about how this might be in reaction to Humnoy’s birth. I often wonder if I will stick it out completely un-medicated next time or if I will jump to fentanyl because ‘the last time it wasn’t so bad.’

  5. I’ve had one ultrasound, at 7 weeks, to determine how far along I am since I haven’t had a period since 2010. We have one scheduled a week from today to find out the gender because I am dying to paint our kids’ room and I am currently leaning towards a very masculine color scheme but want to know for sure. I am worried that the ultrasound might pose a risk to my homebirth, I have heard a lot of stories of techs seeing something risky that was actually never there at all (i.e. low fluids, placenta previa, or just health problems with the baby.) I would hate to find out that I am high risk only for it to be a misreading of an ultrasound, so I have considered not having second one. But I am sure that everything will be fine, and I don’t think my midwife would jump the gun to quickly on anything without a second look.

    • I’m sure your midwife would consider all the aspects of an ultrasound reading rather than jump to a medical solution, which is the great thing about midwife care. I bet you’re super excited to find out the sex πŸ™‚ I look forward to the news when you do!

  6. Maybe just get the one ultra sound. Better to be safe than sorry especially with having a home birth. I know for me I had placent previa. Had I not had an ultra sound we would not have known that I had it. Mine was only a partial covering of my cervix and it eventually corrected it self. Had it not I would have had no choice but to have a c-section since you can’t birth the placenta before the baby. But if an ultra sound is the most invasive medical involvement I think that you are doing pretty good. πŸ™‚

    • That’s *exactly* how I feel – better to do it and make sure everything is fine (like my instinct is telling me) than make it to birth time and complications arise that I did not prepare for. Now that I think about it, yes, this one ultrasound is probably the only invasive medical involvement I have done thus far. HA! πŸ˜‰

  7. You do look great, I can see the glow. πŸ™‚

    I had 1, and didn’t find out the sex of the baby since we wanted it to be a surprised. They wanted me to get the second one but I didn’t since everything seemed okay at the time.

  8. Ah, just had a chat with a friend about this one! I had a homebirth and ended up getting FOUR scans! Originally, had wanted none… Have you read Sarah Buckley’s book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering? She talks about the scan and its psychological impact… like, what would you do anyway if you found something? More tests, etc… For me, it did give me peace of mind… but everything was ok. I had a cyst on my ovary, and a low lying placenta, and then a breech bub at 36 weeks, so they wanted to keep an eye on things, especially since I was planning a homebirth, But, whatever you decide, at least it’s based on an informed and educated decision!

    • That psychological impact is *exactly* what I’m afraid of. It reminds me of the genetic testing screens. If there was something that came up, what would that mean? I would continue my pregnancy regardless, ya know?

      I’ll have to look up that book, thanks for the rec. πŸ˜‰

  9. Doesn’t sound to me like your first pregnancy had many medical interventions πŸ˜›

    I had two ultrasounds – the first trimester dating one (useful as it corrected Ashelyn’s gestational age, though she was born a week earlier than the adjusted due date) and the twenty-week one (where everything looked great but her legs were crossed). We couldn’t/didn’t get any more.

    I don’t believe in unnecessary medical intervention. But I do believe science-based medicine trumps “maternal instinct” or “gut feeling” in the reliability department. It’s human to err, after all.

    • I agree with you, for the most part, but I really am not doing it because of the science because you’re right, human fault is much more prevalent. For example, when you trust an ultrasound technician. They easily could negatively diagnose something and freak the mother out!

      We shall see how this ultrasound goes!

  10. Hi! I feel like your blog has matured since last time I looked at it, very cool. It was already great and it’s just getting better and more polished. Awesome.

    For me, getting ultrasounds was important because I was pregnant with twins, so that put me in the high risk category. One baby was really active and the other I felt less because he was behind and closer to my back… Getting ultrasounds made me feel more relaxed about their well being. When I found out I was pregnant I did everything with my babies in mind. I stopped working, got a safe car, and basically just slept and ate and peed. It sounds like I’m rich or something but I cashed out my retirement and used loans.. I pulled strings and made shit happen… I got everything in my life ΓΌber organized, automated and filed. Being a control freak made me feel safe like I was doing the best for my babies. Ultrasounds aside (I had 8-9), I had a completely natural birth (vaginal with no intervention or drugs) in the OR in the hospital (so goofy, they require that u do it in the OR with twins, also why I couldn’t do home birth)……. K that was long. But that was why.

    • I always wondered how your birth was! You are amazingly such an inspiration! Your rationale makes complete sense and, honestly, I’d do exactly as you did in your situation.

      Thanks for sharing. I’ll have to share how a twin birth in a hospital can happen without surgery!

  11. I decided not to get one. I have only one child (so far), but we had her at home and I never saw a doctor. Most home-birthers still get them (in fact, I’ve not heard of anyone else opting out of it, except my mom 30 years ago – which is even more surprising because back then, they were all the rage), but I just didn’t see the point. That surprised my midwife, but both my husband and I figured that as long as we weren’t meddling with anything else in the process, and I was growing accordingly, why bother with it? We had no problems and I doubt that we’re bother doing it next time. It’s interesting to hear someone else say they even considered not doing it, since most people don’t realize think its basically mandatory.

  12. for me it was really important not to get one. The time they advise the first one in canada is at the same time I read my fetus’s ears had just developed. I also read that sound transmits even louder through fluid than air and because a fetus doesn’t have an air bubble in the ear canal as we do when we dunk ourselves under, it’s not muted for them like us. I only let them use the doppler to hear the heart beat the first time(when the cup thingy doesn’t work yet), which was amazing to hear, but even the doppler thing is technically ultrasound (my midwives were actually kind enough to inform me of this) and I made them use the old fashioned cup thingy on my belly to get the heartbeat every other time.

    The one time I had the doppler used they had to keep moving it around and every time they got the heartbeat to sound M would squirm away from the sound beam and they’d have to go looking again. I could feel the squirming like butterflies in my belly when she moved, and they kept moving it around so we could hear the hearbeat again. I could tell it was the sound waves making her squirm inside me so I told them to stop after we’d had a chance to measure the beat. That was enough confirmation for me to not want a real ultrasound since it’s even stronger than the doppler.

    that being said, it seems to me plenty of normal babies are born to the majority of expecting mothers who do have ultrasounds, and it’s nice to know things are going good. I was almost forced to have an ultrasound at 24 weeks when they thought I wasn’t gaining weight fast enough, but they let me have a few more weeks, and by my next visit I’d gained a bunch more weight so they decided it was fine. They were trying to scare me into it though by telling my that my placenta could be too low and there was no way to know without an ultrasound. I asked what would happen if it was too low, they said it would basically force me to have a c-section if the placenta is blocking the cervix, but I just wasn’t worried about it. Not enough emphasis is placed on trusting your gut feeling as a mother. I am so happy I was fortunate enough to have a really easy birth with no problems in spite of my low platelets. I never bled, I never tore, I never got cut, I didn’t have any pain medication, and my entire labour from the first contraction until she was born was 4.5 hrs.

    • That’s great to hear other mothers, who have questioned or opted out of ultrasounds altogether! It’s a decision that many families *should* take the time to at least consider because people are so quick to materialize an unborn child.

      In the end, I’m content with the fact that I got this one. πŸ™‚

  13. Pingback: Surprise! My Instincts And Ultrasound Confirmed It’s A … | The Laotian Commotion

  14. My first ultrasound was at 8 weeks to confirm that baby was not in the tube. I can’t even tell you how many I have had since then. I am high risk and on bedrest now. 😦 Every week I will get an ultrasound to check the cervix. And everytime I see the baby, baby is good and punching or kicking my cervix. –Thanks, baby, I’m trying to keep you in, not let you out! We have 21 more weeks!!! Tomorrow it the “big” ultrasound, half way point I guess. But to look at the cervix, they say it’s better to do a transvaginal sound which, I think just needs to stop, especially if my cervix is still the same length as when I was released from the hospital. If tomorrow it is the same length as the last two times, then why keep sticking something up there? Idiots. I’ll just be thankful it hasn’t shorten and keep bedrestin’.

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