FAQs about Ultrasounds
Ultrasound is considered safe for pregnancy by every major certifying organization. Any risk of ultrasound is primarily related to its overuse. For this reason, we only use ultrasonography when medically necessary in our practice. The only ultrasound that is required by our practice is the 18-20 week anatomy ultrasound which confirms the baby does not have congenital or genetic abnormalities that would be a contraindication to birth in the community setting.
Dating ultrasounds help to confirm in the first trimester how many babies are in the uterus (hopefully just one for our model of care!), if the pregnancy is viable, and can determine the due date if you have irregular periods or are unsure of your last period date.
The anatomy ultrasound helps us to confirm that the baby does not have abnormalities that would be problematic for giving birth outside of the hospital setting. We also confirm the location of the placenta during this ultrasound which is another important component of screening for risks in the community birth setting. Of course, technology is imperfect, and there is always a chance that abnormalities will not or cannot be detected by an ultrasound in pregnancy.
If you want to know the sex of your baby, we offer all clients early genetic screening called non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), or cell-free DNA. This simple blood test done on the pregnant person can test the baby’s DNA for trisomy 13, 18, and 21 as well as the sex of the baby. If you don’t want genetic screening, you can find out the sex of the baby during the anatomy ultrasound.
At this time, we only provide ultrasounds with a medical indication due to scheduling limitations. In the future, we hope to offer clients who desire it the option to have a keepsake ultrasound, although we maintain that it is best to limit ultrasonography in pregnancy.
For the most part, we are only able to offer our own clients ultrasonography. However, please do contact us if you wish to have an ultrasound at The Coit House and have a referral from a doctor or midwife elsewhere; we may be able to accommodate you.