In case anybody hasn't figured it out yet, I am a pretty hard-core naturalist when it comes to giving birth. So, I am sure it will come as no surprise to hear what I have to say about ultrasounds.
Like with anything in the birthing world, ultrasounds can be beneficial in certain instances. We all know this. BUT, and this is a big BUT, for the majority of pregnancies, I really don't think they are necessary.
Not a single one.
And, whoa, look here. Guess who actually agrees with me on this one? ACOG! That's right, freaking ACOG agrees with me and they actually recommend AGAINST routine ultrasound scans (which is saying a lot given their standards).
Most hospitals now-a-days require at least two ultrasounds... one early on to check for dates, and then the "standard" one around 20 weeks. And even though you may have been charting your cycle and you know the exact moment that you conceived, once they see that "dating" ultrasound, they will want to go by the dates on that, which may or may not align with your charts. And if that happens, your due date might get moved up, no matter how much you try to convince them when you conceived.
Which means, if, God forbid, you should happen to go PAST your ultrasound-indicated due date, then that will put you on on a timer to produce your baby within at least 2 weeks (if you have a good care provider, if not, probably a lot sooner than that), and if you don't produce said baby, then they'll want to induce it. And, of course, induction can lead to a whole lot of other stuff (which I'll get on a soapbox about later).
And all this because they moved your due date up by 5 days due to that ultrasound. (Which is yet another reason to have a homebirth midwife, but I digress...)
Ultimately, ultrasound is a technology that has not yet been proven safe. And it's also important to remember that the ultrasound scan (also called a sonogram, which is, you know, the picture that everybody comes home with and puts on their fridge) is not the only technology that employs ultrasound.
Ultrasound technology is also used in the doptone (which is what is used to hear that baby's heartbeat) and electronic fetal monitoring. The doptone is probably the most acceptable form of ultrasound of the three, given that the length of time it's used is very minimal (which is still too much for me, but, heck, even most homebirth midwives use the doptone regularly). The only other way to hear a heartbeat is with a fetascope. Which, if you inquired about one in the hospital, they'd, be, like, "What's a fetascope?" (Fortunately, homebirth midwives also have fetascopes... and, unlike hospital workers, they actually know how to use them.)
As for the electronic fetal monitor? Now that's a whole other ballgame. The use of constant electronic fetal monitor is absolutely deplorable, but I'll get on that soapbox another time as well.
So, anyway, here are some articles to read that lay out ultrasound risks and stuff. And the reason I'm posting all of this here is because this is stuff that most people don't question and just don't know about. This is important:
Weighing the Risks: What You Should Know About Ultrasounds
Ultrasound: More Harm Than Good
Questions about Prenatal Ultrasound and the Alarming Increase in Autism
Ultrasounds Affects Fetal Mouse Brains
The Dangers of Prenatal Ultrasound
Ultrasound: Weighing the Propaganda Agasint the Facts