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Botique Ultrasonograpy
February 3, 2007 10:31 AM   Subscribe

"Souvenir prenatal ultrasounds worry experts." Parent's desire for early snapshots in the womb have led to a rise in commercial companies offering what it describes as "boutique ultrasonography." This site, preciousbabyimaging.com, is just one example.
posted by engling (34 comments total)

 
but i do wish they weren't so ugly...
posted by wumpus at 10:33 AM on February 3, 2007


it is supposed to say "boutique ultrasonography" as the title. :)
posted by engling at 10:34 AM on February 3, 2007


The colour of the photographs makes them look like they're preserved in whatever Han Solo was frozen in. Also, I have yet to see an ultrasound where the baby-to-be didn't look like something drawn by H.R. Giger.

/ not a parent, obviously
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:40 AM on February 3, 2007


The second link goes to our optional baby-bronzing service. About a week before the baby is born, a mold is created by squirting in three gallons of plaster-of-paris that hardens into an egg-shaped form. Delivery is quite unique and we encourage new fathers to bring their camera.
posted by hal9k at 10:48 AM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the Mr. Show sketch about the Prenatal Pretties beauty pageant.
posted by interiority at 10:49 AM on February 3, 2007


The colour of the photographs makes them look like they're preserved in whatever Han Solo was frozen in.

Time, technically but Carbonite, specifically. OBY/GYNs are encouraged to try an epidural first.
posted by hal9k at 10:52 AM on February 3, 2007


wumpus:

Metafilter: ...

Nevermind.
posted by NewBornHippy at 10:56 AM on February 3, 2007


Still photos of the fetus are almost impossible for me to understand.

'Look, winna, that is the baby's head!'

'It looks like a pterodactyl to me.'

Then they try to point it out to me. This lasts until I give up and say excitedly, 'Oh yeah! I just have to look through the picture! Magic Eye baby photos!'

The video ultrasounds are much easier to look at because the baby is squirming around.
posted by winna at 11:15 AM on February 3, 2007


wow. I've seen a lot of ultrasound shots that made me question what the hell I was looking at.

seeing these enhanced shots, I wonder why the hell I'm looking at it.

maybe there was something more to the whole bear a litter of kids, and let the survivors thrive.

for posterity, though, how nice.
SIDS? stillborn? no problem! you can still send out a nice xmas card to your friends and family with this new tech!
posted by Busithoth at 11:17 AM on February 3, 2007


A casual web search for "baby ultrasound dangers" will point the way to any number of websites, often further directing you to studies, that refute the idea that ultrasounds do not harm the fetus.

I can't understand why parents are so self-absorbed they need these scans. Aside from the potential harm and the cost, the creepy neurotic need to have these images for non-medical reasons is scary.
posted by Muddler at 11:26 AM on February 3, 2007


I can see the plot of some new short story here: a woman goes in to the doctor to get a "boutique ultrasonography" done, believing that she's pregnant - only the doctors discover that a smaller version of herself is in there... Winking at them. Fully dressed. Polite.

They ask it a few questions. It answers them. The actual patient, though, is lying there, prone on her back, alarmed at what's happening around her. "What do you mean, it's not a baby?" she asks. "What do you mean?"

But the doctors just ignore her; they keep asking the mini-woman inside the woman more questions. "Who's going to win the Super Bowl?" one says, and he writes down the answer. Then, "Get Tony," he mutters over his shoulder; "he's got to see this..." Soon the whole office is in there.

"Ask it if if can dance."

This goes on for 24 incredible hours, until Fox News is on the scene... Bill Frist wants to save it. Others mention lead content in the local water supply, and the mutational possibilities thereof. Soon it's all uploaded onto YouTube.
posted by BLDGBLOG at 11:36 AM on February 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


There's bronzed baby shoes and then bronzed baby poop or a pregnant belly casting.

Casting aside, if it doesn't harm the baby, what's the harm in wanting an ultrasound look at the unborn?
posted by nickyskye at 11:50 AM on February 3, 2007


Ultrasound = sonic waves = heat.
They cay that the ultrasound can heat up the fetus. Probably not the best thing to do while it's still trying to form.

One or two durring a pregnancy should be OK, but don't go overboard and get two a week throughout the term.

And that isn't what baby poop looks like, especially not a first one.
posted by Balisong at 12:00 PM on February 3, 2007


nickyskye, the only [possible] harm may be psychological, but on the creepfactor, it's pretty high up there. (on the other hand, I can imagine the curiosity/urge to actually 'see' what the hell's growing inside you. and I'm a guy, so it's really not much of my frakking business, is it?

but somewhere deep down I feel that the womb should remain the last bastion of humankind's resistance to being bombarded with waves across all spectrums.
posted by Busithoth at 12:03 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ultrasound = sonic waves = heat.
They cay that the ultrasound can heat up the fetus. Probably not the best thing to do while it's still trying to form.


Huh? It's a very small amount of heat, certainly less then it would get when, say, the women goes outside on a sunny day.
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on February 3, 2007


but somewhere deep down I feel that the womb should remain the last bastion of humankind's resistance to being bombarded with waves across all spectrums.

Uh, the womb doesn't stop any "waves" Electromagnetic or Audio. Having an ultrasound done would be no different then a pregnant woman listening to music from loudspeakers.
posted by delmoi at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2007


If you really want to see it, you can always abort.
posted by Falconetti at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


delmoi: Well, think of it more like a woman standing next to a really loud tweeter...
posted by phrontist at 12:54 PM on February 3, 2007


My mother just stole the sonogram from the hospital. Much cheaper.
posted by Hot Like Your 12V Wire at 1:06 PM on February 3, 2007


While there has been no evidence that clinical use of ultrasound has had any adverse effects in humans, safety concerns were raised recently when scientists discovered that diagnostic treatment levels could produce acute lung hemorrhages in laboratory animals.

This from an article which describes a study published in 2001. I found it while looking for an article which reported that ultrasound treatment of kidney stones seems to lead to significant kidney problems later in some people.

The transition to breathing is already hard enough for the baby that anything which which has even a possibility of interfering with lung function ought to be treated with great skepticism, in my opinion. I would also worry about their corneas.
posted by jamjam at 1:09 PM on February 3, 2007


Huh? It's a very small amount of heat, certainly less then it would get when, say, the women goes outside on a sunny day.

Who lets pregnant women go outside on sunny days? I mean, other than to fetch a pail of water or chop the wood? (But I guess that would count, wouldn't it? Never mind, then.)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:41 PM on February 3, 2007


So, if people are videoing the birth, now the fetus wriggling around in the womb...how long before it becomes fashionable to complete the documentation process and videotape the conception as well?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:41 PM on February 3, 2007


I'm still holding out for those adorable photos of the unborn fetuses dressed up as fruit.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:42 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


how long before it becomes fashionable to complete the documentation process and videotape the conception as well?


Too late.
posted by Zinger at 2:02 PM on February 3, 2007


Zinger, more like a video that parents make to put in a keepsake box along with brass dipped baby shoes and handprint molds.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:16 PM on February 3, 2007


I imagine only the wealthy or overprivileged are likely to afford this sort of frivolous idiocy. That they're causing damage to their own offspring is, I guess, what levels the playing field. "We're poor, honey, but at least we won't be having deformed kids!"
posted by five fresh fish at 2:31 PM on February 3, 2007


I can't believe no one has mentioned Fetal Keepsakes yet.

"Be the first! To hand down this amazing Family Heirloom to your child! Fathers-To-Be, love to show off their keepsake crystal. Grandparents, cherish the Fetal Keepsake Holiday ornament. Your Child, will get a kick out of their own picture from mommy's tummy. And Moms...Well you know ...Get all mushy!"

It's crystal, so it's a classy and durable way to pay tribute to fetuses. I like that; I like everything about this invention, and whoa, the spirit is moving on my waters and I want to pay tribute:

The Thingies of Man

Gather round the fireplace, children,
And observe on the mantel a certain fetus
Of yore frozen tiny-balled in crystal
Timelessness. Not so tiny now, eh Grandfather?
More like roomy leather pouches containing
Single twists of no-longer-fragrant
Sex tobacco, oh Grandfather, weep
Not, these are the balls you were born for,
It is your fetus self you mourn for.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 3:18 PM on February 3, 2007


Ultrasound doesn't sound that bad. In this study, they took an ultrasound every 2 weeks from week 18 to birth looking specifically at brain development. If it was even potentially harmful, it'd never have made it through ethics review.

Hey, I previewed! Pavlovian learning to not break metafilter again, here we come!
posted by porpoise at 3:24 PM on February 3, 2007


safety concerns were raised recently when scientists discovered that diagnostic treatment levels could produce acute lung hemorrhages in laboratory animals.

Can we keep in mind that ultrasound imaging is not treatment, and that the intensities are very different?

Having said that, the FDA is discouraging this trend: FDA Cautions Against Ultrasound 'Keepsake' Images.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:41 PM on February 3, 2007


Kirth, my belief is that ordinary ultrasound imaging is diagnostic treatment (as opposed to therapeutic treatment, such as breaking up kidney stones), but I do not have a definitive statement of that to link to, or any comparison of diagnostic levels with 'home movie levels.'
posted by jamjam at 11:56 AM on February 4, 2007


Some of these comments are really weird.

SIDS? stillborn? no problem! you can still send out a nice xmas card to your friends and family with this new tech!

Neither SIDS nor stillborn occurs in isolation in the uterus. Should parents avoid taking pictures of their born child, just in case the child later dies? My friends took pictures of their baby born alive at 26 weeks who died later that day (and granted, the baby looked rather strange, much like a fetus does). How is weird or wrong to memorialize the various stages of something that once it passes through a cervix and exists without a placenta and cord is suddenly...still the same child as when the ultrasound was taken?

That said, health concerns for unnecessary, early ultrasounds are their own considerations. But my own children have always been excited to see their ultrasound stills, so I find it strange that people are so "giggly" or "ewwy!" (for lack of better words) about seeing a baby before, you know, it crosses that super hyper magical threshold of existence.
posted by artifarce at 6:56 PM on February 4, 2007


I think this is a pretty weird display of our great cultural impatience. "I have to see what my unborn baby looks like RIGHT NOW!!!" Sheesh. Wait ten more weeks and you can see that he, like all babies, looks kind of like a cross between Chairman Mao and a lizard.*

*IANAP, but I really love kids. I just speak the truth here.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:32 PM on February 4, 2007


Sonograms are the way to go.
posted by tellurian at 10:43 PM on February 4, 2007


jamjam, what you want is:

IEC 60601-2-37
That's just the front-matter (a big, slow-loading PDF). The IEC wants you to pay to see the whole thing.

Anyway, there are requirements that all the output and effects of ultrasound are documented and held within specified limits. For instance:
Surface Heating of Invasive Transducers
The average and peak radiated acoustic powers of all [Company] transducers are limited by detection circuitry, to insure that the surface heating of the transducer array is less than 43ºC.
To limit the average acoustic power output, the maximum pulse repetition frequency (PRF) is tested in hardware by comparing a PRF counter to a preset value. Exceeding the maximum allowable PRF triggers an error message that displays on the host computer, and the [Company] Ultrasound System acoustic output is disabled. The preset maximum PRF is chosen to limit the transducer case temperature to less than 43ºC.
The peak acoustic power is constrained by the maximum voltage applied to the transducer-array elements. In hardware, peak power is monitored by a watchdog device that measures instantaneous power and compares it to two thresholds. The first threshold is a non-programmable four-watt limit. The second threshold is a programmable limit that [Company] has set in accordance with IEC 60601-2-37 and AIUM Nema UD2 and UD3 (1998 and 2004).
I could give you more that's more relevant to the question of heating up parts of the baby or mother, but it's all in the form of tables - "Acoustic Output Reporting for Track 3" and so forth. Riveting stuff.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:06 AM on February 5, 2007


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