Ultrasound During Pregnancy: A Discussion


  • Bernard Ewigman MD, MSPH,

    1. Bernard Ewigman is a family physician, Associate Professor and Director of Research in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, and he is the principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health Routine Antenatal Diagnostic Imaging With Ultrasound (RADIUS) Study.
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  • Jo Green PhD,

    1. Jo Green is Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Family Research, Cambridge, England, and the author of Calming or Harming: A Critical Review of Psychological Effects of Fetal Diagnosis on Pregnant Women.
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  • Judith Lumley MA, MB, BS, PhD

    1. Judith Lumley is Director of the Centre For the Study of Mothers' and Children's Health, Faculty of Medicine, at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, which investigates women's health in relation to pregnancy and birth, and major causes of death in early life.
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PREAMBLE: Prenatal screening by ultrasound is increasing in the United States. In 1990, 52 percent of mothers who had live births received ultrasound, compared with 48 percent in 1989 (Monthly Vital Stat Rep 1993;42:2(S):6). A recent multicenter, randomized study of 15,151 low-risk pregnant women, conducted by the Routine Antenatal Diagnostic Imaging With Ultrasound (RADIUS) Study Group, reported no significant differences in pregnancy outcomes between women who received no ultrasound scan and women who received two scans during pregnancy (N Engl J Med 1993;329:821–827). Ewigman et al concluded, “The adoption of routine ultrasound screening in the United States would add considerably to the cost of care in pregnancy, with no improvement in perinatal outcome.”

This interview and discussion took place at the Tenth Birth Conference, October 31-November 1, 1992, in Boston. It was conducted by Max Allen, producer, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and broadcast as part of a radio program, “Birth and Technology,” on CBC Ideas, February 15, 1993.