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Sounding the Alarm On Keepsake Ultrasounds

Sounding the Alarm On Keepsake Ultrasounds

Everyone has a favorite keepsake stashed in a drawer somewhere -- a withered corsage from the prom, a yellowing newspaper write-up of the first high-school soccer game you played in or something less conventional. Actress and pop singer Hillary Duff confessed to keeping her son’s umbilical cord stump in a baggie in her makeup drawer.

Unfortunately, ever-angling entrepreneurs have decided every pregnant woman should pick up a Keepsake Ultrasound of her growing fetus the next time she’s at the mall! That has the FDA sounding yet another alarm about the growing popularity of these unregulated pre-birth images. They first cautioned people against them more than 10 years ago, but nobody paid much attention. Now it’s time for a --“Hey there, listen up, don’t do that,” alarm.

The FDA, plus the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Radiology, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the American Pregnancy Association warn against the casual use of an ultrasound device by untrained and unlicensed personnel. Why? Growing embryos are very sensitive and too much of a zap from an undertrained ultrasound operator may heat up fetal tissue. There’s a possibility of heating fetal bone (in the skull and spine especially) which may lead to developmental problems. So have an ultrasound done in a medical facility if and only if your doctor recommends it. They’ll be happy to print a keepsake copy of it for you.

Medically reviewed in May 2019.

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