Routine ultrasound screening of pregnant women does nothing to reduce the number of perinatal deaths, or improve pregnancy management or outcome, according to a study of 2600 women.
Indeed, the researchers from Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital found that those 1246 women having doppler ultrasound were more likely to lose their babies than those in the control group who received only standard neonatal care (17 deaths to seven).
Most of those whose babies died had had supposedly normal scan results. The report authors justify the greater number of deaths as "likely to be a chance finding ".
Rather than admit the possibility that ultrasound screening is inaccurate or dangerous, they speculate: "It is possible that a woman's knowledge of the normal result resulted in her taking less notice of symptoms (such as abdominal pain) and signs (such as reduced fetal movements) that might otherwise have resulted in a review of fetal wellbeing."
Such an explanation is, however "unlikely", they add, preferring to stick to their "chance finding" theory.
This study's shocking result will come as no surprise to long standing WDDTY readers. As long ago as Vol 1, No 6, we reported that ultrasound testing is inaccurate and very likely dangerous, too.