Parents warned against ‘souvenir’ baby scans

Pregnant mums urged to avoid by the Health Protection Agency

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Parents-to-be should weigh up the possible risks of going for a non-essential scan just to get a photo keepsake of their baby, according to the Health Protection Agency.

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While ultrasounds to check your baby’s health are entirely safe and routine, the health experts have issued concerns over what they call ‘boutique’ scans, as they believe they may cause a negative effect on your unborn baby.

The report by the HPA’s Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation have found no evidence suggesting that routine ultrasounds used in antenatal checks are harmful to unborn babies. However, it is believed that ‘souvenir’ scan beams stay static over the baby’s head for longer in order to get a sharp shot.

Although there is no concrete evidence of these scans causing health problems, the experts are advising parents to limit the scanning to medical checks only, just to be safe. “There is no established evidence of specific hazards from diagnostic exposures. However, in the light of the widespread use of ultrasounds in medical practice, its increasing commercial use for ‘souvenir’ foetal imaging, and the unconfirmed indications of possible neurological effects, there is a need for further research,” Professor Anthony Swerdlow has said

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With safety issues already highlighted on home foetal heart rate monitors, it is urged not to follow the examples of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who bought a heart monitor when Katie was pregnant with daughter Suri, and Wayne and Coleen Rooney, who had a 4D ultrasound system in their home when Coleen was expecting baby Kai.

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