I remember the first time I saw my little peanut on the screen during my first pregnancy. I was 8 weeks along, and as the sound of his heartbeat filled the room, any worry or doubt that I had was washed away. Tears filled my eyes as I watched my gummy bear, and I marveled behind the science of modern medicine. Ultrasounds have become an expected part of pregnancy, with most (about 7 out of 10) pregnant women opting for at least one. Today, it’s difficult for many women to imagine going through a pregnancy without seeing their baby, but the technology is actually very new. Sonogram machines were introduced to medicine in the 1950s, but it wasn’t until the mid-80s and 90s that women were offered routine screening. I remember the ultrasound being so normal that I didn’t even think to question the possible side effects or risks that could come of it.

But, now I’m pregnant with jellybean #2 and am older and a whole lot more skeptical. So, before agreeing to any procedures, I decided to heavily conduct my own research on the topic. And, here’s what I found about ultrasounds.

Are Routine Ultrasounds Beneficial?

There are generally about four main reasons a woman having a low-risk pregnancy may decide on having a routine ultrasound done:

  • To determine estimated due date (EDD)
  • To determine sex of the baby
  • To detect possible abnormalities in the baby or placenta
  • To determine size of the baby or amount of amniotic fluid

In the beginning of this pregnancy, there was some pressure I put on myself to have an ultrasound to determine the due date. Because I am still breastfeeding my son, my period was not regular at all, so I knew that basing my pregnancy on it was likely to be inaccurate. But really, how accurate is ultrasound?

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