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What’s the deal with ultrasounds?

Routine ultrasounds are as common as wrist wraps in a CrossFit workout. When a woman is pregnant another woman will ask about the ultrasound and what it revealed. They are expected in pregnancy, unfortunately.

Ultrasounds for medical use are not that old. In fact, they have only been around since the end of World War II. Ultrasounds were utilized during WWII to detect enemy submarines. After the war, a surgeon began playing around with ultrasounds and realized they could be used for babies in utero.

Awesome, right?

Well, not so fast. Originally, ultrasound was employed if a problem was suspected or multiple babies were suspected. There was no initial ultrasound at 8-10 weeks of pregnancy. There was not even a halfway point ultrasound at 18-22 weeks. Ultrasounds were only used if something abnormal was suspected.

Today, regardless of your healthcare provider, you will most likely receive an ultrasound at the 18-22 week mark. It’s routine. Today, ultrasound is used to determine the baby’s due date, determine the sex of the baby, detect any abnormalities, detect placenta previa, and even find out the fluid level.

Sounds great, right?

Well, ultrasound does not come without any adverse reactions. For one thing, the due date can be off by 4-7 days, at least. Determining the due date based on the menstrual cycle is just as effective. Ultrasound is said to detect only 30-80% of abnormalities in a child, but a deeper look is needed for possible cardiovascular abnormalities. Also, a small percentage (up to 10%) can be false positives.

In the book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Dr. Sarah Buckley states that ultrasound causes heat, cavitation, and acoustic streaming to tissues under ultrasound. Cavitation and acoustic streaming are still being researched a lot more. However, acoustic streaming can affect prenatal and postnatal development. The heating depends on exactly what structures are being penetrated (bone heats more than soft tissue and soft tissue more than fluid). Both animal and human studies have shown that increased temperatures in Doppler applications affect development whether it be bone, soft tissue, or even cognitive development.

Studies in regards to ultrasounds are old and outdated. Ultrasound may be of some benefits for prenatal development, but the scanning intensities used today are at least 5-8 times higher than the ones used in any study. More research is needed with the appropriate tools in order to determine the efficacy of ultrasound in pregnancy.

Chris Kresser states:

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So, why do we treat pregnancy as a disease and all pregnancies as if something were wrong until otherwise proven wrong?

Resources: 

Modern Alternative Pregnancy 

Chris Kresser 

 

WORKOUT 

Complete for time,

30 Snatches.

*Every minute complete 3 Strict pull-ups

 

Modifications 

Advanced: 95# and rest every 0-2 minutes.

Intermediate: 65# and rest every 2-4 minutes.

Beginner: PVC to 45# barbell. Rest as needed.

Bands can be used for strict pull-ups.

Single arm KB snatches can be done instead of barbell.