Avoid Unnecessary Imaging During Pregnancy

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If you or someone you know is pregnant, please read this message on ultrasound imaging from the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health.

Ultrasound imaging is the most widely used medical imaging method during pregnancy. Fetal ultrasound imaging provides real-time images of the fetus. Doppler fetal ultrasound heartbeat monitors are hand-held ultrasound devices that let you listen to the heartbeat of the fetus. Both are prescription devices designed to be used by trained health care professionals.

The FDA discourages using fetal imaging for keepsake videos and other nonmedical purposes. The FDA is concerned about the over-the-counter sale of prescription fetal ultrasound heartbeat monitors (also called doptones). These devices, when used by untrained persons, could expose the fetus to prolonged and unsafe energy levels or could provide information that is interpreted incorrectly.