FDA to expectant parents: ‘keepsake’ ultrasounds may be dangerous

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Silver Spring, MD – Parents collect photos and other mementos of their children to recall fond memories.

However, the Food and Drug Administration is warning of the possible dangers of using fetal ultrasound imaging to create “keepsake” images or videos of babies.

Ultrasound medical imaging, also known as sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to look at internal organs, muscles and fetuses. Ultrasound can slightly heat tissues and lead to small bubbles in body fluids or tissues, according to FDA. The long-term effects are unknown.

The agency said it is aware of several enterprises in the United States that are making fetal keepsake videos for commercial purposes. In some instances, the ultrasound may last as long as an hour to produce a video of the fetus. FDA notes that exposing a fetus to ultrasound provides no medical benefit, and the scans should only be performed for medical reasons, with a prescription and by a trained operator.

The agency also stresses that ultrasound heartbeat monitors should only be used by or under the supervision of health care workers.