3D/4D ultrasounds increase in popularity, FDA warns against it

The baby business is a big time money maker. One of the most popular trends for expecting parents is to get pictures of their baby in the womb.

3D and 4D ultrasounds are booming across the country, but the FDA is warning they could be a potential risk to your unborn child.

Every parent has a moment when it hits them.
For Nicole and Benson Klemme, their light switch went off the first time they saw their baby.

And, they didn't have to wait nine months.

3D and 4D ultrasounds first started gaining in popularity in the early 2000s.

The keepsake ultrasound industry, as it's commonly called, has exploded across the US.

"We basically take that same equipment that's in a doctor's office and we create this wonderful bonding experience for parents with it," said Anna Rodekuhr, with My First Peekaboo.

For a fee, parents can take home pictures of their baby, a DVD of the session and other souvenirs.

"Any picture that we see up there that we like, she can rewind it and capture it and put it on film for us," said Benson Klemme.

But not everyone agrees this is safe.

The Food and Drug Administration has put out numerous warnings for expectant mothers to stay away from these elective ultrasounds saying in part:

"Ultrasound scans should be done only when there is a medical need, based on a prescription, and performed by appropriately-trained operators."

The FDA admits there has never been evidence of physical harm to a fetus because of ultrasound exposure, but it still advises against it.

"Simply because there is no evidence of fetal harm to this point, it does not mean that in the future that evidence will emerge showing adverse biological effects," said Dr. Ricardo Mastrolia, a maternal fetal medicine practitioner.

Mastrolia agrees with the FDA.

"Its a powerful tool. It is something we should understand fully and something we should be competent in and be wielded by those who fully understand its use," said Mastrolia.

In some states, the industry as a whole is unregulated.

Despite the warnings, elective ultrasounds are still popular.

"There are some ethical centers, people that are principled and very clearly say to the patient that this is solely for the purpose of entertainment," said Mastrolia.

Rodekuhr requires all of her clients to show proof of prenatal care and has her machines checked twice a year.
She'll also be the first to tell you to do your research when choosing a keepsake facility.

"Doing what I do, I can understand and respect the fact that there are people that don't believe what we do is valuable and there are going to be people like that and I'm okay with that," said Rodekuhr.

The Klemme's don't see it that way.

They feel the experience of seeing their child grow and develop over the nine months is magical and priceless.

"We're a family already," said Nicole Klemme.

In addition to getting cute pictures of their unborn baby, some parents are booking these appointments to learn the sex of their baby.

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