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#1
Old 03-21-2012, 11:20 AM
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When did ultrasounds in pregnancy become common?

I had my mid-pregnancy ultrasound yesterday. My mom says she didn't have any ultrasounds when she was pregnant with me (in 1974). When did ultrasounds during pregnancy become a standard and normal thing, not just something that would be done in unusual cases?
#2
Old 03-21-2012, 11:32 AM
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Here's uncited recollection for you - my boss around 1990 had a very young boy, and I remember him telling me that he and his wife opted not to have a routine ultrasound because he wasn't convinced that they had been demonstrated to be safe.

Based on this anecdote, I'd say by the late 1980s it was routine, but recently so.
#3
Old 03-21-2012, 11:34 AM
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I'd say late 70s. A friend of mine was in med school in 1980, and told me one of his professors predicted that ultrasounds in utero would be the "DES of the 90s" when the kids who had them grew up. Thankfully, the prof was wrong. I don wonder how much testing there was on ultrasounds before being approved for use during human pregnancies. Either way, society has 3 decades or so experience with ultrasounds in clinical practice.
#4
Old 03-21-2012, 11:39 AM
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My wife gets her ultrasounds at the local hospital, and on the wall they have a framed copy of a newspaper article announcing the newfangled ultrasound machine the hospital just got and explaining how it works. It's dated from the early 80s.
#5
Old 03-21-2012, 12:11 PM
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My youngest daughter was born in 1992. None of the four children had any ultrasounds. And we live in Baltimore, not in the Boonies. I believe they became much more common a few years later, in the mid to late 1990's. These days several ultrasounds are common.
#6
Old 03-21-2012, 01:01 PM
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I did my OB training back in the 83-86 time period, and it was a big debate back then whether to get them routinely. Our OB unit had a portable unit and I got a lot of practice using it, but only ordered it for my own patients if there were questions about dates of conception or other concerns.

My eldest child, born in 1984, never had an 'official' ultrasound. Of course, I snuck my wife up to the OB unit and we took a peek one night while I was on call. By my next kid, in 1989, routine U/S had become pretty standard in the urban/suburban midwest.
#7
Old 03-21-2012, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dauerbach View Post
My youngest daughter was born in 1992. None of the four children had any ultrasounds. And we live in Baltimore, not in the Boonies. I believe they became much more common a few years later, in the mid to late 1990's. These days several ultrasounds are common.
I agree, my mom only had one ultrasound (11 pregnancies) and that was for the youngest due to maternal age. And that was 1996. I remember my dad being on the phone for hours with the insurance company trying to get them to cover it (and he was an insurance salesman). So I would put "standard" as being mid to late 90s. and "common" not much before that.
#8
Old 03-21-2012, 01:07 PM
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My kids, born in metro NJ in 83, 85, 87, all had them routinely. Yes, there were still some who worried about safety, but our doc wasn't. And of course, the quality of the pictures was nowhere as good as today, but yes, they had 'em.
#9
Old 03-21-2012, 01:14 PM
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I had ultrasounds with both (89 and 90). Two for each pregnancy.
#10
Old 03-21-2012, 01:14 PM
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My first was born in 1983, I had one with her. My son was born in 1985, I had two with him.

And neither one of those ultrasounds were detailed enough to give gender. However, I remember being mesmerized by the screen and seeing recognizable features. The technician zips the transducer wand so quickly, it's hard to catch everything, but she did one view where I saw the inside of my daughter's heart, and I watched the valves opening and closing. And then, of course, when you can feel the baby move and see the movement on the screen, it's amazing!

My granddaughter was born in 2009. I don't know how many ultrasounds my daughter had, but she and her husband paid to have the 3-D modeling done, and they played the DVD of that for her baby shower.

She's pregnant again, another girl, and this kiddo has already racked up the ultrasounds. There is prenatal testing that is done in conjunction with the ultrasound at a certain stage, and some genetic diseases can be predicted.

The CLARITY of the images now is beyond amazing!

But I'd say early 80s is when they started to become routine.


~VOW
#11
Old 03-21-2012, 01:20 PM
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My kids were born in Princeton in 1981 and 1986 and neither had ultrasound. I think that in '86 it was available if there was a suspected problem, but it was not standard.
#12
Old 03-21-2012, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Typo Knig View Post
A friend of mine was in med school in 1980, and told me one of his professors predicted that ultrasounds in utero would be the "DES of the 90s" when the kids who had them grew up.
What's "DES"?
#13
Old 03-21-2012, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CurtC View Post
What's "DES"?
It's a drug that was given to women to prevent miscarriages, and ended up not only not doing that but causing cancer in their children later.
#14
Old 03-21-2012, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtC View Post
What's "DES"?
diethylstilbestrol, commonly used to prevent miscarriages (turns out it didn't), found to cause lots of health problems in the kids of moms who took it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethylstilbestrol

Damn, scooped...

Last edited by Qadgop the Mercotan; 03-21-2012 at 03:17 PM.
#15
Old 03-21-2012, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan View Post
diethylstilbestrol, commonly used to prevent miscarriages (turns out it didn't), found to cause lots of health problems in the kids of moms who took it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diethylstilbestrol

Damn, scooped...
But you didn't refrain from using the full name because you can't spell it, like me...
#16
Old 03-21-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dauerbach View Post
My youngest daughter was born in 1992. None of the four children had any ultrasounds. And we live in Baltimore, not in the Boonies. I believe they became much more common a few years later, in the mid to late 1990's. These days several ultrasounds are common.
My stepson was born in 1988 and the u/s was a novel, exciting thing. Big city hospital, too.
#17
Old 03-21-2012, 04:52 PM
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I had a ultrasound in 1979 while pregnant with my first.It was presented as routine. This was in Fairbanks, AK.
#18
Old 03-21-2012, 06:14 PM
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Ah, diethylstillbornitol. Got it.
#19
Old 03-21-2012, 07:33 PM
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Early '80s in my experience. My first son was born in 1982 and I had to fib about twins in the family because I was keen to have an ultrasound. Got it but couldn't see a damned thing.

Son #2 was born in 1984 and I had two routine ultrasounds (~16 weeks and the second about 30 weeks, from memory). The quality of the scan was no better. The sonographer could see the sex but I could barely tell the head from the body.
#20
Old 03-21-2012, 07:40 PM
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Our son was born in January 1977 and one was done in the summer or fall of 1976 in Chicago. It was not considered unusual as far as I recall. There was certainly no specific problems it was looking for.
#21
Old 03-21-2012, 08:03 PM
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My brother was born in 1983 and my mom refused to let them do one, which they claimed was becoming routine, because of cost & not being sure it was safe. They tired to twist her arm saying "what if it's twins? Don't you want to be prepared?" (lil bro was over 10lbs, so their concern wasn't entirely unwarranted) It might have been more persuasive if she hadn't been more than 8 months along when they first brought it up.
#22
Old 03-21-2012, 08:46 PM
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My first child was born in '82 and my wife had an ultrasound. It was common enough but there was still some fear that it wasn't quite as safe as it was supposed to be. The OB did a long (and I guess very standard) explanation of what it was, how it worked, possible risks, why she didn't think those risks were all that risky and all that stuff.
#23
Old 03-21-2012, 08:52 PM
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Mum says there were no ultrasounds here in '76 when I was born, but they were available in '79 when my brother was born. They were still new enough that hospital staff were crowding in to watch.
#24
Old 03-21-2012, 09:04 PM
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There's an ultrasound in my baby book, although as far as I can tell it's an 80's TV turned to a dead channel. That would be 1979 (I was born in February of 1980, in Columbia, SC.)

ETA - it was evidently pretty standard here, although the amnio was not - there was a lot of literature coming out about maternal age and Down's, and my mom had the amnio with the understanding that my dad did not want to raise a disabled child (although I was amazingly unexpected, as he thought he was infertile and my mom was 38 and my dad 48.) The amnio came back clean and voila.

Last edited by Zsofia; 03-21-2012 at 09:05 PM.
#25
Old 03-21-2012, 09:26 PM
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Had an ultrasound with my son ('92), but only because the doctor needed to determine how far along I was to decide if a prescription I'd taken before I knew I was pregnant was likely to have caused birth defects in the fetus.

He looked like an alien. Triangle head, huge eyespots (which aren't really eyes, but the eye sockets in the developing skull.) Little flippers for arms and feet. It was actually a pretty clear ultrasound for the time.

My daughter (2004-5) had at least five ultrasounds in the 6 months I was pregnant with her. The coolest was done for an amniocentesis to inject die into the amniotic sac to check for leaks. She had the hiccups first, and the doctor had to wait until she settled down. Then when he inserted the needle, she reached for it! He moved it right quick so she couldn't grab it, but seeing that made me feel a lot better that she was strong and healthy. That procedure had every Intern, Resident and both OB Attendings crowded into a little radiology room with us! And yes, the picture was so much clearer than in the 90s!
#26
Old 03-22-2016, 08:11 AM
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I was born in 1963 and my mum had one

Apologises for resurrecting an old thread, but as Google brought me here so I though others might land here and I wanted to share my history.

My mum had an accident when she was 5 months pregnant of me and was rushed to the hospital where the doctors told her they couldn't hear my heart beat and I had to be removed as it would risk her life. She went to her family doctor who told her the same.

My Dad had an administrative position in a research hospital and he new they had received this new machine for research that could take images of foetus in the womb. My Dad asked the people in charge if they could use in on my mum.

That was in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1963 and I am alive thanks to modern technology.

I know the OP asked when it become common and this answer does not reply the post - just thought let people know that since the equipment was available since early 60's and I am living proof of its miracle, but like others point out was used in some rare cases as there were suspicious about sending waves to an unborn baby.
#27
Old 03-22-2016, 11:16 AM
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I found this:
Quote:
Ultrasound was first used for clinical purposes in 1956 in Glasgow. Obstetrician Ian Donald and engineer Tom Brown developed the first prototype systems based on an instrument used to detect industrial flaws in ships.

They perfected its clinical use, and by the end of the 1950s, ultrasound was routinely used in Glasgow hospitals, Nicolson said. But it didn’t really take off in British hospitals until the 1970s, and it was well into the 1970s before it became widely used in American hospitals
http://livescience.com/32071-his...ltrasound.html
#28
Old 03-22-2016, 11:35 AM
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My daughters were born in 1972 and 1976 and neither was ultrasounded. I had another pregnancy in between that they were going to ultrasound to better estimate the conception and due date, but I miscarried before that could happen.

My younger daughter has 3 children and had u/s for all three. In fact, she still has the u/s prints on the fridge door!
#29
Old 03-22-2016, 11:59 AM
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I was born in 1981, in Australia, and I'm sure my mum had at least 2 ultrasounds - one earlier on, when she was told she had one enormous baby, and another, six days before I was born, in which my identical twin was first identified. Surprise!

I'm surprised that ultrasound may have been considered damaging or unsafe... it's just sound waves.
#30
Old 03-22-2016, 01:18 PM
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1970s in the US. Earlier in some other countries. http://livescience.com/32071-his...ltrasound.html
#31
Old 03-22-2016, 03:22 PM
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Late 70s for Spain, based on family history. Pamplona's university hospital got the machine in mid-'76 and it was the first or second one in the country.
#32
Old 03-22-2016, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by araminty View Post
I'm surprised that ultrasound may have been considered damaging or unsafe... it's just sound waves.
People are still afraid of living under power lines. It's just EM waves.
#33
Old 03-22-2016, 04:20 PM
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Sound waves aren't always benign. They use them to cut things: http://dukane.com/us/PFF_cutting.htm

and there is some concern that the current fad of taking prolonged ultrasound "movies" of fetuses may cause damage.
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