Ultrasound in pregnancy and non-right handedness: meta-analysis of randomized trials


  • K. Å. Salvesen

    Corresponding author
    1. National Center for Fetal Medicine, St. Olav University Hospital of Trondheim and Department of Laboratory Medicine, Women's and Child Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
    • National Center for Fetal Medicine, St. Olav University Hospital of Trondheim, N 7006 Trondheim, Norway
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To study the association between exposure to ultrasound in pregnancy and non-right handedness in children with available data from randomized trials.


Follow-up data of 8865 children aged 8–14 years from three randomized trials on routine ultrasonography at 15–20 weeks' gestation were available. Handedness was assessed through questionnaires to the parents and classified according to five, 10 or 11 questions. Children not classified as right handed were regarded as non-right handed.


There was a statistically significant increased prevalence of non-right handedness in ultrasonographically screened children compared with controls (odds ratio (OR) 1.15; 95% CI, 1.03–1.29). The results in subgroups according to gender are consistent with the overall results, with no significant differences between boys and girls. Among boys, the association became stronger when an exploratory analysis according to ultrasound exposure before 19–22 weeks' gestation was done (OR 1.30; 95% CI, 1.10–1.53).


There is a statistically significant—albeit weak—association between ultrasound screening during pregnancy and being non-right handed later in life. Copyright © 2011 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.