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Q&A: Keepsake Ultrasounds

Q. There's a new place in the mall where you can get keepsake ultrasounds. I'd love to have an ultrasound photo album showing every week of my baby's development. Are these ultrasounds safe?

A. These so-called keepsake ultrasounds may be safe in some places, but there is absolutely no reason to get one. An ultrasound is a medical diagnostic test and should always be performed by licensed technicians on approved equipment.

The long-term effects of repeated exposures to ultrasound are not well enough known to give a blanket approval to every establishment that wants to sell pictures of babies in utero. Many parents have the erroneous idea that these keepsake videos and pictures are good diagnostic tools, when in fact they're not typically performed by doctors or trained sonographers. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and the FDA have therefore discouraged this practice. If you want a peek at your developing baby, ask your health care provider for pictures when you go for your regular ultrasound.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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