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Ultrasound - The best way to scare a pregnant woman
Member Name: starfish2000
Date: 14/10/00, updated on 14/10/00 (967 review reads)
Advantages: can see your unborn baby
Disadvantages: cause stress and worry
All pregnant women have at least one ultrasound scan during their pregnancy and usually it's something they really look forward to, a chance to have that first glimpse of your unborn child, perhaps find out if it's a boy or a girl and finally be able to feel like the pregnancy is really real. Unfortunately for some women all ultrasound does is cause worry and stress.
I had my first scan at 22 weeks, this is normally done around 16 weeks but as I'd been living abroad I didn't have a scan until later. I was really looking forward to the scan and the first time I saw my very own tiny baby moving and kicking on the screen was such a happy and emotional moment, I couldn't believe how much detail you could see on the baby, I could count the fingers and toes and I could even see that she was a girl! The happiness lasted until I spoke to the consultant after the scan who told me my baby had an extra piece of skin growing on her heart. This in itself was not a problem, it would be gone by the time she was fully grown and her heart would work perfectly normally, but this kind of thing was often seen on babies with Downs syndrome. There was a chance that my baby had Downs syndrome. I was devastated.
I know that children with Downs syndrome have a lot of potential and are very loving and giving children, that there are far worse things my baby could have. My own sister has Downs syndrome and she's one of the most wonderful people I've ever met, but in a way that made it harder, I've lived with Downs syndrome my whole life, I have no illusions about it, I have nothing against anyone with Downs but everyone wants their baby to be perfect, me included. I also felt guilty about being so upset about it because of my sister.
Because I was already 22 weeks pregnant it was too late to have the triple test which would show the chance of me having a downs syndrome baby, the only way of finding out for sure was to have an amniocentesis. Th
is carries a 1 in 100 chance of miscarriage and I didn't want to risk it so I had to continue with my pregnancy not knowing.
I tried really hard to put it out of my mind and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy but it wasn't easy. It was always there in the back of my mind, what if she's not ok, what else could be wrong with her. It changed the way I thought about my unborn child. Even while I was in labour it was still there in the back of my mind and it was the first thing I wanted to know when she was born.
Fortunately I had a beautiful, very healthy baby girl on the 1st October and she's absolutely fine. But I really wish I'd never had that scan, it was of no help to me, all it did was cause stress, worry and fear.
I have since done lots of reading about ultrasound and have found many women who had similar experiences to me. I have spoken to many doctors about it and in fact many doctors believe ultrasound screening is not a good way of detecting abnormalities in babies and agree with me that they do nothing more than cause uneccessary worry. The problem seems to be that the technology has advanced much faster than medical knowledge, so much of what doctors can see on ultrasounds they don't actually understand, what they think may be an abnormality is often something totally normal that they wouldn't have been able to see a few years ago.
Of course ultrasound scans can be very useful and for most women they are a very positive and enjoyable experience, but not always.