This month I attended an Obstetric/Gynaecology/Midwifery conference in Dubai, at the World Trade Centre as a keynote speaker. Impressive venue it certainly was, but as I made my way to the room where the midwifery delegates would attend, I noticed that the majority of exhibitors in the exhibition hall were demonstrating ultrasound scanning machines.
The benefits of ultrasound in pregnancy are undoubtedly useful in supporting a journey resulting in a healthy mother and baby. But we are still unaware of the side effects of the diagnostic intervention, and it is my firm belief that they are used too freely in some instances.
There are documented concerns about the side effects of ultrasound, and these include excessive heat to fetal tissue and high frequency sounds transmitted to the fetus. There are also suggested links to the rise in Autism. But prospective parents are unaware of the potential dangers, and some are now engaging in activities to receive the test for reasons other than diagnostic.
For example, many of the machines on display in Dubai were 4D scanners which provide parents with in utero photographs. The poor developing baby is prodded and poked to enable a good image to satisfy impatient couples, and some are going one step further and holding fetus parties to show off their newly acquired unborn baby photos!
The CEO of the Royal College of Midwives , Cathy Warwick,recently condemned the activity and I certainly have to agree with the reasons she gives.
But the large companies developing and marketing the machines are intent on selling them to make money. And the human race continues to disturb nature without taking a moment to consider the consequences.....