Friday, August 7, 2009

What You Need to Know about Designer Ultrasound Boutiques

Designer Ultrasound BoutiquesHave you heard of designer ultrasound boutiques? I hadn't until I saw a recent news story on them. Designer ultrasound boutiques are places primarily set up to use non medical, pre-natal ultrasounds to show pictures of a woman's baby without a request from the mother's physician. These boutiques are usually set up in malls or office centers and they offer 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds for parents.

Why would someone elect to get a designer ultrasound?It's natural for people to want to see their baby grow and develop. These ultrasounds can provide clear pictures and video that the parents can share with family and friends.

How safe are designer ultrasound boutiques?
Dr. Phillip H. Stratemeier, who specializes in radiology at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, answered some questions on the subject of non medical, pre-natal ultrasounds in a recent NewsOK story. He stated that by law these facilities must be operated by a licensed physician, yet there is rarely one on site to supervise. He stressed that ultrasounds should always been done by a licensed ultrasonographer under the direction of an experienced physician. "In the hands of experienced physicians or their trained sonographers, it is a relatively safe procedure. But the long-term effects of ultrasound on a developing baby may not be fully known; thus, the procedure is regulated by the state."

Some other concerns about designer ultrasound boutiques
  1. Designer ultrasounds may give parents a false sense of security that your baby is healthy. These ultrasounds are not done with the care a medical ultrasound is done. Medical ultrasounds follow strict guidelines looking at each part of the anatomy and measuring structures for correct development. Parents may see a cute, healthy baby in the designer ultrasounds, but without the diagnostic exam associated with the medical ultrasound, they will not know if their baby has an abnormality.
  2. A terrible scenario to think about--What if your designer ultrasound detects a problem with the baby? Without an experienced physician on staff, you wouldn't be able to get the answers you need. This would be an absolutely heart breaking experience, to be in a setting where you couldn't get your questions answered.
Some things to consider if you are going to a designer ultrasound boutiques:
  1. Talk to your doctor first. Get his medical opinion.
  2. Get your diagnostic ultrasound done first at your medical center or doctor's office, that way if there are any complications, you can discuss them with your doctor. The trend with many pregnant women is to have a second ultrasound usually at 27 weeks to get the clearest possible photos and DVD to share with friends and family.
  3. Research the designer ultrasound boutiques in your area before you select one. Look for ones with licensed ultrasonographers and a physician on staff at the clinic. Also ask if the physician is in the office at all times.
To read the full story, see NewsOK . Are you curious on what a 4-D ultrasound looks like? Be sure to click on the video on the news story.

*Information on is for informational purposes only. Always seek medical advice from your physician. In cases of emergency, seek care from an emergency health care provider.

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