NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mothers-to-be are breaking the mold when it comes to getting a sneak peek at their unborn child.
The new trend is mixing family, friends and high-tech 3D imaging to get ultrasounds outside the doctor’s office, but the FDA has a warning.
As CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported, seeing your baby through an ultrasound can be an incredible experience and like many great experiences, more and more people want to share it.
“I’ve had a mom send me a picture, she had the photo put on her bridal shower cake. Moms do play the videos at their bridal showers, I’ve seen little ultrasound cookies,” Michelle Radice said.
Radice owns Baby Premier in Maywood, New Jersey, one of a growing number of businesses that offer ultrasounds, not for medical purposes, but for keepsakes.
“The CD, the DVD, the printed photos with each visit,” Radice said.
One of the keepsakes available is a stuffed animal complete with your own baby’s heartbeat which you can hear each time you squeeze it. The facility even offers baby shower packages.
“You reserve the studio for about two to three hours and you bring your family and friends and have a big ol’ party and get to see the baby,” Radice said.
Client Laura Romero said she loves the service.
“(Who do you plan on inviting to come see your 3D ultrasound?) The grandparents, aunts, the cousins,” Romero said.
But Dr. Steven Goldstein, head of the American Institute for Ultrasound in Medicine, warns these experiences have risks.
“Enough high-frequency sound for a long enough period of time can produce cavitation, or bubbling, and can actually increase heat a little bit, though there’s no proven effect to the unborn fetus,” he said.
But Goldstein’s biggest fear is that clients might then skip their medical ultrasound.
“They may think that, ‘I’ve had an ultrasound, everything’s fine, why do I need to go and have that performed?’” he said.
For her part, Radice said her technicians are educated on safe ultrasound practices and that she only accepts clients who are under a doctor’s prenatal care.
Still, both Goldstein and the FDA insist that the only truly safe place for an ultrasound is a doctor’s office.
While keepsake ultrasounds are available in 2D, Goldstein said 3D imaging has made them increasingly popular.
Currently, Connecticut is the only state in the United States that bans ultrasounds for non-diagnostic purposes.