A study has shown that the frequent use of ultrasound causes brain abnormalities in the developing fetuses of mice.
A small but significant number of neurons in the embryonic mouse brain do not migrate to the correct positions in the cerebral cortex if ultrasound is used often and for prolonged periods.
Neurons must move to a position that determines their connectivity and function after they form. Improper migration can lead to abnormal cortical function.
More than 300 fetal mice were injected with special markers to track their neural development.
Ultrasound exposure caused a number of neurons to remain scattered in inappropriate cortical layers. The dispersion of the neurons increased as the duration of exposure to ultrasound waves increased.Further research will be done on primates in order to help determine whether or not this will also be a problem for human fetuses.
Ultrasound scans, which were introduced in the 1960s, have long been regarded as a safe means of checking on the health of unborn children.
The scanners use high-frequency sound ionizing radiation, which carries a significant risk of causing cancer. Between the 1960s and today, the number of pregnant women having scans in western Europe has increased from a handful to virtually all of them.
But the time for routine ultrasound examinations is, or at least should be, over. Seven years ago, I ran warnings of this on the site about the cellular damage ultrasound scans can do to your body and unborn infant based on just a 15-minute scan of mice.
This new study is even more concerning, especially since there is already evidence that ultrasounds can also cause brain damage in human infants. Fetuses exposed to ultrasound face a higher risk of conditions ranging from learning difficulties to epilepsy.
The moral of the study, no surprise, is to avoid all unnecessary ultrasounds and give a great deal of thought about having one at all, should the need ever arise.
It would be my strong recommendation to find a health care professional who will assist you in the delivery of your child without exposing them to the dangers of ultrasounds. Doulas and midwives are excellent resources that can help you to deliver healthy children without the potential dangers of traditional obstetric care.