Per John P Newnham et.al. in 2004, the results of a randomized controlled trial investigating possible effects of multiple prenatal ultrasound scans on growth and development in childhood showed that "there were no significant differences indicating deleterious effects of multiple ultrasound studies at any age as measured by standard tests of childhood speech, language, behaviour, and neurological development.
Interpretation: Exposure to multiple prenatal ultrasound examinations from 18 weeks’ gestation onwards might be associated with a small effect on fetal growth but is followed in childhood by growth and measures of developmental outcome similar to those in children who had received a single prenatal scan. In view of the widespread and liberal use
of this technology we are responsible for ensuring the safety of its use.
These results also provide reassurance that multiple prenatal ultrasound scans are not followed by smaller body size in infancy or childhood. Per FDA, ultrasound scans should be done only when there is a medical need, based on a prescription, and performed by appropriately-trained operators. Ultrasound waves can heat the tissues slightly and in some cases, it can also produce small pockets of gas in body fluids or tissues (cavitation). The long-term consequences of these effects are still unknown. Combining ultrasound and
MRI is essential for the prenatal diagnosis of teratomas and neuroepithelial tumors and determining their prognosis.
The overall absence of any deleterious effects of prenatal scans on childhood development is consistent with results from two other studies mentioned below.
- Per Salvesen KA et.al. in 1993, children who were routinely exposed to ultrasonography in utero showed no statistically significant differences in growth during childhood compared to control children.
No significant differences between ultrasound-screened children, and their controls, were found in mean body weight, or height, at birth and at all the subsequent visits to the health centers. However, the repeated-measures analysis of variance in the subsample indicated that growth from birth to 7 years of age differed significantly (p = 0.02) between screened and control children of mothers who reported smoking at the first antenatal visit.
- Per Sturla H. Eik-Nes et.al. in 1999, "epidemiological evidence does not indicate any association between diagnostic ultrasound exposure during pregnancy and reduced birthweight, childhood malignancies or neurological maldevelopment."
The present paper summarizes some of the epidemiological studies of in utero ultrasound exposure and subsequent childhood development. Emphasis is placed on birthweight, childhood malignancies and neurological development. A meta-analysis, including neurological outcomes such as handedness, speech development, motor development, hearing and vision, is presented.
Please note that this answer does not constitute medical advice. It is only meant to summarize published research related to the topic and limited to the cited sources. Consult your physician about what these results may mean for your health.