How dangerous ultrasound in pregnancy can be?

New radiation protection regulation: ultrasound in pregnancy is limited

Health experts criticise that in pregnancy to many harmful unnecessary checkups take place. Some people think that ultrasound can harm the unborn child. However, experts point out that this is not so.

Ultrasound examinations during pregnancy in the criticism

1. January 2019, the new radiation protection regulation came into force. It is, among other things, the use of ultrasound in pregnancy. This is, therefore, from the end of 2020 in non-medical contexts – such as for the implementation of the so-called “Baby-TVs”–. The German society for ultrasound in medicine (DEGUM) affirms that the sonography is performed for diagnostic purposes in this country, only of Physicians, but of the commercial “Baby-Watching” is to be distinguished. Because the method of the 3D ultrasound, however, is the same, are ultrasound tests are advised in pregnancy generally in the criticism. The DEGUM rejects this.

No health burden for the Unborn

“Despite decades of intensive research there is still no study results suggest that ultrasound in pregnancy has some Health risk for the unborn child,” said PD Dr. med. Kai-Sven Heling, Vice-President of the DEGUM in a message.

Thus, recent studies have shown that a theoretical, ultrasound-induced temperature increase in the body of the Pregnant woman – could be viewed as a potential danger – was clearly below the rise in temperature that is triggered by fever or physical activity.

The use of 3D ultrasound in the prenatal care was, therefore, in General, harmless.

Only if the so-called PW-Doppler ultrasound is used – which occurs, according to the experts, only very rarely, and about the causes of growth disorders is the case – could result in a long-running application to a rise in temperature in the body of the mother.

“The PW ultrasound would be the only potentially harmful to the fetus, if he were continuously employed for several minutes,” said Heling.

Potential risk is dismissed out of Hand

Because of this special mode to the blood stream applied to measurement, but usually only for a few seconds and is displayed under the viewfinder, the expected temperature increase continuously, it is this potential risk.

The Fetus is recognized in the implementation of this Doppler studies only very rarely by the emissaries of the sound signals.

“In most cases, only vessels to be examined, which are outside of the fetus – such as the maternal uterine arteries or the blood of the umbilical cord vessels,” explained DEGUM-expert Professor Dr. Peter Kozlowski.

Only in the case of very specific questions directly fetal vessels were to be examined, for example in the liver or the lungs.

And only in very few exceptional cases – with a clear indication would be examined in the fetal brain. Here, too, the above-mentioned principles to the temporal duration of the investigation would be taken into account.

Gemutmaßter connection with autism

And even if in the case of ultrasound examinations of the fetal skull is recorded, according to current findings, thus, no damage.

“Some researchers in the United States gemutmaßte connection between the use of the ultrasound to the Unborn and later autism is based solely on the observation that the Occurrence of autism in the last decades has increased approximately to the same extent as the number of ultrasound examinations,” says Heiko Dudwiesus, head of the DEGUM-working group of ultrasound systems.

Some other groups of researchers disagree with this Thesis talks, in the meantime, and pointed out that in the same period, the number of radiation-intensive means of communication – have increased approximately by the increased use of mobile devices.

Furthermore, a study have shown, on the basis of the 211 development of disturbed children (107 autism cases), that these had been investigated during the pregnancy, neither more frequent nor more intense ultrasound than children without developmental disorders.

In addition, the current study situation, there is no evidence to suggest that ultrasound can cause applications in the pregnancy of cell changes or cellular damage in the foetus.

DEGUM rejects recent criticism of

“Because laboratory tests have shown that by means of ultrasound generated bubbles arise not only due to enrichment of the blood with foreign material – such as with a contrast agent – this comes, however, in the case of ultrasound examinations during pregnancy, it can also be a potential danger to be excluded,” said Dudwiesus.

The DEGUM back due to this numerous studies, knowledge of the current criticism of ultrasound examinations by the 3D method in the pregnancy vehemently.

“You can resist the so–called “Baby-TV” for commercial purposes are critical, because – among other things due to the often low-skilled users – the real danger is not to recognise the real problems of the fetus,” said Heling.

“But to be in favour of the application of ultrasound for diagnostic purposes, we fully.”

The statement in the new radiation protection Ordinance, according to the risk of the fetus by ultrasound could arise, was, therefore, wrong. If the legislator intends to prohibit the “Baby TV” should be chosen a different approach.


According to the current maternity guidelines every woman can perceive in Germany during the pregnancy of three funded ultrasound examinations, explains the DEGUM.

Further investigations in case of abnormalities or risks. Early childhood malformations and to exclude as far as possible, there is also the opportunity at its own expense to make so-called fine diagnostic tests.

The early organ diagnosis between the 11 counts, for example. and 13. and the fine diagnostics of the 20. Week of pregnancy, in which the vast majority of the child recognized of malformations or largely excluded.

Who don’t wait “without a specific reason up to the planned dates and the “just looking”, or who would like to receive a more elaborate procedure,” must be called investigations, this ultrasound, colloquially referred to as “Baby TV”, as Individual health services (IGeL) pay out of pocket, is explained on the website of the “IGeL-Monitor”.

“Depending on the procedure, an examination is usually between 20 and 200 euros,” it says. (ad)